Are you your dog's favourite toy?
I am sure your dog has a favourite toy, right? Usually, when he sees this toy he will act really excited. When you take this toy away, he may cry, bark, whine...etc.,l He is not gentle with this toy. He will do whatever he likes to the toy. Many dogs who are really anxious when their owners leave or become "protective" of their owners when someone comes or Velcro to their owners all day long, unfortunately, look at their owners the way they look at their favourite toy. When they see their owners, they become super excited (like how they get really excited when they see that toy). They become really vocal and sometimes even aggressive when their owners leave (like how they are when their toys are taken away). They will guard their owner the way they guard their toy from visitors. One thing they don't do, is that they don't respect their owners, just as they won't respect their favourite toy. This is not love; this is an unhealthy obsession. Obsession can be fatal and destructive. If you have such a dog, ask yourself, did you treat your dog like your favourite toy when you first started your relationship? This is an important question because that is usually how such an unhealthy obsession begins. We don't tell our toy what is right and wrong, we don't discipline our toy, we don't expect our toy to excel, we don't try to build a healthy long term relationship with our toy; all we want is to use the toy to satisfy our wants. We want to use the toy to make ourselves feel good. When we look at a dog this way, when we treat our dogs as our "fur babies" and lavish the dog with massive unearned affection without giving the dog any structure and leadership, we are essentially treating the dog like our favourite toy. And guess what, after a while, our dogs will treat us like we are his favourite toy, too. Dogs will not respect their favourite toy. They will chew and destroy that toy without any second thought. Many dogs nip their owners many times daily because they view their owners just like that toy. Dogs will not listen to their toy. They show no respect to their toy. That is why they don't listen to the owner whom they perceive as the toy. They will follow the owner around like they do carrying their toys everywhere they go; but when the owner tries to tell them something, they don't care - Why should l take any instruction from my toy? If someone tries to take the toy away, many dogs will growl. And many dogs will growl, bark, even bite people who comes close to their owner. It is not love, it is an obsession. The dog is looking at the owner as a resource (like his toy) and guarding the owner from others like he guards his toy from other dogs. Many owners l have met did not put themselves in that situation intentionally. They just thought it was the only relationship they could have. They believed dogs were supposed to be treated that way. When they cannot leave home to go to work, when their dogs bite them, when they cannot have guest over...then they know they are in trouble yet they have no idea how to get out of this mess. Many such owners are also emotionally stressed and conflicted. They feel like a chewed and beaten up toy inside. They have been bullied by their dogs constantly but they love their dogs and they really dont want to surrender their dogs. Yet, there doesnt seem to be hope. There is actually hope. Dogs can change. All we really need is to change the way the dog looks at the relationship. The owner has to change in order to change the dog's perception. If you don't want to be treated like a toy, please do not look at and treat your dog like a fur baby. Do not touch and talk to your dog like a toy or stuffed animal. Treat your dog with respect and you will be respected. Your dog is a domesticated version of a wolf. He is not a "fur baby". Please honour and dignify him by respecting him for who he truly is. Your dog is a pack animal. He needs to have someone to look up to. He craves leadership. Respect your dog's needs and be that leader. Act like a leader, think like a leader, and you will be treated like a leader instead of a toy. Leader doesn't give out unearned affection all day for no reason. If you treat your dog like a toy, don't be surprised when you find yourself being treated like his favourite toy one day.