02 Dec 2009, Posted by Sensei Joseph in Sensei Joseph's Blog, 0 Comments

To Spoil is To Ruin


SPOIL – from Latin spoliare to strip of natural covering.

to impair something: to damage or ruin something in such a way that a quality such as worth, beauty, or usefulness is diminished.

By not taking your dog for regular walks, you could be on the path to high vet bills as this necessary exercise keeps them in shape and good health. The other side of this is nutrition, feeding a quality diet is the best pet health insurance.

to harm somebody by overindulgence: to harm the character of somebody, especially a child, by repeated overindulgence.

By giving them only what they want, and not what they need, you are creating an ungrateful dog. Less likely to listen and perform commands when asked.

to lose valuable or useful qualities usually as a result of decay

No one ever got better at something by doing it less.

to damage seriously: to impair the quality or effect of.

This is just spoiling over time, going back is very difficult.

When reading these definitions it becomes clear that spoiled is not how we want to describe our dogs. A better word may be lucky or fortunate, defined as: having success or advantage, especially when it is unexpected. When dogs are described as spoiled, this just means the dog is rewarded for acting in their own self interests instead of that of the owners.  For instance, only doing a command long enough to get the treat and walk away, in this case we need switch the dogs perspective from doing the command for the treat to doing the command for you. Another instance is begging at the table and the humans give in.  Instead make them stay on their bed well away from the eating area, and if they stay through the whole dinner then at the end you can reward them with a nice treat. This way you are showing them how to get rewarded, not them showing you. At the Dog Dojo we aim to help people get perspective on the importance of teaching your dogs how to be a member of our family and the community.

Our dogs are truly a reflection of us in many ways. If we give up easily then so will they. If you are scared, they will protect you. If you are impatient, they are stubborn. In order to remedy many behaviors for a dog we usually must look inward and change our perspective as to understand the problem. It is all about how you want to be looked at through the dogs eyes.. A smart, strong, leader that makes things easy, fun and rewarding. Or an unsure, easily frustrated family member that causes confusion and needs to be guided or influenced throughout the day.

We are able to influence our dogs and they are able to influence us. This influence is inevitable, so we must prepare ourselves and know how to manage problem behaviors, and as well as be able to provide guidance to basic manners and rules of interaction. It is important also to be aware of the various stages of the dogs life in order to maximize their learning and potential to understand our world and how best to behave in it.

The point of this article is to relay the idea that we are the ones who ultimately help determine the way our dog sees the world. If we don’t assume the responsibility to teach our dogs, they will still learn how to get by in this world, but you may not like the way they choose to do it.

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