Puppy Love: Can Dog Owners Love Too Much?


It’s obvious we are a pet loving, pet crazed nation. Over 67 million households in the U.S. own at least one pet. Nearly half of those pet owners own at least one puppy or dog, and some 83.3 million dogs have homes. A survey taken around Christmas time by the AKC noted that dog owners spent more money on the family dog than they did their own children!

Spending a lot of money on those that we love isn’t a huge deal, but the way we treat them can be. Often times we feel that we are showing our dog love by giving in to them and giving them everything they want. Really, we are showing them by doing this that we are not in control. This in turn, causes them to become anxious. and their bad behaviors become worse instead of better.

If we don’t maintain our top dog position in our homes and stay in control, then who will? You guessed it, the dogs. And if they take control, and assume the top dog position, they may become even more destructive, offensive, territorial, and aggressive.

As a dog trainer, dog owners often tell me that their dogs will not obey them and have become impossible to live with. A lady that I worked with last week had this same issue. She allowed her two Yorkies to sleep in her bed. One dominated over the other, became aggressive, and there was so much friction in the household no one could get any sleep. A few days before I began training with them, she decided to put both dogs in the crate at night. “That’s the first good night’s sleep we’ve ever had,” she said.

I’ve only had one training session with this family, but was able to show them where they needed to be more firm, and how to break the aggressive behavior with a little correction and obedience. I was able to get the dog to come, sit, and walk on a leash without pulling–the dog had never been trained in obedience prior to this session. Most dog’s are very intelligent and yearn to be taught and challenged. Their main goal is to please their owner and the best reward is to spend time with them.

When we love too much and give our dogs everything we think they want, they become like spoiled bratty kids. Dogs need structure, training, discipline and yes, rewards. Mostly they need you.

So, yes, do love your puppies and dogs. Love them enough to discipline and train them and then they will be a blessing to not only you, but everyone else too! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day to you, your pup, and family. How are you/ your family spending Valentine’s Day? We’d love to know!

Lisa Freeman was set free by a runaway rescue dog that she saved fourteen years ago. Since then she has rescued, trained, and rehabilitated many bully dogs. Currently she is an award-winning, author, speaker, AKC Dog Evaulator, Dog Trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist who lives in Owosso, Michigan with her loving husband, two grown sons, and three dogs. Today she specializes in obedience, pet therapy and behavioral modification. For more information click here.

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