This bit of writing comes again from our friends at the Good Dog Training and Rehabilitation program…it’s really good stuff and important to remember as we go down the road of making changes for our dogs through our own attitudes and behaviors.  Read and enjoy!

The Good Dog Tip: How to mess up a dog!

So much of what we see with problem dogs and their behavior, is that people have unintentionally reinforced and encouraged the wrong stuff. And of course, none of us want to intentionally mess up our dogs (even though many of us – including your’s truly have). So here’s a little list of reminders that we’ll call the “don’t do”.

  •  Trying to love a badly behaved dog better.
  • Coddling, nurturing, babying an insecure, nervous dog.
  • Allowing a dog to have constant access to you and your personal space. (Following you everywhere, jumping in your lap uninvited, always needing to be near.)
  • Constantly petting a dog.
  • Using your dog to fill emotional gaps in your life.
  • Not enforcing rules because they feel bad.
    Being inconsistent.
  • Accidentally rewarding whining/barking/growling by petting/talking to/letting in or out of a door/crate.
  • Letting stressed dogs (pulling, anxious, worked up) meet on-leash.
  • Letting dogs pull to trees or bushes on walks.
  • Touching, talking to, “enjoying” a dog who jumps on you.
  • Giving treats or petting a growling/barking/anxious/stressed dog to calm and soothe them.
  • Sharing only your soft, sweet, loving, affectionate side.
  • Using tools that allow dogs to ignore you and the tool.
  • Using tools that allow/encourage the dog to behave worse.
  • Seeing freedom, love, and affection as more vital to your dog’s well-being than structure, rules, guidance.
  • Thinking exercise and activity create calm, relaxed dogs on their own.
  • Wanting to be your dog’s best friend before having become his leader.
  • Thinking dogs just want to please you.
  • Not sharing valuable consequences for bad behavior.
  • Being afraid that consequences and discipline will ruin your relationship.
  • Letting love blind you to your dog’s actual needs.
  • Letting your needs blind you to your dog’s actual needs.

Of course there’s oodles more, but this is a good start!