Spoiling Your Dog Why You Should Stop It
In this article Spoiling Your Dog Why You Should Stop It , I will show you why spoiling your dog is seriously detrimental to his health, and I will give you tips on how you can make your dog’s life, healthier, happier and more balanced. Not only will your dog feel happier, but so will you!
Dogs are our companions, dogs are our friends, dogs are part of our families. All these statements are true, however one thing dogs are not, are human-beings.
Spoiling and pampering a dog as we would a small child, confuses him and increases anxiety, leading to unwanted behaviours.
Behavioural Issues Of A Spoilt Dog
There are many behavioural issues that come about from spoiling and babying your dog. Here are a list of some of the detrimental effects dog spoiling can have on your beloved pooch.
- Anxiety and confusion – which result in anxious behavioural traits, that can also include fear based aggression and obsessive, repetitive habits and excessive barking.
- Unwanted dominant behaviour – includes bossy behaviour, marking territory, jumping up on people, snapping, growling and even biting.
- Unwanted fearful aggression – lashing out, growling and biting.
- Physically unhealthy – including stressed induced obsessive chewing and licking at body parts, overweight from being carried when the dog should be walking, and being overfed meals and treats.
- Increased demands for attention – including constant jumping, begging, whining and barking for attention.
Why We Spoil Our Dogs
The smaller, fluffier and cuter the dog, the more we treat them like babies and the more we like to humanize them.
Dogs love us and we love them. We want to spoil them in the same way we would spoil and lavish attention on a human baby. Scientific studies have shown that when our dog lovingly gazes into our eyes, it causes us to release Oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone. This is the same overwhelmingly good sensation a parent feels when they gaze into their baby’s eyes. See more here.
Another reason we spoil our dogs is because we believe in giving them what makes us, as “humans” feel good. As a human, who doesn’t love a treat, getting spoiled, or being greeted the moment we walk in the door, like we are the best thing since slice bread! As a human, when we are nervous about something, we love being cuddled and soothed and told everything is going to be okay.
Understandably, many of us spoil our dogs if we are lonely. Often dogs become a substitute for a partner or a child. By all means, you can love your dog as much as you would love a human family member, but you still need to remember to do the right thing by him and his needs as a dog first and foremost, as this is true selfless loving.
Scientists Prove Dogs Understand Us But We Need To Learn To Understand Them
Here are some fascinating scientific study articles from Science Mag , that prove that dogs are able to read human moods and tones of voices;
There are many more articles that show how dogs have adapted from the wolf to become domesticated and to read and understand their human families, yet how many of us know what our dog needs in return and what they are communicating back to us?
Did you know that if a dog’s tail is wagging to the right it is happy, but if it wags to the left it is anxious? Read more.
Do We Need To Be Our Dog’s Leader?
There are many schools of thought on whether dogs work as wolves do, in a well oiled pack formation. This study shows that domesticated dogs are not as adept at working together in a pack, as a team effort.
A domesticated dog looks to their trusted human for leadership and security and if we don’t provide this for him, then we are doing him a real disservice, and this is when he feels he has to take matters into his own paws in order to survive.
Dogs are instinctive and do things that make them feel safe and that fulfill their basic needs. If they live with us we need to make them feel safe by leading them and showing them what is expected of them. Here is a great article on dog spoiling by a trainer Nan Arthur, Whole Dog Training.
In my experience, I can see a dog is happiest when it knows it’s place and knows that you are a gentle, firm and consistent leader in their household. I find if you give a dog gentle, but firm leadership and win it’s respect then living together is much easier.
Personally I think it is fine to let your dog up on the couch and if you want sleep with you, but it must be on your terms and the dog must have enough respect for you to listen to you, and to act if you ask something of him.
Basic obedience training is an absolute must for all dogs and their owners! We need to be taught how to look after our dogs properly.
How to Unspoil Your Dog
You can give your dog all the love and affection you want, but first show your dog that you are a calm and assertive leader in and out of the house, and win your dogs respect and desire to want to listen to you.
- Your dog needs to feel he is living in a calm and secure environment, and that you his leader, has everything under control, so he feels that their is no need for him to protect you, himself or your shared territory.
- Spoiling your dog the right way, is giving him a routine of daily exercise and play stimulation. Also plenty of pats and tummy rubs.
- Show him where his boundaries are and be consistent! You need to set the boundaries like you would with a child. Your dog should not dictate to you where he should sit, eat and sleep. Your dog should not demand or bully you for attention. Be firm, but fair and gentle in your training.
- Reward good behaviour with positive reinforcement. This should not always be food treats, but treats in the form of pats and playtime with a favourite toy. Food treats are always good when first training your dog, but once your dog gets what is expected of him, food treats can be interspersed with play and affection treating.
- Giving your dog lots of treats just because he is cute and because you know he enjoys them, is not doing him any favours! A dog that begs for food is demanding it and this is not to be rewarded.
- Let your dog walk, even if he is tiny. Carrying your dog everywhere because he is purse size, is not only bad for your dogs physical health, but confuses the dog and makes him feel defenseless, with nowhere to go should he want to back away from a situation.
- Don’t mollycoddle, cuddle, pick up, or try to soothe your dog when it is scared of something; e.g strangers, vacuum cleaners, loud noises etc . If you do this, you are in fact enforcing the notion in your dog’s head, that yes, there is something they should be worrying about. Instead you need to ignore their display of anxiety and carry on calmly and show by your leadership, that all is okay in the world.
- If your dog jumps up on you demanding your attention, sits on your feet, or pushes against you, it is not love, it is dominant behaviour and should be ignored. Your the leader in the household and you give affection on your terms and not your dogs.
- When you leave the house don’t make a big song and dance about it. Just leave calmly and come back entering calmly. If you show excitement and anxiousness to your dog when leaving and coming home, then your dog will learn that these times are meant to be highly charged and full of anxiety.
There are very few alpha dogs in the domestic dog world capable of leading a pack. We have bred traits in domestic dogs so that they can live harmoniously as members of our family, so we need to ensure that just like children, they have good manners and behaviour that makes us proud.
For more dog health and well-being info read my articles;
- As well as researching and writing for LivingSafe.com.au, and working as a cruelty free hair and makeup artist, I am also a registered dog minder and run Nix’s Bed & Barkfest. Over the years I have had a lot of experience interacting with many different dog breeds, and in my opinion, some of the biggest behavioural issues I see stem from owners, with the best intentions, spoiling & babying their furry family members.
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