We all know there’s no such thing as “loving your dog too much,” but that doesn’t give an excuse to be overprotective in an unhealthy way. Many dog parents –myself included- are so protective of their dogs that they become extremists, worrying about every move their dog makes.
If you are an overprotective pup parent, you may need to hear these 10 reminders.
1. Your Dog Will Be OK
Your dog will be OK.
Dogs are resilient animals, designed to withstand a multitude of threats. Many pup parents spend countless hours worrying about their dog’s health, whether it be for sane reasons or not, and this allows them to forget the fact that dogs are animals.
Before you get upset, listen. Dogs are animals. Dogs originated from the wild, and have bodies and instincts designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, famine, injuries, and other dangerous situations. This doesn’t mean every dog should fend for themselves, but acting as though the dog is a fragile baby for its entire life is also unhealthy.
Lower your hackles, and remove the bubble wrap. Let your dog be a dog!
2. Not Everything Is Going To Hurt Your Dog
Not everything is going to hurt your dog, despite what you may think. Yes, there are undeniable circumstances in which you should be concerned about your dog’s health (ingesting dangerous materials, bodily harm, etc.), but constantly worrying about your dog’s safety may be hindering his ability to socialize. Which actually puts your dog in greater danger.
By keeping your dog on a short leash, and not allowing them to socialize properly or expose themselves to various objects or circumstances, you are hindering your dog from developing properly. By not allowing your dog to understand certain situations, he may danger himself in the future due to lack of knowledge.
For example, if you do not allow your dog to meet and approach strange dogs properly, he may approach an aggressive dog in the future and face attack, or cause another dog to be aggressive.
3. Not Everyone Is Out To Get Your Dog
As a pit bull parent, this is one I struggle with.
For all bully breed parents out there, this one’s for you! Yes, there are people who will dislike your dog, but there are also people who will love your dog, and people who will be indifferent. If you are always concerned about other’s opinions, you will find yourself constantly paranoid, and perceiving other’s facial expressions improperly. What you think is a glare, may be someone thinking about an uncomfortable situation completely unrelated to your dog.
As well, if someone removes their dog from the situation, it may be because they are concerned about their dog’s behavior, not yours. I find myself offended quite often by other’s leaving the beach or the park when I arrive, failing to consider their motives other than “my dog looks scary.”
4. Your Dog Is A Dog, Not A Baby
Most parents forget this one!
Your dog is a dog, not a human. No, I’m not saying your dog doesn’t have feelings, but I am saying that he is not a baby. Babies are fragile, and must be tended to every second of every day. They rely solely on their parents for survival, and can’t even use the washroom by themselves. What’s so great about babies again?
Dogs need to be supervised as well, and you should always make sure to meet their basic needs. However, this does not mean your dog needs to be treated like an infant. Let your dog do dog things, and take those ridiculous clothes off of him.
5. Your Dog Is An Adult, Not A Puppy
Once a dog reaches the age of two, he is no longer a puppy. Unfortunately, many pup parents ignore behavioral issues during this stage of their dog’s life, believing that they will “grow out of it.” Sadly, this is not the case.
Behavioral problems need to be addressed as soon as they arise, and training must be maintained at any life stage. Just because your dog is a puppy in your eyes, his poor manners are not excused. This is also the time to stop pretending that your dog needs you to cater to his every desire.
Stop treating your adult dog like a puppy and lay down some solid ground rules.
6. Not All Other Dogs Are Untrained Monsters
Your dog may be well behaved, but so are many others. It may be hard to believe this, but there are a lot of decent pet parents out there, who train their dogs well. Immediately assuming that all dogs other than your own are misbehaving mongrels is not only rude, but may harm your dog’s chances at socialization.
You should always exercise caution when introducing an unknown dog to your pup, but give them and their parents the benefit of the doubt.
You may be pleasantly surprised!
7. Not All Other Dog Parents Are Useless
Despite what you may read on the internet, or hear over the news, not all dog parents are uneducated and useless. Constantly hearing about neglect and abuse cases can have a serious effect on how you perceive other pet parents. Often times, you may find yourself judging too harshly, purposefully looking for mistakes.
This is when you should reevaluate yourself, and be sure that you are providing the best care for your own dog. You may be projecting your feelings onto someone else, which isn’t fair to them. In most cases, dog parents are doing the best they can with the resources they have.
If you have reason to believe that a dog is being neglected or abused, make a call to your local animal control or SPCA.
8. You Are Not The Dog Master, And That’s OK.
You are not a dog master, nor will you ever be one. But that’s perfectly OK!
There is no such thing as a dog master, despite what some may believe from television shows or magazines. There are only people who better understand dog behavior. Dogs are animals, and can be unpredictable at times. Whether we believe we understand them or not, they will always surprise us.
Try not to obsess over what you don’t know about your dog, and do your best to gain as much knowledge as possible on the subject. Research his behavior, and how you can correct it in a positive way. Don’t beat yourself up for not making progress on the first try.
9. You Are Going To Make Mistakes
You are not a perfect dog parent, because no one is. You will make mistakes, you will mess up, and your dog may suffer for it. Whether it be switching to a food he’s allergic to, or putting him in an uncomfortable situation, you will let your dog down. No, you are not a bad parent.
Because you will make mistakes, and probably often within the first year of parenthood, it’s important to understand how to recover from them. Learn from your mistakes, and create a system that helps you and your dog heal as well.
If you make a mistake regarding socialization, quickly correct it with a positive socialization experience. If you accidentally make your dog sick, visit your local vet, or whip up some home remedies to help him feel better.
10. Your Dog Will Love You No Matter What
Your dog loves you and he always will. You’re his favorite person in the whole world!
No matter how many mistakes you make, or how many long nights you work, your dog will forgive you. All he wants is for you to be happy and to spend time with him.
Take a break from being an overprotective parent, and have some fun with your dog! It’s the little things that will make your relationship stronger.
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