Do You Love Your Dog Too Much?
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.
When 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
1) 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
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.