The Pros and Cons of Treating Your Dog Like a Baby
Most pet parents have made the mistake of raising your dog at one point or another. Whether it’s extra cookies, carry around, dressing them up in cute outfits, or just letting them do whatever they want, we can all treat our furry friends like toddlers. But does that make a good dog bad?
San Francisco dog trainer Beverly Ulbrich is helping us outline the pros and cons of treating your dog like a child.
Signs You’re Guilty About Your Baby
You may not even realize you’re doing it, but there’s a good chance you’ve babysited your dog.
“There are many possibilities,” Ulbrich said. “But often it’s related to owners developing bad behavior, like begging or whining, or getting their dogs to disobey commands.”
Here are some common behaviors in our dogs:
- Giving in to whining or barking for attention or food
- walking an able-bodied dog around or pushing it in a stroller
- Let Your Dog Ignore Commands He Knows
- Not correcting bad behavior such as posturing, resource guarding, and form of aggression– Includes dog-to-dog aggression, food aggression, and human aggression
risk of damage
Giving your dog too much attention or letting him run the show will almost always result in poor performance.
“A dog without firm leadership will lack confidence and direction, and become fearful and then often aggressive,” Ulbrich said. “I’ve seen dogs bully their guardians so much that they are afraid of them. For example, some dogs don’t allow their owners to take away food, brush their hair, or even allow their owners to go to their own beds.”
Spoiling your dog could even endanger his life.
“It could mean dogs are ignoring commands that could save their lives,” Ulbrich said.
Ulbrich suggests imagining your dog as a 4- or 5-year-old child and asking if you would allow the same behavior.
“Would it be okay if you had to ask your kid to go to bed three times and then bribe him with cookies to go to bed,” Ulbrich asked. “Is it okay if your child throws a tantrum when you remove his plate? Can your child demand attention anytime, anywhere by being loud?
A good rule of thumb: If you think your dog’s behavior would be rude or dangerous when it was a child, it’s likely to be rude or dangerous to the dog.
“Be more firm with him, knowing that your most important job is to protect and teach him, not spoil him,” Ulbrich said.
the bottom line
Being a pet parent is fun, but not without responsibilities. If you want a happy and well-adjusted dog, it may be time to put your foot down.
“Just like loving your child includes teaching him safety and boundaries, you need to teach your dog these things too,” Ulbrich says. “Giving your dog too much freedom will only lead to spoiling at the minimum and possibly injury at worst.”
For more insights on how to avoid dogs and get them right, check out these Helpful tips from The Pooch Coach.