I already know the answer to that one… Does everyone else tho? It seems that it is the most baffling of statements to some of the dog owners. If you love your dog, then naturally you are a good owner… right?

WRONG! Love does not automatically make you a good dog owner….

Being smart, responsible and sometimes firm in your actions makes you a good dog owner. Feeding, loving and cuddling your dog does not mean you are dog owning material. There is so much more to owning a dog than just giving it love and attention.

Just this morning I was once again confronted by a FaceBook post filled with doggy destruction and it said “Bad dog!” I decided for once to not respond since my replies can and will get extremely heated when I see post of this sort. Why is the dog bad? Did he do something wrong? Was it the dogs fault? Or did the owner have any hand in the dog’s actions? Was it preventable? If yes, how? If not, why not? So many questions come to mind when seeing posts like that… The very first one being “Don’t you love your dog?” And almost instantly I realize that the first reply will always be “Of course I love my dog! He/she means the world to me!” Which makes me think to myself “If you love your dog as much as you say, then why do you not protect him?” Why do you think it is funny if he eats your coffee table? Why do you boast his achievements of destruction in public and call him a bad dog when you should in fact be doing something to prevent him/her from destructing to begin with? Why are you not being a reliable and responsible owner and preventing your dog from harming himself?

Rule number 1 of owning dogs, any dog, regardless of the breed is and always will be:

“If my dog is showing unwanted behavior, what am I doing wrong!”

A dog is NEVER bad! What he/she shows you in actions is what you have let grow in your dog to begin with. It does not matter in what situation this happens. It can be in training your dog, family situations, walking your dog, playing with your dog and what have you not. Any and all behaviors shown to you by your dog are behaviors that you have either allowed, or fed, or ignored. Let me clue you in on something… a bit of information that you might not have about your dog… A dog is a dog! It is not a human being with emotions like ours. It does not reason like we do. It acts out of consequence and nothing more. Every action has a reaction and that is what builds your dog up to what it becomes. Action and consequence is what it is all about. Why did the dog eat your sofa? Because you let him! Why did he gnaw a hole in the wall of the living room? You let him… Why did he empty the trash all over the kitchen floor? You let him… Why did he eat your socks, shoes, prada bag, dining room rug, remote control, iPhone… YOU LET HIM!!!

So the question then becomes: Why did you let him? There are so many ways to prevent your dog from destruction yet most fail miserably. Where are the rules and regulations that your dog needs to become a healthy and happy dog? Where is the love? Why do people keep putting their dog in situations where it gets free reign over its own actions and setting their dog up for failure but when it does fail the first words out of the owners mouths are “BAD DOG!” It is so extremely easy and simple to prevent this failure to occur to begin with so why are so many owners lacking and ignoring what is staring them right in the face? Most opt out the easy way and dump the dog at the shelter with a label of being destructive… why? You made a commitment to the dog, he made one to you, so now see it through and be the owner you should be! Be responsible and teach your dog limits and rules. If he is destructive when you leave the house, you crate the dog to save it from itself! Now, I can already hear the bleeding heart section go “OH NO!!! Crating is mean and evil! I do not want to sit in a crate so why would I put my dog in one!” Let me clue you in on another thing! You are not a dog! You have a mind that you can use to know what you should or should not do. Your parents raised you through action and consequence, by teaching you what is allowed and what is not. So why not pay that very same courtesy to your dog? Teach it! Give it rules and boundaries!  You do not want to end up at an emergency veterinarian because your dog ate something it shouldn’t have and now it is lodged somewhere in its intestines, costing you a lot of money and the dog a lot of pain. Why is it that when it comes to people we are plenty quick to set rules and guidelines yet when it comes to dogs these very same rules and guidelines fail miserably!

You say you love your dog? Then show it! Teach it the right way, crate it if needed, give it a set of rules and regulations that must be adhered too. Do not post your destruction on FaceBook, laughing about how your dog managed to take apart half of your house as a one dog demolition team because trust me when I tell you, IT AIN’T FUNNY! It is sad and painful to see as a dog owner how another dog owner claims to love their animal yet does absolutely nothing to back up that love…

Stop blaming your dog and start taking responsibility for your actions as owner, or rather, the lack of actions.

You love your dog? Then you should protect it from any and everything, including itself! This is the task you have taken on the day you opened your door for the dog to enter your house. Take care of him in all ways that matter. Love is not only hugs and kisses, it is being responsible in each and every way that your dog needs. This means hugs, kisses, crating, correction and reward. TEACH your dog what it is to be a GOOD OWNER instead of taking the easy way out and blaming the dogs actions on the dog when in fact they should have been blamed on you, as an owner, to begin with!

Alice Mckenzie.


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