What is wrong with a spoiled child?
If you think of a parent-child relationship, a very spoiled child usually shows very little to no respect to his parents. Usually, such a child does not care too much about what the parent wants but more about what he wants. When we lavish a dog with lots of love without leadership, we are doing something very similar to the dog. Problem with a dog who is really spoiled is that since she has little respect to her human, when faced with a situation, she does not think "what does my human want me to do?" But "what do l want and how can l get it?" As such, she does not have the concept of paying close attention to and waiting for permission from her human; she will just react instinctively. That is how we creat dogs who barks, pulls, lunges, air snaps, pancakes, destroys things... Respect and trust go hand in hand for a dog. A dog cannot trust someone she does not respect. A dog cannot respect someone she does not feel like she needs to pay attention to. When a dog is scared, if her human is not her focal point, if she cannot have her human as her "rock", she will freak out. She will be like a ship without an anchor in a storm. She will be like a captain who cannot find a lighthouse in the dark. We need to be our dog's anchor. We need to be their lighthouse. We don't become an anchor by lavishing a dog with nothing but affection and soft energy (hugs, kisses, baby talks,...). We don't become their lighthouse by never telling them what is right and what is wrong, which is exactly what we are doing if we spoil them with lots of unearned and misplaced affection all the time. We need to be strong for our dogs if we love them. To be strong means to have discipline. We need to think about what our dogs really need, not just what make us feel good. We need to be discipline enough so we will put our dog's needs above ours. Instead of doing what makes us feel good, we need to have the discipline to ask if this is what makes our dogs feel safe. Will lots of coddling help our dogs to relax in our leadership and follow our lead without reacting to every little thing they see in public? If affection is the answer, things would have been really easy. Lots of aggressive and reactive dog owners give their dogs massive affection. But... Their dogs keep getting worst once they are outside of their house (some are even worst inside). Over and over again, l see the drastic difference leadership and massive structure can do to change a dog. Dogs are much calmer and less stressed, they become much more relaxed and happy. They stop feeling the pain from their anxiety. They can enjoy their life and have much more freedom... Why? Because that is what dogs need in order to feel safe. They are not humans, they are a different species with their own genetic needs that are different from ours. If we love our dogs, we should help them to feel safe, not just use them to make ourselves happy. It is the job of the leader to make his pack feel safe. It is our responsibility and obligation as owners to provide security and direction for our dogs. Giving our dogs lots of expensive toys and treats will not help a dog to feel safe the same way spoiling a child will not help him to become content. The best way to love our dogs is to provide them with leadership. Leadership cannot be purchased from a store. Leadership is not about buying things. It is about how we live our daily life with our dogs. It is about ourselves. We need to change ourselves in order to improve the mental state of our dogs. If you love your dog, the best gift you can give your dog is leadership. Please work on it. Do not spoil your dogs. Be your dog's anchor, be her lighthouse. Be the one she can look up to for direction and count on for protection. Please do not be like a parent who spoils; love your dog by being her strong leader. Your dog will be happier and so will you.