Do Dogs Know When They're Spoiled?

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A person who is "spoiled" is someone who is said to be self-entitled, indulged, and pampered to the point that they no longer are in touch with reality. It's hard to apply this to dogs, as they don't really know how to compare being "spoiled" or "not spoiled" like a person might be able to. Still, a spoiled dog could be one that is pampered or indulged to the point of being unhealthy (too many treats?) or forcing the humans to tolerate bad behavior (jumping up on guests with no consequences?).

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A spoiled dog may get too many treats to be healthy.

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Symptoms of a spoiled dog

Your dog probably does realize that you love him to bits thanks to the food you dish up, the walks, the playtime, and your other canine care routines. Still, spoiled dogs aren't ideal, in part because too much in the way of treats, toys, or relaxed rules can lead to health and behavioral problems. For example, do you give your dog treats multiple times a day just because you're standing by the treat jar? Do you allow your dog to bark as much as she likes even though the neighbors have complained?

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Giving too many treats

This habit is a hard one for both new and seasoned pet owners alike. All of us want to reward our dog for being a good boy, but once the training phase has ended and your need for that pocketful of bacon has passed, it's smart to cut back on the treats you hand over. The reason is because these tasty nuggets can contain too many calories, which may lead to obesity in your pet. A good rule of thumb is to dole out treats so that they make up 10 percent of your pup's daily diet.

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Dog training tips

Spoiling your dog by allowing problematic habits to continue will only deepen the pattern. If you're trying to change the behavior of a spoiled dog, consistency is key. For example, insisting that your dog sit when you enter the room and ignoring her barking or closing the curtains when the mail is due are two techniques. It can be scary when a dog jumps up on people to meet and greet them, especially if your pooch is sizable. Dogs continue this behavior if it's not trained out of them. The same holds true for a canine who's allowed to bark at the mailman or other visitors to your home.

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  • Make it safe:​ If you don't want your dog in the laundry room where he'll chew those Tide pods, shut the door or put up a puppy gate so he's safe.

  • Offer deliciousness:​ High-value treats are better than store-bought bits, so save those special ones (like cheese, chicken, or liver) for the hard work of training.

  • Get smart at home​: Don't leave paté and crackers at dog level or shake your slipper at him in a playful way, as both habits may prompt him to hoover the people food and destroy your slippers.

  • Remember, he's an animal:​ Does it seem like your pet is trying to be bad on purpose? Dogs are simply out for happiness and love, so do your best not to attribute human feelings to him.

  • Stay calm:​ Keep your cool and don't be tempted to yell at or strike your dog. It's frustrating to train a pet, but positive reinforcement is the best path to take.

  • Spoil the smart way:​ If you're dying to treat your dog to something extra fun, offer a healthy frozen treat on a hot day, take your pup for a swim at a dog pond or stream, or give him a massage. He's a good boy, after all!

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