Dog Owner’s Guilt
Dog owner’s guilt can often get in the way of doing what is best for your dog. Social pressure from friends and family make it even harder. As an owner, your number one priority is to be an advocate for your dog at all times. Many dog owners feel guilty; you are not alone.
Crating a dog is the easiest way to get some piece of mind when you are not home or busy with other things. Dogs are den animals and feel safe and secure when crate trained. Dogs will sometimes self-crate for a quiet place to rest, but when dog owner’s guilt kicks in, crating starts to represent punishment.
If your pup lazes on the couch when you are away, then there is no problem. It is more likely that they are doing one or more of the following: pacing, barking out the window, chewing destructively, eliminating on the floor or ingesting toxic substances. Alternatively, dogs left outside are not exercising. Self-stimulating behavior such as running the fence line, chasing, barking and digging all lead to frustration and stress for your dog.
Meeting New Dogs and People
Your dog does not need to meet every dog and person you come across, in fact, it is better if they do not. One of your jobs as an owner is to stop uninvited people from approaching your dog. Dogs that lack confidence or are nervous become more so when a stranger comes into their personal space. Overexcited dogs will become more reactive and frustrated if they expect to stop and meet everyone who passes.
Dog owner’s guilt can kick in when neighbors ask if dogs can meet or if they can pet your dog. Worrying about what others think can cause owners to put their dog into situations they are not ready to handle appropriately.
Friends and Family
Pressure from friends and family to let your dog break rules is hard to withstand. Clear communication is essential for your dog, but many people regularly send mixed messages. When friends and family interact with your dog, they can unintentionally reward behaviors you do not want. Think about the energy your guests are bringing into your dog’s space. If it is overwhelming it may be best to put your dog up until company settles in.
Everyone has that one friend or family member who will never follow rules around the dog. For visitors that want to rile your dog up, your best option may be to keep them from interacting. Your dog needs to trust that you have the situation under control. Regardless of what others think, you are your dog’s protector. Let go of dog owner’s guilt and focus on doing what is in your dog’s best interest. You will have a happier and healthier relationship for doing so.