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I Don’t Want To Be Right

Have you seen this post? It has been circulating social media. This current one that is posted here was copied from an “I love Dogs” page and in 5 minutes had over 1,000 “likes” and half as many shares and comments. Have you ever stopped to consider the consequences of spoiling a dog?

“If SPOILING my dog is WRONG then I don’t want to be RIGHT!”

What’s my issue with this? Spoiled dogs are most often the ones with behavioral issues.  Dogs that “misbehave” are the ones who are most often owner surrendered.  If the original author was concerned for the welfare of the animals instead of misguided human emotions it would read, “I created an unmanageable brat-dog by spoiling it rotten and now no one but me wants to be around it! Like & Share if you agree!”

My dogs have soft and comfortable beds. They eat food that is more expensive than mine. They have nice expensive collars and leashes. They have multiple chew and play toys. I cuddle with them on the furniture. But my dogs are not spoiled. Why? The difference is that everything they view as a privilege is earned through obedience and compliance to structure/routine and will be taken away if their standard of behavior that I have set for them is not being met.

The minute you decide that your dog should be loved, coddled, given everything that he/she shows the slightest bit of interest in (or doesn’t show any interest in, in some cases) and allowed to do whatever it wants- you are dooming that animal to a stressful life. It will carry it’s entitlement into the vet’s office and probably have to be muzzled for routine procedures. Your groomer probably hates you, but since you do not have the skills or patience to cleanse, dry and cut the hair and nails they have to do it for you. And I would not be surprised if you quit basic obedience classes early, since Fluffy “didn’t want to lie down on the cold floor” so you didn’t teach the dog that it could.

People who spoil their dogs create issues by not setting boundaries. For example, when ‘come when called’ is an “option” and the dog runs into the street, it can get hit by a car. By instantly giving the dog multiple items to chew, it never learns that there are other things not allowed to be gnawed upon, so your shoes pay the price if you leave them out. You will have some friends or family that don’t want to come to your house, because you use the excuse “They live here, you don’t!” to justify allowing your dogs to bark, run into, lick incessantly or jump on your guests. Overly indulgent owners are often the ones you see being dragged down the street by a dog who has never been taught that the human should make the decision of where to go, and how fast to get there.

This is another great example of a post that should be flushed down the toilet, instead of applauded and “shared” as it has been by thousands of clueless dog owners.

Dog Rules for Humans

I understand it was designed to be funny.  I DO have a sense of humor.  I just think the majority of people who are reading this and finding it funny are out of touch with the reality of what it means if you follow these “rules”. Following these will lead to obese dogs with no impulse control, and neurotic behavior ranging from possessive issues and huge insecurity.

Unless you are willing to admit that the dog is smarter than you, has more worldly knowledge and is more productive (with a good enough job to support you both financially), why on earth are you letting it run your life?  If you bought it, it’s YOURS.  Let your dog earn the right to use it by doing things YOUR WAY.  And for goodness sakes, go to the bathroom by yourself.

The fact that almost every single one of the comments for this poster were heartfelt agreements, and exclamations of the accuracy of the “rules” quite frankly scares me. Just the other week I did an evaluation of an owner surrendered “designer dog” who had to be euthanized because it had such severe behavioral issues. The kicker? IT WAS PREVENTABLE. I had hands on the dog and could tell it had been loved. It was perfectly healthy. It had been recently groomed. It was a sweet, affectionate little fluffy thing that could not wait to jump in your lap and shove it’s nose under your hand to be petted!

The issue (and also why it was surrendered) was that it would also sometimes make the decision to bite the crap out of whomever was closest, and was completely unrepentant. If you were holding it and someone else walked up – growl and bite. If you want to stand up and end a petting session, growl and maybe a bite. And God help you if you were holding something tasty, like a treat of rawhide: full out attack. This dog did not target the treat to try to take it away, it would attack the hand of whomever was holding the treat, and bite as hard as it could. It was a dog that had learned through repetition that biting got it whatever it wanted. There were no visible stressors (panting, hackles). It would still expect to hop up in your lap afterwards. It may have had owners that loved it, but they never taught it how to behave or set any boundaries. It learned to bite to get what it wanted, and it learned to bite without consequence. It could not be re-homed, because it was not a matter of “if” it bit, it was “when” and “how much damage”.

So for those of you reading this who are appalled at my frankness and anger at so-called innocent, funny posts: this is what it leads to. Overly permissive lifestyles can literally end a dog’s life. If my husband and I keel over dead in the streets today, I know my dogs can be re-homed with family or friends. They will behave in the household, other people can handle them, and they will not resort to biting. Can you say the same for your dog?

Please, take the time to train with your dog, which forms a much truer bond than trying to bribe or buy its love. Set boundaries to keep them safe.