Giving Affection Right



Strange as the title of this post may seem – after all we love our dogs and we want to cuddle and stroke and hug them every opportunity we get-one of the secrets to a well behaved and balanced dog is knowing when to give affection and when not.


For a dog affection is synonymous with the word reward. When you are giving your dog affection you are actually rewarding him/her. If you overdo affection or give affection at wrong times you could actually be contributing to have a disobedient, nervous, anxious or aggressive dog without knowing it.


I often hear dog owners lament about how all they have done is love and pamper their dog and all they got in return was a dog who began to attack them, or never listened to anyone and was out of control or became so protective about them that he would attack other dogs in the house the minute the owner walked in. It’s a lot like parenting really. If you reward and give affection to your children all the time and don’t create boundaries for them, discipline them or exercise them at the end of the day you will end up with kids who neither respect nor value affection and are spoilt little brats threatening to make your life hell and then again the lament “ I only loved my kids and gave them everything they wanted and look at who they have become.”


Dogs love touch and love to be given affection, just like human beings. However affection needs to be earned and it needs to be given at the right time, otherwise affection can actually become detrimental to a dog.


Here is what Cesar Millan, a dog behaviorist and in my opinion one of the greatest dog trainers in the world has to say: (


Give affection - but at the right time!Remember anytime you give affection, you reinforce the behavior preceding it. (For example if your dog has just shown fear because a car drove by and you start petting her the message you are giving her is that its good to be fearful). Reward stability. Share your love when your dog is in a calm-submissive state.


Share affection after a dog has...exercised and eaten, changed an unwanted behavior into a behavior you asked for, responded to a rule or command, or entered a calm-submissive state (is relaxed, calm, obedient and ready to listen to you).


Don't share affection when your dog is... fearful, anxious, possessive, dominant, aggressive, whining, begging, barking, or breaking a household rule.


Don't forget exercise and discipline.Prove your love by giving your dog what he or she needs: long walks; rules, boundaries, and limitations


Give your dogs as much love as you have!Give as much love as your heart can handle and then some! But please give it at the right time.