Probably the most common reason people get dogs is for companionship, and they do make great companions. They’re always there for you. They give you unconditional love. They endlessly listen to your problems. They seem to make everything better for you, and you assume you’re making everything better for them.
But that is likely not the case.
Though your pampered pooch certainly has everything he desires, he lacks the one thing every dog needs to feel safe, comfortable and truly happy: a leader that bestows rules to follow. Dogs need structure, guidance and discipline.
When you don’t give your dogs structure and teach them boundaries, you force them to try to figure this big, scary world out on their own. This causes many dogs to resort to their natural instincts, which can result in behavior problems.
Some of these behavior problems include:
Resource guarding (of food, toys, space, etc.)
Aggression (serious growling and even biting can occur)
Loving your dog too much can be a serious problem, but there is an easy fix.
A Time to Love
The best way to love your dogs is to give them a disciplined life. Give them rules to follow. You can still show love and affection, just make sure to show it at the right time. If you give affection at the wrong time, such as when the dog is breaking a rule, you reinforce the behavior.
Show affection only when your dog has obeyed a command, exercised, eaten or is calm. Never show affection when your dog is displaying any undesirable behaviors, such as whining, anxiety or aggression.
Love mixed with discipline and guidance is the real way to your dog’s heart, and it will help deepen your bond.