Never miss an opportunity to tell your dog you love them. Most people know how to show affection to their dogs. We pet, hug, kiss, talk, and give treats to our beloved pets. They sleep with us in bed and watch TV or at least lay next to us on the couch while we watch TV. Our dogs follow us around. They follow us in the bathroom, ride in the car, and travel with us. In fact, when we leave them alone and we hate doing this, they cry scratch at the door and destroy something like a shoe or worse, sofa. We refuse to crate them because that is mean. I once saw a PETA poster with a picture of a sad looking dog in a crate and it read, “Please Don’t Crate Your Dog”. Honestly I laughed and posted it in our K-9 office.
Don’t get me wrong I love my dogs and I pet talk and give treats to my dogs as we lay on the floor and snuggle. I have seen a reoccurring theme with dogs that have separation anxiety, obedience, and behavior issues. Its people that dote on their dogs. They love their dogs so much they do not see their faults or at least they just live put up with them. They don’t want to hurt their dog’s feelings so they are afraid to interrupt behavior. These are the dogs that jump, bark, cry, fuss, leash pull and growl. The really bad ones bite. Everyone knows how to love a dog but they don’t know how to raise a dog.
Have you ever seen the spoiled little kid that is rude, won’t listen and talks back to his/her parents? It’s the same thing. All the parent knows how to do is love their child but they are not willing to give out consequences for bad or inappropriate behavior. There’s no follow through. Before we get into rules lets touch upon dog psychology. Dogs do not like hugs, kisses, eye contact or anyone getting on them or into their face. The dog in the picture above has dilated eyes and is licking, which are signs of stress. This is how children get bit in the face. Teach your children to stay out of your dog’s face; no hugs no kisses or crawling on the dog. We pet nice from neck to back. Think of it this way how would you like a stranger to come up to you give you a big hug, rub you all over and plant a big smooch on your lips? Dogs don’t like that either, they don’t even like it if the owner does it so knock it off. Your dog thinks you’re creepy.
Teach your dog rules and consequences for behavior. Use a squirt or shaker bottle to interrupt behavior. Teach your dog to wear a leash and use that leash if they are jumping on the counter or on people, give the leash a snap and say off. If you don’t make it uncomfortable they will continue to jump. If your dog cannot calm down when he/she sees a dog, you need to work with him/her around dogs and teach the dog to ignore dogs and pay attention to you. I recommend dog parks. Do not go into the dog park, but work your dog outside along the fence. You never know what your dog is going to run into in a dog park and some of the dogs may have fleas, viruses or are just rude. I don’t go to dog parks. I own dogs because I want a relationship with them. I want to play with them. My dogs don’t interact with strange dogs in fact they don’t even play with dogs they do know. They know the play comes from Dad not dogs.
I have heard it time and time again from dog owners I have worked with. Once we teach the dog some rules and appropriate behavior the relationship between the owner and the dog is better. The dog is less nervous, calmer and loveable to the owner. The owner can now relax because the dog is now behaving appropriately. Dogs are experts at reading our feelings and emotions. If you are stressed out over your dog’s behavior, the dog only knows you are stressed, which makes your dog stressed. They have no any idea they are the ones causing your stress. Train your dog, be happy and calm and your dog will be happy and calm.