Spoiled Rotten Dog: Are You Guilty?

Dogs are just like to children to many people, and like children, they can be at risk for being spoiled… “What’s the harm?”, you may ask yourself. Extra treats, lots of toys, and lax rules are just how you show your love right? The problem is, just like with children, a spoiled dog can lead to problems as they get older. They can be aggressive toward you or others who try to impose rules on them, a nuisance to neighbors or company, and difficult for veterinarians to provide proper care for. So, what are some of the common errors and signs of a spoiled dog?

Spoiled Dog Syndrome

  • Does your dog routinely ignore commands they were once prompt to obey?
    Do they sneak around to do things they know are no-no’s? (i.e stealing food, chewing on shoes, etc.) Are they rude to your company by growling or jumping up on them?
  • Make time for your pet instead of buying extra toys. Time in your company as your companion is the best “toy” you can give. Walks, trips to the park, or even a movie and a snuggle will help enhance your bond and make your pet desire your approval.
  • Alternatively, consider crate training to teach your pet how to spend time alone too. Most people can’t spoil their pets (or themselves) to the extent of being “attached at the hip” and you will be required to leave your pet alone at times. To ensure they don’t either suffer anxiety or see these as moments to partake in all the no-no’s of life, make sure they are comfortable spending time alone.
  • Don’t send mixed signals. We know puppy dog eyes are pretty hard to resist, but it’s important that you send a consistent and clear message about what’s okay and what’s not, AT ALL TIMES. This means no exceptions for being too tired to shoo them off the bed for the tenth time, or as “okay on special occasions”. A no-no is a no-no. The better your pet sees this, the less likely they should be to beg.
  • Keep treats for good behavior, but not ALL good behavior. Overfeeding your pet treats isn’t just bad for their behavior, it’s bad for their waistlines too! While treats can be a great way to help train a dog for all sorts of behaviors, they shouldn’t become a permanent reward. This doesn’t mean that you can’t treat them for coming when called, or sitting when told too, just do it less than 50% of the time.

photo credit: Fußball Bundesliga… via photopin (license)

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