Bad dog behavior:
Are you an enabler?

Are you an enabler for bad dog behavior? Are you responsible for your dog's less than desirable behavior? Come on, you can admit it. I’ve been guilty of this myself.

guilty coton do

Here are just a few of my enabling bad dog behavior enabling habits:

  • One time when I had the refrigerator open my Coton de Tulear, Luc snuck into the refrigerator and grabbed a carrot out of the bag. I thought this was the funniest thing and now it's a game we play. I leave the frig door open so he can “steal” a carrot, run to the other room to eat it, run back to the frig for another carrot and so on. For some reason he likes the carrots that he "steals" more than the carrots I just give him. While I think this is funny and cute, I found that when we go visiting someone else's house, they are not so amused to have a dog scrounging around in their refrigerator. Oops – bad owner!

  • Another instance of enabling my dog's bad behavior was when I would encourage him to jump on me. I would come home from work and love when he'd be excited to see me and jump all over me. What I failed to think about was that now he thought it was okay to jump on EVERYONE. I had to rethink this when he started jumping on my elderly neighbor. Apparently not everyone finds this behavior fun and charming. Oops – bad owner!

  • When I first got Luc he was very afraid of cars. He would whimper and cry and I thought I was doing the right thing by soothing and petting him. I was inadvertently reinforcing this behavior. When I learned that this comfort was actually enabling his behavior I made some changes. Don’t get me wrong, this didn’t happen overnight. It took many training sessions, but this was one dog behavior correction that was worth the time and patience because now Luc loves going for a ride and I'm not stressing out worrying about him.

Now it's your turn to fess up. What bad dog behavior are you responsible for?

It's so easy to enable behavior issues with small dogs. After all, they're so cute and harmless, right? Unfortunately, bad dog behavior is the number one reason dogs end up in shelters so just a small shift in our behavior can make a huge difference for our relationships with our pets.

Some bad habits are virtually harmless and okay to let slide (stealing carrots), but others can be harmful (jumping on people), so taking the time to train your dog is the best thing you can do for everyone concerned.

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