Pampered Pooch or Spoiled Rotten Dog?

We can agree that as dog lovers, we can honestly say that we love our dogs and do our very best to provide the very best life for them when it comes to their environment, mental and physical condition. However, where do we draw the line between pampering our pups and turning them into dirty rotten, spoiled canine scoundrels?

Does your pooch live a pampered life that enables them to be a Canine Good Citizen or do they require more structure and support in being the Best Canine They Can Be?

Does your pooch live a pampered life that enables them to be a Canine Good Citizen or do they require more structure and support in being the Best Canine They Can Be?



Many of us regard our dogs as our furry children and we want to provide the best life possible for them. I’ll admit that if given a choice of how I’ll spend my last resources, they go towards our dogs (and our cat’s) care. They will eat better than us if it comes down to that! Ialso ensure that they have the best bedding and other comfy spots throughout the house. We provide them with quality exercise and mental stimulation in equal balance because both are equally important. They are able to enjoy cuddle time with us on furniture and we take naps and sometimes sleep together at night.  I remember when I would frequent my favorite feed store, the owner would always tell me that *if* he believed in reincarnation, he would want to return as one of my pets.

By some standards, they would be considered spoiled rotten, right?

Well, not maybe.

See, one of the things about living with dogs is that, in the grand scheme of things, what it really boils down to is who’s training who.

Crazy, right?

Well, lets back up a bit.

I stated that our dogs regularly enjoy cuddle time with us on furniture, eat the best food and nap/sleep with us at night. All of these statements are true…however, they DO have conditions that must be met in order to enjoy these luxuries.

As humans, we get to make a conscious decision as to what behaviors we allow and special privileges we are comfortable allowing our dogs to enjoy with us. I have pet sitting clients that have no problem allowing their dogs on furniture or lounging on the bed in their absence. I also have clients that do not allow their beds on furniture, opting instead to provide cozy dog beds and/or designated areas where they can chill just as comfortably. It really boils down to personal preference. Our dogs aren’t as picky as we are.

But I digress. Back to the topic at hand…pampering our pooches without ‘training’ them to engage in undesirable behaviors due to a lack of expectation and consistency on our part.

Not sure if your pet is pampered or a spoiled rotten? Here are some signs that your dog may be training you (i.e. spoiled)!

  • Does not obey basic commands that have been taught with consistency (sit, down, stay, come, off, leave it)
  • Ignores you regularly when called to come
  • Is rude with guests (jumping, mounting, marking on furniture or people)
  • Growls or nips at your or guests seeking attention
  • Demands attention without letting up when you are busy
  • Pushy behavior (nosing or bumping humans for attention, counter surfing, rushing out of the door without ‘checking’ in first)

There are many other behaviors that indicate that your dog may be ‘spoiled’; these are just a few.

So, how exactly can you transform your dirty rotten scoundrel into an indulged yet respectful member of your household?

Set boundaries. Your dog doesn’t run the pack, YOU do. If you don’t, you should begin changing this ASAP.

Here are just a few ways you can teach your dog to become a member of your pack in a way where YOU are the pack leader and a great pack leader at that!

  • Teach your dog basic commands (sit, come, stay, off, down). Practice over and over so there is no question as to whether your dog understands the behavior you are asking. Then practice some more. Integrate into your daily routines so that it becomes as automatic as breathing.
  • Ask your dog for a particular behavior before giving treats or feeding meals.
  • Speaking of meals…feed your pup at designated times. Having food available at all times will diminish it’s value (and possible create a picky eater) and makes training more difficult. Most of my pet sitting clients feed adult dogs twice per day and puppies three times per day.
  • Before allowing dogs on furniture, have them ‘ask permission’ by waiting until you invite them to join you. We accept sits, puppy dog eyes, downs…any behavior that is an indicator that your dog is waiting patiently as long as it’s not rude or pushy behavior.
  • When leashing up for walks, wait until dogs are somewhat calm (what dog doesn’t get excited over the prospect of walkies?!)
  • Have dogs sit and wait for the OK to be released at door ways and when out walking, at intersections and stop signs.

Providing structure and setting boundaries for your furry family member benefits everyone. Allowing your dog to be spoiled can cause problems as they get older such as making vet visits difficult, aggressive behavior and unpleasant (or no) visits from family and friends. Who wants to deal with that hassle?

Having dogs as pets should be a source of pleasure and enjoyment, not stress and embarrassment. Ensuring that your pooch doesn’t fall into the category of spoiled rotten can easily be avoided if simple boundaries are put in to place consistently. You too can have a pampered pooch instead of a doggie terror!


  1. Katie at Meadowia says

    As an expert in pet care, I can confidently say that there’s nothing wrong with treating our furry friends a little extra – after all, they deserve all the love and pampering we can give!

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