There are millions of pages online about bad dog behavior, but what about bad dog OWNER behavior? Here are six things that bad owners do and they probably don’t even know it.
If you spot yourself in any of these, it might be time for a change.
1. You treat your dog like a baby.
We all love our Morkies a ton, but sometimes it gets a little weird. You know the type of owner I mean: her Morkie’s name is embroidered on her pillows, and there are dog toys of every kind, scattered from kitchen to bedroom to bath. The dog is so spoiled that she would do well on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras.’
If you want to act silly like that, it’s ok. But what about the effect you have on your Morkie? She is a dog, and she wants you to treat her like a dog. It’s in her DNA. Despite how different they seem, your Morkie and a wolf in the wild are closely related and have the same interests: running, sniffing, chasing, barking, rolling in bad smells, and more.
Like the wolf, your Morkie is a pack animal and needs structure and discipline to feel fulfilled, and not frustrated. Your dog wants and deserves your affection, but he also deserves training and exercise. And to be treated like a dog.
2. Your dog is under-exercised and bored.
If your Morkie has bad habits like chewing or barking too much, it could be a cover for something else: he’s bored. Animals have pent up energy, and it needs to be burned off with activity.
That activity includes plenty of exercise even for toy dogs.
It also includes mental stimulation in the form of training and games.
Dogs have had jobs for centuries, from rounding up cattle to hunting or hauling. Even the little Yorkshire Terrier started out earning his way as a ratter in the mines and factories of Victorian England.
Dogs get frustrated if they can’t meet their instincts, and that’s when they start to show signs of aggressive or bad behavior.
So give your dog a job. Two good long walks a day, sniffing out the neighborhood, is a good start; or tossing a toy to fetch, or learning a trick. These are all ways to use up his excess energy and engage his brain.
3. You're acting like your dog's playmate, not pack leader.
If you’ve watched the Dog Whisperer or read any of Cesar Millan’s books, you know how adamant he is that:
• Dogs are pack animals.
• Someone will be the leader of the pack (the alpha dog).
• It better be you.
You’ve just abdicated being the pack leader, and now you’re the follower. Your dog is calling the shots, not you. Instead of following your dog’s lead, make it clear that play begins when she is calm and responsive, and you are ready.
As Cesar Millan reminds us, “Being a pack leader is not a part-time occupation; it’s all the time.”
Being a pack leader does not mean using aggressive, dominant behavior. It simply means you’re in (calm, controlled) charge.
Follow the example of the mother dog. Mother dogs eat before feeding the puppies. They don’t allow puppies to jump on them, and they make it clear when they need some alone time. Take some leadership lessons from the mother dog.
4. You're inconsistent with your dog.
Sometimes you let him jump up on the couch, then you don’t. You have no established daily routine.
You don’t use the same commands, and instead, try to talk to your dog in full sentences. Then you’re surprised when the dog doesn’t follow instructions.
Dogs love routine, and they respond best when they can anticipate what’s coming.
5. Instead of teaching your dog, you punish bad behavior.
When you don’t have the patience to teach your dog proper behavior, chances are you end up frustrated and punishing your dog. Physical punishment is ALWAYS wrong, and it will always result in the loss of trust between you and your dog.
6. You're tense and nervous around your dog.
Because they can sense so much about us, dogs know if we are tense, angry, tired, nervous often better and before we know it ourselves.
Dogs communicate with you and other dogs through hundreds of non-verbal signs, including reading your body language, tone, facial expressions, scent, and much more.
When they’re upset, dogs have two primary responses: fight or flight. If they’re thrown off by your jangled nerves, then chances are the answer will be “fight.” Your Morkie may become aggressive, whiny, bark too much or even nip and bite.
Thank you so much for this article.I am a disabled, elderly lady who was given my fourth Yorkie as my 80th birthday present -she is now almost three years old.
I have owned Yorkies for over forty years and this one will be my last. I realise that I am spoiling her – too many treats! So I have put her on a diet and am refusing to take notice when she begs for titbits when I am eating – so far so good. She just goes into her basket and waits for me to finish. It is difficult when ones dog is so sweet natured, loving and affectionate. But your article has reminded me that I am ‘Pack Leader’ but am also responsible for the health and wellbeing of my Yorkie – so I shall have to remind myself daily – I can and do forgive her anything, but I mustn’t ‘give’ her everything she wants!
Jilly, thanks so much for sharing!