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604-700-7894 | Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Love and freedom are not the answers

October 7, 2018

A dog can become reactive with too much love and freedom.

A lot of dogs ended up in the shelter because they were given nothing but love and freedom by their owners (should say ex owners).

Freedom is not a good thing for a dog when the dog has no idea what to do with it. Love without guidance is not going to make the dog stronger or happier.

Lots and lots of misplaced love and freedom will result in lots and lots of entitlement, confusion, and anxiety, which are what drive most reactive dogs to react.

What a dog needs is leadership.

A dog does not want to live in a city with no police officer (which some people may think equates to having the ultimate freedom); on the contrary, a dog wants to live in a city where he feels protected, where he knows what he is supposed to do and what he can expect. This is what leadership can do.

When a dog is not sure what to do, love in the form of affection or baby voices (e.g. hug the dog and tell him it’s okay) will not give him what he needs, which is clear direction.

When a dog cannot receive clear direction, he will be confused, and he will not respect/trust this person who fails to give him clear direction.

Giving a dog nothing but love and freedom is actually a very common mistake that can easily turn an otherwise fine dog into a reactive dog. 

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