7 Things You Do That Annoy Your Dog (Plus Smells & Sounds Pups Typically Hate)

No bones about it, your dog loves you like crazy, but sometimes, you do things that get on their nerves.

Published May 3, 2023
White chichuachua dog on the grass

Even though your dog loves you like crazy, they might not like everything you do. Some of your behaviors, the noises you make, or even the smell of your soap might annoy your dog. Discover the top things dogs hate, so you can keep your canine companion relaxed and carefree.

How to Tell When Your Dog Is Upset

Dogs can't tell us when something bothers them - at least, not directly. They'll often let us know, however, through body language or a meaningful snort. Pay attention to the signals they give you, and you'll pick up what's bothering them pretty quickly.

Every dog is different, and some will act up, barking and acting agitated when you do something they don't like. Others will be stoic and walk away, ignoring you if they can. Before you beat yourself up, know they're not hurting your pup. However, now that you're aware, you can do things a little differently so your dog doesn't get quite so annoyed.

1. Not Hanging With Them All Day

Your dog hates it when you leave them alone at home. We know you have to leave, and it's actually healthy for both of you. Dogs with separation anxiety are especially prone to being upset when you aren't around, and they might let you know they're displeased by tearing up your furniture, or going nuts when you finally come home.

How to fix it: Try leaving your dog with a fun enrichment toy to keep them busy while you're gone. If your dog has severe separation anxiety and panics anytime you leave, other tricks can help. An automatic feeder with a camera and microphone can let you reach out and talk to them when they're having a negative reaction. In extreme cases, you might need ask a friend or consider hiring a pet sitter to come in for a bit each day.

2. Raise Your Voice

Yelling or shouting can have a negative impact on your dog's well-being. Even if your words aren't directed at them, they'll react to the tone of your voice. Dogs are very sensitive, emotional creatures, and how you address them impacts their well-being.

How to fix it: Avoid scolding your dog when they've done some naughty. Instead, use positive reinforcement to train them out of the behavior you don't like. And if you're angry with someone in your household, refrain from raising your voice if your dog is nearby. They pick up on your vibes, and appreciate a calm social environment.

3. Dress Them Up

Do you dress your dog up in a Halloween costume every year? We don't want to spoil your fun, but they probably hate it. Some dogs love putting on cloths, but others will give you a look like, "What the heck is this?! Really?"

How to fix it: If they'll tolerate it, go ahead and take a few cute photos while they wear the getup, then opt for something less constricting, like a festive bandana, for the rest of the evening. Your dog will be a lot happier, and you'll still get to show them off on social media.

4. Trim Their Nails

A lot of dogs absolutely loathe having their feet touched. Unfortunately, nail trims are a necessary part of being a pet owner. If your dog completely refuses to let you touch their nails, they probably can't stand it when you get ready to do a trimming, and they might disappear the minute you pull your clippers out.

How to fix it: If you have a puppy, get them used to having their feet touched as early and frequently as possible. This will ensure they grow up to tolerate nail trims. If your dog is already an adult, it's not too late to desensitize them. Create a positive experience around having their feet touched by offering them praise and plenty of treats. Then, introduce the nail clippers as you touch their feet. Finally, use plenty of distractions and positive reinforcement to trim their nails. It'll take a lot of patience, but they won't hate it nearly as much as they currently do.

5. Tease Them with Treats

Have you ever held up your hand like you had a treat so your dog would perform a trick, but offered them nothing at the end? Yeah, they hate that.

How to fix it: Part of training is building trust with your canine companion, so be sure to make good on your promises for a treat; otherwise, they might stop listening to you. It's OK to build the expectation for a treat - meaning that you can treat them once for a behavior, but not every time, to build a stronger reaction to the incentive - but don't pretend to offer a treat, and then not give them something.

6. Inconsistent Walks and Meals

Dogs are creatures of habit. They thrive on having a predictable schedule. If you're inconsistent with their walks, potty breaks, and mealtimes, your dog will get annoyed with you.

How to fix it: This one is easy. Just avoid creating a chaotic experience for your dog through regular feeding times and activities. Aim to be as consistent as possible so they know what to expect and when. This will help strengthen your mutual trust. We know, it isn't always possible, but the more consistent you can make your schedule, the happier your dog will be.

7. Don't Let Them Sniff on Walks

Sniffing things is important for your dog's mental enrichment. They experience a lot of the world through their nose. This explains why your dog hates it when you tug on their leash every time they go to sniff something while out for a walk.

How to fix it: Stopping every 5 feet can be a pain, and sometimes you need to keep moving on your walks. However, you can plan "sniff walks" where you allow your dog to stop as often as they like and let them thoroughly smell each area until they're ready to move on. These types of walks are often just as mentally exhausting as regular walks!

Dog sniffing plants out on a walk.

Smells That Irritate Dogs

A dog's sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than yours, which means every smell in your home is amplified for them. Unfortunately, a lot of the smells you like or simply don't notice can be overwhelming to your buddy's nose. Some of the scents dogs hate the most include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Citrus
  3. Cleaning products
  4. Herbs
  5. Hot peppers
  6. Peppermint
  7. Spices
  8. Vinegar

Sounds That Upset Dogs

Dogs have incredibly sensitive hearing, and they can pick up sounds outside of your range. This is why loud and high-frequency noises can cause your dog significant distress. Some of these sounds might not bother you too much, but they can send your dog into a panic.

  1. Doorbell
  2. Fireworks
  3. Garbage truck
  4. Hair dryer
  5. Screaming babies
  6. Sirens
  7. Thunder
  8. Vacuum cleaners
Fast Fact

Data shows that as many as two out of three dogs suffer from noise aversion, which is the fear around certain sounds. Even though some noises, like thunder, are impossible to avoid, you can still implement tricks to help your dog cope during these events.

What Things Drive Dogs Crazy?

Dogs and humans are different in many ways. Some of the things you despise, like the smell of manure, are super attractive to your dog. Likewise, a lot of the things you pay no mind to drive your dog crazy. Learning about these things and refraining from doing them can show your dog you love them deeply, which we already know you do!

7 Things You Do That Annoy Your Dog (Plus Smells & Sounds Pups Typically Hate)