This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Sage advise from PAWSitively Calm

Too often I am called to address the behavior problems of recently adopted rescue dogs. More often than not, these problems are caused by loving, though misguided people who have inadvertently created the very behaviors that now need fixing. Contrary to the Beatles, 'love is all you need', it is struture, rules and routine that are the building blocks for a well balanced dog.
 I read this on a PAWSitively FaceBook post today and thought I'd share.
When our eagerness to make a “poor” rescue feel loved and secure OVERRIDES her need for structure, rules, boundaries, and accountability, we quickly see why the dog feels an obligation to take control of the home. All our unearned love and kisses will have a dog quickly conclude who the actual leader is in any situation.
All our loving care is provided with nothing but the best intentions of course, but soon you will see it backfire when control over couch time, demanding affection, unearned privileges, and allowances associated with being the leader, come from DEMANDS FROM THE DOG rather than you.
When these are given at the dog’s request, these valuable resources are interpreted as proof of the dog’s role within the home. Rule setting then becomes the dog’s privilege, where in canine fashion, she feels growling, snarling, or snapping will enforce such ruling. We humans may be thinking “I love you, you will need for nothing ever again,” while the dog hears “Your wish is my command”.