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Do You Love Your Dog Too Much?

Side affects of a spoiled dog
Do You Love Your Dog Too Much?
Published on May 20, 2010 : 8 comments

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Everyone loves their pets in different ways. Some love the barn cats that stay outside and catch mice. Some love their hunting dogs that live in an outdoor kennel. Some love their pets so much they let them eat at the dinner table and carry them everywhere. Who’s to say what kind of love is right and what kind is wrong?

I can say this much: I’ve seen first-hand how dog behaviors can go from constant pee marking, to barking, to outright attacking because their owners loved them “more than anything else in this world.”

I’m sure most of you are wondering how loving an animal could possibly cause this problem. Well, it all starts with quotes like this:

I love you, puppy, you’re my baby. You can do anything you want.

Dogs at the Dinner TableDogs at the Dinner TableWhen a dog is given no boundaries, it becomes the same as a child with no boundaries. It becomes mouthy, demanding, and aggressive, claiming everything as its own—including its owner. Eventually, the negative behaviors get so out of hand that the owners no longer wants the dog, and it’s turned over to a rescue or shelter where it’s now added to another growing problem…homeless pets!

When you raise a pet, their behavior depends greatly on YOU! If you don’t mold your pet’s personality with exercise, discipline, and affection in the right amounts, you can only blame yourself when you don’t have the “Best Dog in the World.”

Dog Training Tips

Waiting for dinner to be servedWaiting for dinner to be served1) Exercise (mentally and physically) – When your dog is worn out, you get to see the mellow, calm personality he is capable of. If you feel you’re too busy to do some kind of daily exercise with your dog, but you’re not too busy to complain about how hyper he is, then you shouldn’t be a dog owner.

2) Discipline – If your dog is doing something inappropriate (jumping, barking, mouthing), correct this immediately. To find the best way to stop the behavior, consult friends, trainers, the internet, etc. For those of you who have small dogs, don’t think these behaviors are okay because a 5 pound dog can’t hurt you like a 100 pound dog can. No matter the size, if you are not consistent with your training, they can and will take over your home.

3) Affection – It’s fine to give affection to your pets as often as you want as long as it’s done at the appropriate time. If your dog just got into the kitchen garbage and dragged it all over the house, this is not a good time for affection. If your dog just peed on the couch, this is not a good time for affection. If you just got back from a two-mile walk and flop down on the couch to rest with your dog, this is a good time for affection. If you’re playing fetch and your dog brings the toy right back and drops it at your feet, this is a good time for affection.

Let Your Dog Be a Dog

Are Pet Strollers going to far?Are Pet Strollers going to far?In today’s society you see celebrities carrying tiny dogs in purses, in their arms, and even in baby strollers.  This is NOT a good idea. If you carry a dog around all the time, that dog is not going to want to be put down and may become possessive of the human who is doing the carrying. That could lead to a bite if someone gets too close to them. It could also lead to separation anxiety when away from the owner which could manifest itself as barking, chewing, peeing, etc. 

The best thing you can do for your dog is to let it be a dog. Not a baby! Let them sit on the floor, and you can sit with them. Let them walk outside to go to the bathroom instead of being carried. Let them eat from a dog bowl instead of a fork. It may be hard in the beginning to follow this concept, but it will pay off in the end when you have a sweet, well-behaved dog in your home.

What’s your favorite tip for keeping the dog you love behaving properly?

*This post is dedicated to Molly. She was scheduled to be euthanized because she was spoiled and started to bite. The family didn’t want to “deal” with her anymore. Thanks to a wonderful family and rules to live by, she got a second chance to be a dog and part of a family that loves her.

DogBhaviorCari Brown, ABCDT (Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer)


Elizabeth Deitz (not verified) says:

May 25, 2010 : 14 years 3 weeks ago

Elizabeth Deitz's picture

Hello. I am a huge advocate of training. In fact, I do it every day for a few minutes at a time. But I am not sure I agree with your statement that if not given boundaries they become mouthy, demanding and aggressive. Not all dogs will go this route. There are some dogs who are totally uninterested in being mouthy, demanding and aggressive. Their personalities are such that this is just not going to happen, even if they are given little training.

Cari Brown (not verified) says:

May 25, 2010 : 14 years 3 weeks ago

Cari Brown's picture

Thanks for your opinion Elizabeth and thanks for training your dog!

Chrystal (not verified) says:

May 25, 2010 : 14 years 3 weeks ago

Chrystal's picture

And we do love her very much! She is a fabulous new addition to our family.

Christie (not verified) says:

May 25, 2010 : 14 years 3 weeks ago

Christie's picture

Your right on as usual. Gauge is my awesome adorable companion and until recently loved everything and was a big goof. He has now become a chesabrat and after a scrap with my other chessie which resulted in a 400.00 dollar vet bill, I called Cari and followed her suggestion, Gauge now has boundries and all is calm at my house,well as calm as it can be with 2 chessies and a 200 pound Mastiff.
Thanks Cari

Heather Edick (not verified) says:

May 25, 2010 : 14 years 3 weeks ago

Heather Edick's picture

Thanks to your wonderful training and advice I am blessed with the most wonderful dog in the world, thank you for the great article, I am forwarding to a few people who could use the help!

Crystal and Tod (not verified) says:

March 5, 2013 : 11 years 14 weeks ago

Crystal and Tod's picture

Tod is my baby puppy. I say baby puppy not bc he gets put in a stroller but bc I can’t have children do he is a surrogate for my love of children. He is very well behaved he loves fetch and he will roll out throw the ball back. My training tip is not to just reward for your pal doing the whole trick you’re trying to teach them but for the little accomplishments as well. Also, Tod is a Beagle and he likes to “make friends” with all animals and he shows his natural tracking instincts by chasing bunnies but he herds them instead of catching them.

nathan sturley (not verified) says:

October 10, 2013 : 10 years 35 weeks ago

nathan sturley's picture

I love my two dogs too much.
I think people who do not own dogs especially from puppies cannot understand it all.
I miss my dogs even after one day away. I taught them to really be interactive with me and they really communicate well. I absolutely adore them. I know that people without dogs don’t relate to it but they are magical creatures of pure goodness and love. I actually learned from them that happiness and contentment can be simple and not complicated.
I think I am like a dog in that I am happy as long as I eat well, sleep well, have a shelter over my head and get a long walk nearly everyday!!!!
Dogs are just pure love and goodness and we can all learn from them.
Lancashire heelers are simply amazing dogs. Half corgi and half manchester terrier. They drag your ankles to the door if you don’t walk them enough. he he he!!
Don’t like that dressing them up though that is just missing the point of dogs nature. Also, I will always have two dogs and one alone gets very lonely with no outlet for his or her natural instinctive habits and little dog things they do and play etc.

Sam (not verified) says:

September 14, 2014 : 9 years 39 weeks ago

Sam's picture

I found my love at the shelter, a boxer mix, he being the age of 2 (we think maybe he was maybe a bit younger). Not necessarily looking for a dog at the time, but volunteering, walking many dogs and bonding with him on the first walk, leading to more walks, and finally adoption. I am glad that we took him because he is very active, smart, and can be intense which can get him into trouble. I would say he is definitely spoiled, with daily walks, weekend outings, many toys (which we have found his favorites), and a lot of attention (affection and play). We do set boundaries such as waiting for his food, not allowed on furniture unless invited, and being corrected with a sit in a firm tone for inappropriate behavior (mostly reactions from dogs, majority of uncut males, or people (we still have issues we people coming in the house, because we rarely have guests, so lack of practice) etc. We do basic training on a daily basis, practicing basic commands and tricks. We have also gotten over some issues such as flinching when being touched on the back, and built up confidences with items, such as getting his ball when near furniture with a firm and reassuring tone. We don’t know his past. Sometimes I think we give him too much attention, because he hates to be ignored but we are working on that when pawing up, we either ignore it or correct with a sit or lay down. Though it is rare, it’s hard because he gets silly and it’s hard to follow through though we try our best. I love my dog too much and everyone knows it. I treat him like a child, but working with children most of my life, I know routine, discipline and learning opportunities are just as important as affection.

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