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Boundaries by PetWell

Respecting Dog Boundaries: Building Trust and Well-being


Respecting your dog's boundaries is important. Consider how your actions and interactions may affect their emotional well-being.

Dogs are renowned for their remarkable ability to be compliant and eager to please their humans. Their loyalty and willingness to follow our commands are truly admirable. 

As humans, we often underestimate the depth of a dog's feelings and fail to recognise its subtle cues and expressions. We project our values and beliefs onto them - If we think it’s fine for us, we assume the same for them. 

Dogs experience a range of emotions, including joy, fear, anxiety, and stress. A study conducted in March 2020 showed over 70% of dogs experience anxiety on some level.  

PetWell CALM is professionally formulated by a pet naturopath to provide effective support for pets experiencing stress and anxiety. The combination of natural ingredients including L-theanine from green tea and lemon balm for its relaxation benefits are known for their calming properties. Giving your pet CALM ensures a gentle and holistic approach to anxiety management.

PetWell CALM Anxiety Aid Supplement and Treats for Cats and Dogs

Our dogs can be profoundly influenced by:

  • our tone of voice
  • body language
  • the way we handle them.

Having awareness and empathy toward them ensures that we create a nurturing and positive environment that respects the dog's boundaries and emotions, fostering a strong and trusting bond. 

Understanding Body Language

By understanding their body language, having the ability recognise dog play signals, and responding to them appropriately, we can enhance the emotional well-being of our beloved dogs. Ultimately leading to a happier and more fulfilling relationship between us and them.

A rescue dog that has suffered abuse or neglect may carry emotional scars that affect their trust and comfort levels.

Think about it, just like us, our dogs are unique individuals shaped by their experiences. Each dog has their own personality, preferences, and sensitivities. Their past experiences may play a significant role in shaping their behaviour and reactions to various situations.

A rescue dog that has suffered abuse or neglect may carry emotional scars that affect their trust and comfort levels. They may be more sensitive to certain triggers, including rough play, as it can remind them of past trauma. 

Comparatively, a dog raised in a loving and nurturing environment may be more accepting and open to playful roughhousing. Understanding and respecting a dog's background and individuality is crucial to providing them with the appropriate care, training, and socialisation they need.

We can create a supportive environment that promotes their well-being, addresses their specific needs, and helps them THRIVE.

Respecting Dog Boundaries - What They Hate

Rough handling or aggressive behaviour

Dogs are sensitive and may become fearful or anxious if they are handled roughly or subjected to aggression. It can erode their trust and result in negative associations with certain interactions.

Yelling or shouting

Dogs have sensitive hearing, and loud noises can startle or distress them. Frequent yelling or shouting can create a stressful environment for them and may cause them to become anxious or fearful.

Hugging or restraining them tightly

Many dogs feel uncomfortable or confined when hugged tightly. It restricts their movement and can make them feel trapped, leading to stress or anxiety.

Ignoring their need for exercise and mental stimulation

Dogs are active animals that require regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Neglecting their need for physical and mental activity can result in boredom, restlessness, or destructive behaviour.

Being left alone for extended periods

Dogs are social and thrive on companionship. Prolonged periods of solitude can lead to separation anxiety, depression, and behavioural issues. They require interaction and mental stimulation from their human caregivers.

Forced interactions with unfamiliar dogs or people

Dogs have their own comfort zones and can feel uneasy or anxious when forced to interact with unfamiliar dogs or people. Respect their boundaries and allow them to approach new situations at their own pace. Dogs don’t need to make friends as humans do.

Pulling on their leash too forcefully

Excessive pulling or jerking on a leash can cause discomfort and even physical harm. It can strain their neck, back, or other body parts, potentially leading to injuries.

Pulling on leash Boundaries by PetWell

Excessive noise or loud environments

Dogs have sensitive hearing, and loud or sudden noises can startle them. Constant exposure to noisy environments can contribute to anxiety and stress.

Having their paws or tail touched

Some dogs may be sensitive about having their paws or tail touched because of past negative experiences. When your dog is a puppy, touching paws, tails, and ears can help.

Having their food or toys taken away abruptly

Possession of food or toys can be an issue for some dogs. Taking them away abruptly can cause frustration or guarding behaviour. It's best to practice positive reinforcement and gradual training when handling their belongings.

Bathing or grooming procedures they find uncomfortable

Some dogs may have aversions to specific grooming activities like bathing, nail trimming, or ear cleaning. They may dislike the sensation, noise, or the process itself, making it stressful for them.

Being awakened abruptly from sleep

Dogs, like humans, appreciate a peaceful sleep. Being startled or awakened suddenly can cause them to feel disoriented or anxious. It's best to approach them gently and give them time to wake up naturally.

Certain types of clothing or accessories

Some dogs will tolerate clothing or accessories, others may find them uncomfortable or restrictive. It's important to observe their body language and remove any items that cause distress or discomfort.

Going to the veterinarian

Visiting the veterinarian or undergoing medical procedures can spark fear and anxiety in dogs. Manage this reaction by randomly dropping into the vet, creating a positive experience with praise and treats then leaving. 

Sudden or unexpected movements

Sudden or quick movements can be intimidating or alarming. Such movements can trigger their instinctual flight or fight response, making them feel anxious or threatened.

NOTE: Not all dogs are the same, each dog has its own personality and preferences. It's important to pay attention to your dog's body language, understand their comfort levels, and provide a safe and supportive environment to ensure their well-being and happiness.

Read more about Understanding Common Dog Behavioural Issues

In Summary

Respecting your dog's boundaries is of utmost importance when it comes to their overall well-being and building a trusting bond. Dogs have their own personal space, comfort levels, and individual preferences. By recognising and respecting our dog's boundaries, we create an environment where dogs feel safe, secure, and respected.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this email and website are not to be taken as medical advice. The team at PetWell encourages you to make your own pet healthcare decisions based on your research. And in partnership with a qualified pet healthcare professional.

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