Am I An Overprotective Dog Owner?
Many of us can’t help but worry for our beloved pup’s health and safety. But taken to an extreme, keeping your dog far from danger does them more harm than good. We all love our furry friends to bits, but at what point are we crossing the line between prudence and overprotection?
Signs Of Overprotection
Wary of letting your dog socialise with other canines for fear of their safety? We’re sure many of us are guilty of that. Making your dog wear shoes, pushing them in pet prams, shielding them from the tiniest speck of dirt, and showering them with an overwhelming amount of affection are all common habits of overprotective owners.
Read more: 8 Signs Your Dog Is Taking Over Your Life
Some dog lovers claim that overprotectiveness very often leads to a lack of respect from our dogs. Instead of the owner asserting themselves as the pack leader, the dog learns that they can get what they want, and do what they want, as long the right strings are pulled. The problem with overprotection is that not only does it hinder our dog’s intellectual and emotional development, it also counters their natural instincts, which can lead to confusion.
I’m Guilty Of Being An Overprotective Owner, What Should I Do?
Well, for starters, loosen up. Your dog probably isn’t going to trip while climbing the stairs, and even if they do, chances are, they’ll get right back up on their paws. More importantly, a few tumbles are likely to serve active canines well in the long run as they learn to navigate stairs and other terrains. When on walks, don’t be too quick to pull them away from a good sniff, it’s unlikely they’ll pick up something from a quick – or not so quick – whiff. Your dog does need space and time to let out excess energy, and for most of us apartment-dwellers, a good run outside with our dog will do both parties some good.
Next, be prepared to toughen up. As you begin to change the way you do things with your dog, it’s unlikely that they will adapt to the changes straight away. There will almost definitely be some barking and whining involved, but withstanding that will reward you with a much healthier relationship with your pup.
It’s time to show your dog who’s boss. Many of us are guilty of giving our dog affection when they whine, or tossing them a treat simply because they ask for it. We want them to be happy, and that’s only natural. But the truth is: dogs are truly happy when they have a leader to follow and a job to do. When you give the cues and decide when they deserve a treat, their natural instincts are being met and not confused.
Give your dog some space. If you are constantly worrying about your dog’s whereabouts and can’t leave them alone in the house, they feed off your anxiety and associate being alone with negativity. In contrast, giving your dog – and yourself – room to breathe lets them know that it is perfectly safe to be on their own. Begin by establishing the boundaries. If they want to go into your bedroom, stand in front of them with a firm, but calm, “no”.
Above all, keep calm and let your dog be a dog.