Deny Your Dog the Best Things in Life
Thank you Simply Sweet Hearts Miami for the Photo
There I said it! Deny your dog’s the best things in life!
Okay I don’t really MEAN it 😉 I was attempting to ruffle a few feathers just to make people sit back and think about it…
What I mean is that you need to CONTROL the best things in your dog’s life.
Let Me Explain
I work with a lot of spoiled dogs, A LOT of spoiled dogs!
Which is only a problem for spoiled dogs that don’t listen to their owners.
Some dogs that ignore commands aren’t spoiled but simply lack interaction and training time with their owners.
My dogs are spoiled for more on that click here but my dogs are also very well behaved.
They get what they want and what they need in life because they listen to me and my commands, and if they don’t listen to their doggy obedience commands they lose privileges like playtime, laying on the sofa, or even being in the room with me (yes, they get the occasional doggy time out).
But I meet a lot of people who are spoiling their dogs, and their dogs are doing nothing for them in return.
That is not to say that their dogs are not cute, lovable, and loving but these are not reasons to spoil your dog.
Because if you are meeting all of your dog’s needs without your dog working for anything, then there is no reason for your dog to listen to you and your commands when you need them to.
You are treating him like a king for no reason!
How are you going to call your dog away from chasing a squirrel if he doesn’t already listen to your commands in the house?
Let’s Look at it From Another Viewpoint
Positive reinforcement works because my dogs work for toys and treats and sometimes their meals.
I have dog owners who say their dogs won’t work for food my response is:
Any living mammal (even fish and birds) will work for food.
Or my dog won’t play with me with toys.
Because the dog gets fed 2 meals a day and he is satiated; he doesn’t need to work for food because he is not hungry.
Because the dog has a toy box full of toys that he can play with all of the time, he doesn’t need you, or he has become disinterested or bored with his toys.
I Deny My Dogs The Best Things
Okay, as I stated earlier I don’t “deny” them but I do control the best things in life.
If my dog doesn’t want to work for food… then I am going to take away his meals for a feeding or two until he is hungry and teach him to work for his food and his meals.
If my dog doesn’t want to play with me; I am going to take his toys around the house away so he has to play with me to get his playtime.
Balls; my dogs love them!
So, I don’t let them have free access to balls.
Balls and tug toys, and Kong © Wubbas are a few of my dog’s favorite things, so these things are never in their toys box.
They have squeaky toys, and fuzzy toys, and sterile bones, and Tuff © toys, and elk antlers, and Nyla Bones © and Galileo © and the occasional rawhide at their disposal.
But playing with their favorite things involves ME and training, and learning and listening.
By doing this, their best times involve ME; which makes ME crucial.
I control the things that they need (food) and the things that they want (toys), and these things are accessible only through training and listening to my commands.
Need help making toys fun, read this and understand why Teasing Builds Drive.
You Know That Dog
You know that dog… the one who runs through the house with a tennis ball in his mouth (for more on how dangerous tennis balls can be click here) and flicks it in your lap for you to throw, over and over and over and over again.
My opinion is that this dog should get his playtime with his ball, but it should be controlled by his owner and should revolve around some obedience. Take that ball and dog outside 3-5 times per day with his ball, but make him sit, lay down, stay give you eye contact, and heel on a leash etc. before you throw his toy.
I have friends that give their dogs access to rawhides all of the time. There are rawhides all over in their toy boxes and throughout their house. But their dogs get bored with them so they still eat doors, or windows, or furniture.
If these rawhides were more “special” and they only got them once a week or every so often the dogs would enjoy them more.
So I mix it up, using rawhides (yes I know some can be dangerous but I use the big ones and keep an eye on my dogs while they chew them taking them away if they are too small, or if my dog is getting large pieces off), and elk antlers, and sheep antlers, hooves, sterile bones, bones stuffed with peanut butter etc. This makes these times a treat.
But you also have to listen to me 95% of the time to be included in these treat times.
It is like having a child earn some special toy or game they want. A lot of training goes in before a bonus treat like this comes out.
My Dogs are Spoiled
It’s true my dogs are spoiled, they can sit on the sofa (if they earn that privilege), they can snuggle in the bed (if they earn that privilege), they have toys to play with in a toy box (as long as they still have a desire to play for their special toys), they have regular meal times and sometimes I make them work for breakfast or dinner or both.
I had a client say just today. My dog knows all of the commands but he simply won’t listen anymore… My guess is that is because they haven’t spent time together working on obedience in a LONG time. Probably since the dog was in dog obedience school.
But, all of these techniques take effort and work!
Your dog isn’t going to listen to you if you don’t devote the time to training him.
Your relationship is going to be strained, until you put in the time to make a difference.
Don’t just give him everything he needs in life for no reason.
He is Just Like a Child
- He is just like your children, he needs you to spend time with him.
- He needs boundaries.
- He needs discipline.
- And he needs to know how to please you.
If you don’t spend time doing the simple things in life with him, you won’t develop that deep relationship of respect and admiration.
I dare you… spend a month training your dog 3 times per day, EVERY day, working on something new (even a few silly tricks) or something he already knows.
I bet by the end of the month you will both have a new relationship!
But as with anything good relationships take time and effort. Are you willing to make a change?
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.