Truth be told, loving your dog is one of the best things you can give to your dog.
However, there can be dire consequences for loving your dog too much. Have you ever gorged on too much ice cream and regretted it later? That’s dire consequences! In other words, a little goes a long way.
When it comes to your dog though, the concept of “a little love goes a long way” is difficult at best to put into use. Loving your dog too much can bring dog behavior problems to your relationship. You may not see it today or tomorrow but I see it every day as it begins to show its ugly face in many homes throughout the city.
I think the number one reason people get dogs is for companionship. And typically, you’re thinking immediately of what you want. You want a dog to love – to be your constant companion and devoted listener. And you want what all dogs have to give us – unconditional love.
Dogs help us to de-stress from a long, tense day at work. Less tension is better, right? As you rock along getting all that relief from your dog by satisfying your own personal needs, behavior problems are developing with your dog. Dog behavior problems surface and instead of your tension lessening, our tension begins to accelerate to the breaking point.
With no structure or leadership your dog defaults to his natural instincts which surface as symptoms (dog behavior problems.) Here are some behavior problems that could happen or, may already be happening with your dog:
- Separation anxiety brings on destructive chewing
- House soiling in older dogs
- Resource guarding everything from food, to space, to you— with aggression
- Not coming when called
- Attention-seeking behaviors like barking when you are on the phone
If you could rewind the events leading up to the dog behavior problems that have now surfaced, what could you do differently to prevent the behavior?
The bad news is there is no time capsule. You can’t go back in time and do things differently to prevent the behavior.
The good news is “it’s not too late to change it now.”
The price you pay will be in the difficulty of the change.
If you catch it sooner than later, positive changes can happen more quickly. If you don’t catch it until much later, it may take a little more time but you can fix your dog behavior problem.
The key is in understanding what you did to cause the behavior in the first place. Addressing the cause (not the symptom) will prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Addressing the cause
Let’s say you fix your house soiling problem by following the guidelines of a training program designed just for that problem. Your house soiling may reoccur unless you understand the cause of the problem.
The cause is usually (barring no medical issues) insecurities acquired by not providing enough structure and giving your dog too much love and affection at the wrong time. Unless you eliminate the cause, your house soiling problem will resurface.
Remember, it’s not giving up love and affection; it’s just getting and giving the love and affection differently. How so? Let’s see.
Structure for your dog
Another way to give love and affection is to provide your dog with an opportunity to train with you. This not only begins to provide structure but gives him a job to do for you.
Implement a “Sit for everything” program for your dog in your home. Believe me when I say, “He will absolutely love it!” Why? Done repetitively and consistently it creates a genuine desire to want to interact with you as he does his dog obedience command.
At the wrong time
Always give your dog love and affection when they have done something to earn it, not when they ask for it.
A different kind of love and affection
Many parents give their children iPhones, iPods, iPads and even cars as a token of their love.
What does your dog love? Your dog loves to walk and explore with its nose. Give your dog frequent walks in different locations. Knowing that you can make trips to the beach, park or city hiking trails happen, will excite your dog and go a long way to changing his perception of your relationship.
Remember too that changes like these should be lifetime changes, a real commitment to a different and better life with your dog. Learn to love the truth about a better relationship and avoid the consequences of an unstable relationship.
Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you. Don’t be a stranger. I’d love to hear what you think.
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your must have, easy step-by-step process to helping your dog. Be the dog owner your dog needs to be a great dog. Ground Rules gets you there. Grab them now.