Trainer reveals three times you should not be giving your dog affection, and number two really surprised us

Young woman hugging her dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like us, you probably love your canine companion more than you love most humans! So it's no surprise that you want to shower your fur friend with affection - after all, that adorable little face is hard to resist.

And while letting your pup know what a valued member of the family they are is important, even the most affectionate dog breeds need some space now and again. 

But how do you know when to pet your pup and when to leave them alone?

Well, according to expert trainer Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training, there are three crucial times you'll want to avoid giving your dog affection - such as when they're chowing down on the best dry dog food.

For more times you want to leave your dog be (and why it's so important) read on as we reveal what Spivey had to say in a recent Instagram post...

1. When they're eating: "When your dog is eating, that's not the time to go over and start stroking your dog, hugging your dog, giving them affection," says Spivey. In this instance, the food is their source of affection and they should be left alone to enjoy it. Spivey adds that it's especially important that children leave dogs when they're eating - this can help prevent issues such as resource guarding in dogs developing around food items. 

2. When they're resting or sleeping: Spivey says that you want to avoid giving them affection after exercise when they're in need of down time or at any point where they're in their crate or bed trying to chill out. "That is not the time to be giving them affection, that's the time for them to sleep."

3. When they're meeting another dog: "When you stroke a dog and it's meeting another dog, you interrupt the natural process of them greeting each other," Spivey explains. "You can also quickly create jealousy and conflict as the dog can start to see you as a resource. The other thing is that if the other dog gets tense in that moment, you miss it because you're stroking your dog."

Spivey says that there are so many times throughout the day where you can stroke your dog, but these are three instances where it should be avoided for everyone's safety and comfort. 

Respecting your dog and their boundaries in these situations can help you build a stronger relationship.

And if you're looking for more ways to strengthen your bond, I learned these five dog body language cues and they changed my relationship with my dog will help you understand what it is your pup is trying to communicate and how to speak their language. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.