5 Things We Do That Confuses Dogs

by Melissa Keen

Sometimes humans forget that our furry friends are an entirely different species. When they yawn or tilt their head, it generally means they’re trying to work something out.

We do things that occasionally confuses dogs; read on to find out what.

Leaving Them

Dogs are family animals – they don’t like to be left alone, especially if they have not been trained to do so before. To prevent separation anxiety it’s important to get your dog used to being left alone. Remember to always give them plenty of love and even some treats upon your return so they learn to associate being left alone with something positive.

If you leave the house and return to find your favourite pair of shoes chewed, don’t shout at your dog – the dog will not know what you’re shouting at, as they likely chewed the shoes hours before. Instead, they will associate the yelling with your return home.

Most dogs chew something they shouldn’t when they are anxious, or if they do not have a suitable toy to satisfy their chewing cravings. Ensure your dog has access to a suitable chew toy, and teach them to be calm whenever you leave the house. Don’t draw attention to your departure by making a huge fuss of your dog – this will elevate their excitement levels, which can easily turn into anxiety once you’ve left. Instead be calm and assertive; don’t pander to your pup if they show worry. Be reassuring, but don’t accidentally praise worrying behaviour.

Changing Our Scent

Dogs are very scent driven; it is their strongest sense. Some perfumes and deodorant sprays will be overpowering for our dogs. This is also true of room scents and sprays.

Be mindful of your dog when spraying aerosols as it is likely very uncomfortable for your poor dog’s nose.


Hugs are a human thing – left to their own devices, dogs don’t hug to show affection. This is why hugging confuses dogs.

If a dog is comfortable with you, it’s likely they will put up with being hugged. Dogs should learn gradually it’s ok to be held from an early age so they become accustomed to it.

However, it’s important to never hug a dog you don’t know – no matter how tempting it is.

Not Using Our Mouths to Play Confuses Dogs

A dog uses their mouth like we do our hands. Dogs especially love to play fight – if you’ve ever had a puppy, you’ll know just how much they love to bite! Puppies soon grow out of this phase once they learn biting is unacceptable, and they will learn to limit the strength of their bite so as not to hurt us. Puppies, too, will teach their siblings when enough is enough – usually by giving a loud yelp and turning their back on the biter to stop play.

It’s confusing for a puppy at first to learn that biting is unacceptable, but most learn very quickly.

They Can’t Share Our Human Food

Lots of human foods are toxic to dogs. Even things like bacon can have a lot of salt in them so should be given as a treat in moderation. It can be confusing for our dogs to see us tucking into delicious meals they can’t share, but as long as you ensure they have a varied, healthy, tasty diet, they’ll soon get over it.

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