We love our dogs, we think they are the best and we want to give them the best lifestyle, feed them the best dog food brands in India and only let them play in the safest play area. But all that protection may turn to overprotection and you may not realise when you become an overprotective dog parent.
We know you don’t do it intentionally and it’s hard to tell when you’ve switched from being protective to overprotective. Here are 8 signs that you are an overprotective dog parent.
1. You always keep them in front of your eyes
It’s okay to keep an eye on your dog when they are a little pup. They don’t know the rules yet and they are learning everything for the first time. They are small and can get into all sorts of trouble if you don’t keep a watchful eye.
The problem arises when you feel you must keep them in front of your eyes even after they have become an adult. They know the rules and they can take care of themselves in the house. By keeping a watch on them all the time, they understand that you don’t trust them and that really affects their confidence.
2. You Never Keep Them Alone
Whenever you have to run errands, you make sure that your dog is supervised by someone you trust. This is completely understandable if your dog is a puppy but as they grow older, they learn how to take care of themselves for a few hours.
If we never let them stay alone, we increase the risks of separation anxiety.
3. You don’t let them play with other dogs
It’s one thing to not let them play with aggressive dogs or not let them play because they are aggressive, but it’s another thing to not let them play because:
- You don’t trust your dog/the other dog with their own instincts
- You are afraid the other dog is sick or not taken care of
Dogs are resilient and they know the rules of dog play better than you do. If you have a well-rounded dog, just let them play with other dogs. In fact, many animal behaviourists argue that puppies should get to play with the big dogs. Big dogs teach manners and play rules. It grooms them to be good adult dogs in the future.
4. You Treat Them Like Babies
Your two-year-old dog is an adult and they should be treated as such. If you make a fuzz every time they fall or if they vomit once in a blue moon, you are treating them like babies.
As we said earlier, they are strong and they can handle themselves if they have a fall. They vomit once in a while and it’s nothing to worry about.
5. You Keep Them On A Short Leash
Yes with dogs, safety always comes first but they need to be able to sniff around and explore. They can’t do it if you are hovering over them all the time.
If you have a reactive dog, it is normal, even advisable, to keep them on a leash but you can keep that leash loose especially if no one is around. Let them sniff, let them explore without being the referee all the time.
6. Reprimand Them From Their Natural Instincts
There are some things that dogs do because they are dogs. It doesn’t harm them nor does it harm you but we reprimand them for it because it’s unnatural to humans. These habits include:
- Biting their paws
- Sniffing their behind
- Sniffing another dog’s urine/faeces
- Grooming themselves
- Scratching their ears
Dogs aren’t human and therefore they can’t understand why you reprimand them for it. Of course, it’s important to note if a situation is going out of control (like if they are licking their paws sore) but otherwise we need to let our dogs be dogs.
7. Not Take Them To New Environments
The more they explore the more rounded they will be as dogs. As pet parents, we must take them to new places and let them explore – let them be dogs. If you don’t take them to new places because you are too afraid they will react poorly, you are being overprotective.
A dog that has never seen anything outside their home and park is going to be way more reactive around cars, trucks, waves of the ocean etc.
8. You Don’t Trust Your Dog
If you love your dog, you need to show them that you trust them. Dogs cannot understand love without trust and if you do all the above things, you show them that you don’t trust them. This does affect your relationship with them.
It is important to understand your dogs and their limitations and take the necessary precautions to keep them safe. But you must also let your dog be a dog.
So, are you an overprotective dog parent? If you are, you need to find ways to take a step back so that your dog can gain the confidence she needs.