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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Can I Give Wolfie Too Much Affection?

I am always petting Wolfie, picking him up, giving him hugs & kisses, talking to him in a high, baby voice...  Is that ok?



As dog trainers, we are asked this question a lot.  Sometimes we aren't asked this question and have to instruct our clients on the errors of their ways.  Simply put, it is possible to give your dog too much love and affection.  The problem comes down to the differences between humans and their canine companions.

As people, we love affection.  We love it when people say good things about us, we are always in need of a hug.  We comfort our small children when we are leaving with a high pitched "Oh, don't worry, daddy will be right back".  In some countries, it is custom to give kisses on the the cheeks when greeting.  Since Wolfie is so cute and cuddly, we naturally pour the hugs and kisses on him.

This is absolutely the wrong thing to do.  When we give Wolfie too much hugs and kisses, we are sending him a signal that we may not be the strong leader that will keep him safe. Remember, the very top thing that Wolfie wants in life is to feel safe.  If properly trained, he looks to us as his leader who will provide him with that safety.  As strong leaders, we are resolute, firm, calm, and consistent. Wolfie should be providing us focus, intent on receiving the proper leadership to stay safe.

If we are constantly giving Wolfie our focus with all that "hugs & kisses" stuff, we are sending him the signal that he is the boss.  If we are picking him up to cuddle, we are giving him dominance and surrendering our leadership.  We are telling Wolfie he must be the Alpha Canine Leader of the pack.  Many times this will result in bad behavior such as jumping  barking, nipping, and separation anxiety.

So the bottom line is that you can give Wolfie affection, just don't go overboard with it.  If Wolfie is a small dog, don't pick him up all the time.  He has four feet, he can walk.  For more information, please contact us at The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.

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