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5 Ways to Mess Up Your Dog
Most of the time, dog trainers invest effort trying to teach dog owners what to do to have a well- mannered, well-adjusted companion.
But sometimes it is helpful to look at things from another angle so let me share a few thoughts on how you can wreak havoc with your dog’s mental health and have a negative impact on their behavior.
These are some of the top ways that you can mess up your dog. After messing them up you can invest lots of effort, and sometimes large amounts of money, fixing the problems.
Top Five Ways to Mess Up Your Dog:
1. Leave Your Dog Tethered or Unattended Outside.
Doing this is one of the best ways to build aggression problems. A dog left unsupervised, outside while you are inside or not home often learns to take on a “guard duty” role.
It is instinctual for most dogs to feel protective of territory, so if the dog is alone in the yard there is little choice left for a dog other than to scare intruders away by barking, lunging or chasing.
It is important to remember that just because you know the neighbors are not threats, does not mean your dog understands that fact. Your dog is likely to view the mailman, the skateboarder or your children’s friends as scary intruders. Once a dog realizes that the actions of chasing, barking and lunging make people “go away”…it can be a rapid path to building serious aggression issues.
2. Provide Little Physical Exercise or Mental Activity.
This is easy. Get up, feed the dog, leave the house for a day at work, come home tired, make your dinner and take care of the kids, let the dog go out to the bathroom, collapse on the couch, yell at the dog for pestering you, watch t.v. then go to bed. Get up and repeat day in and day out.
Don’t bother with any walks, outings to the park or games of fetch because the dog already has a ‘big yard’ and dozens of toys to play with for entertainment. Treat your dog like an inmate. A penitentiary with plenty of books and an exercise yard should be an adequate living arrangement for years of exceptional mental health. ;-0
3. Enforce No Rules, Structure or Expectations.
Be sure not to crush little Fluffy’s spirit by actually stopping her from barking at and jumping on every guest that comes to your home. Allow Brutus to drag you wherever his heart desires when you walk him. This is especially true when Brutus just wants to “say Hi!”. Expecting your dog to actually to pay attention to you and walk nicely might stifle their exuberance.
As for treats, affection and new toys, dispense them liberally for no good reason other than how cute the look on Cujo’s face is when he barks at you.
Also, make sure you pet him and tell him everything is “ok” when he behaves that way.
While we are at it let’s apply the same philosophy to children. Hand them a candy bar or bribe with the potential of a new toy when they have a meltdown, or temper tantrum because at least it will occupy them for a while.
4. Yell at your Dog.
Anytime your dog is pestering you, getting on your nerves or doing anything other than being a couch potato, start yelling. Profanities will help, and the occasional whack on the nose for added emphasis will go a long way toward creating a cowering creature that finally learns to leave you alone.
If the above doesn’t work, just tie the dog outside so you do not have to deal with it. (see #1) Don’t bother to expend energy teaching the dog good behavior. Dog’s should just “know” how to behave properly.
5. Let Sympathy Rein.
When your dog shows hesitation, nervousness or anxiety around people or other dogs, pick him up, snuggle or stroke to reassure him it will all be ok.
Coo, coddle and dispense affection, otherwise known as “reinforcing the behavior.” This will ensure that the dog’s anxiety will worsen, but at least you will feel better when sharing the story about your poor dog that must have been abused before you rescued him.
DO NOT pull the big girl panties on, hiding your own emotional state from the dog to help it overcome past issues or lack of social skill. To do so would mean you have to act in your dog’s best interest much like a physical therapist does when they help people rehab from horrible accidents and physical limitations.
There you have it, the perfect recipe for a neurotic dog!