The One Thing a Pet Behaviorist Is Begging Dog Parents to Stop Doing ASAP

Being a pet parent can be tricky, especially since communicating with your furbaby and trying to figure out what they want and need can seem like a giant guessing game. Because of that, sometimes dog moms and dads aren’t always sure if their actions and parenting styles are right or wrong.

To dive deeper into that topic and discover some of the things pet owners tend to do wrong, we spoke with London-based dog behaviorist and trainer Louise Glazebrook. She’s not only a world-renowned dog expert, but the author of The Book Your Dog Wishes You Would Read as well.

To find out what Glazebrook says is the number one thing pet behaviorists, like herself, wish dog parents would stop doing, keep reading! The answer she gave may not be what you expected—you may even find yourself guilty of doing it yourself. However, she says if you stop doing it, you’ll notice that your relationship with your pup will get better because they’ll appreciate that you are respecting their boundaries.

Related: Your Dog Communicates More Than You'd Think—Veterinarians Share How To Decode Their Body Language

The One Thing Dog Parents Should Stop Doing ASAP, According to a Pet Behaviorist

“The number one thing that I would love for all dog parents to know and to stop doing would be...drum roll please... is to stop following their dog around (or allowing their children to) when their pet tries to get some alone time,” Glazebrook reveals. “When your dog moves away from you, gets up and relocates, or walks off—it means they don’t want your contact at that time. Kids and dog parents can make the mistake of following their dog when they do this because they want to pet or put their dog on their lap. Though, by doing this, you’re unknowingly teaching your dog that the beautiful, calm, simple technique they are doing to create space, does not work.” 

When that happens, Glazebrook says dogs feel like they have to find other ways to let their owners know that they want some “me time,” which can sometimes result in them resorting to things like biting. “If people respected their boundaries and left them to it, it would reduce dog bites considerably because dogs wouldn't need to find other ways to get their message across,” she explains.

Related: 10 Sweet Signs Your Dog Thinks of You as Their Mom and Dad

3 Things You Can Do Instead

Glazebrook says there are several ways pet parents can break their bad habit and suggests a few actions families can take when their dog decides to walk into another room for some alone time.

1. Don’t Try to Stop Them

When you notice your dog needs some time to themselves, don’t take offense to it. Just like people, animals need space to relax away from their family too. “Let your puppy or dog walk off, it’s that simple,” Glazebrook explains.

2. Let Them Come to You Instead of You Going to Get Them

Don’t worry when your pet wanders into another room by themselves. It doesn’t mean they will stay there forever, or that they don’t like you. Just be patient and let them have some time to themself to relax. Then, once they are ready to socialize again, they will approach you. “Wait until they choose to seek you out for contact, then you can pet them,” Glazebrook notes.

3. Find Ways to Engage with Your Pet

To avoid interfering with your dog’s alone time, think outside of the box of ways you and your family can motivate them to interact with everyone on their own terms. “Try to give your kids other ways to engage with your dog that doesn’t involve them invading your pup’s personal space and petting them or picking them up, such as throwing treats for the dog to sniff out,” she points out.

Related: The 5 Dog ‘Love Languages’ and How To Offer Them Every Day

2 Other Things/Commands to Avoid

According to Glazebrook, pet parents can always make improvements to their pawrenting. Below are a couple other common mistakes she says she would recommend dog parents stop doing and what they should do instead.

1. Don’t Let Your Dog Run Into Another Dog

Sure, dogs will be dogs, but just like kids need guidance on what’s right and wrong behavior-wise, so do your pets, which is why they shouldn’t get in the habit of running at or into other dogs at dog parks or while out on walks. “It’s bad manners and can be intimidating when they do this, which can lead the other dog to go into defense mode,” Glazebrook states. She says you can easily avoid this by taking more time to interact with your dog so they don’t try to make other dogs play with them by running into them. “Your dog is looking for fun, so be the fun owner and play with your dog,” she instructs.

2. Avoid Giving This Food to Your Dog

One other thing Glazebrook encourages pet parents to do is change up the type of food they’re giving their dog. “Pet owners should stop feeding kibble and dry food to their pets and instead offer them fresh, raw, dehydrated, cooked food brands that are now available,” she tells Parade. “Even if you can't afford to feed your dog a fully fresh diet, you can incorporate fresh meat, fish, vegetables and bone broth on a daily basis.”

Next: 10 Ways to Know if Your Dog Loves You