Spoiled Rotten Dog Test
By: Kevin “The Dog Prodigy” Salem
Any reasonable expert would agree that spoiled dogs are known to manipulate, ignore, and often become very bossy. Some go as far as turning on other dogs, people or even their masters. Create that balance. So you can enjoy a spoiled AND a well-mannered dog.
There is a fine line between loving and pampering a dog. Have you ever wondered what could be the key factor in determining why you ended up with an unruly, dominant or unpredictable dog?
Be honest. You can’t possibly blame it all on your dog’s age, his breed, your inconsistency, your method, the deepness of your voice, or your busy schedule. Chances are, you’ve spoiled your dog rotten. I’ll explain every possible way people go overboard with pampering their dogs. In reality, this is how they ruin ALL of their efforts.
Here’s Something that Will Catch You Off-Guard about “Dog Owners”:
Ninety percent of their actions, decisions, reasoning, mindset, or the comments they make can be categorized as being too emotional, too irrational, or in flat out denial. If you don’t believe me, I want you to really observe any hardcore dog lover that you can find.
Think of your friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers or even someone in your family. In reality, I’m referring to, “dog people”! So be sure that you don’t skip: dog trainers, dog breeders, dog walkers, dog sitters, and yes, even vets, behavior experts, or wannabe experts who write or blog about dogs on a regular basis.
Again, someday, somewhere or somehow, one of them will write, do, or suggest something that will easily be considered as, “irrational,” “emotional” or “in denial.” As you read the rest of this chapter, things will start to make more sense.
(Unless, of course, what you read, in your opinion, is also irrational. And then you’ll get emotional on me, and that’s where I’ll be in denial. After all, I too am another dog person.) One of the key factors that makes this book stand out is I have carefully studied the owners’ day-to-day actions and mindset.
Let’s say you have the money or know the right people to hire the top dog expert on the planet. But as soon as he/she leaves, you go overboard with your spoiling—all of your effort WILL collapse right before your eyes.
Whether you are trying to obedience-train your dog, solve his behavioral issues, or just housebreak him, it will be really tough if you have a spoiled rotten brat on your hands. And for you spoilers out there, I totally understand that all you are doing is showing your love and appreciation any way you can, but, unfortunately, dogs don’t rationalize like we do.
Admit it; even some people aren’t always nice or appreciative just because you happen to be sweet and loving to them. Do you know why that is? It’s because once in a while you just have to show your “psycho” side. That’s all. (Relax. That was another joke.)
It takes more than love to build a healthy relationship and
it’s no different when it comes to our dogs.
Folks, the ingredient I’m referring to is R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It is impossible to build respect through bribery or pampering. Don’t get me wrong. Just like you, I love and adore all dogs. I probably even love them more than you do. After all, I’ve dedicated over two decades of my life to helping dogs, but I also understand and follow the principle of balance. In fact, one of my mottos in life is: Everything in moderation!
Now, let’s see how many of these questions you can relate to. Some of these will make you smile, and some will make you shake your head in disbelief. You might think that I’ve made up a few. Trust me. I don’t have the time or the space in my book to make up anything.
I’ve seen these spoiled dogs live a luxurious life and thought to myself, “Man, if I ever come back as a dog, I’d kill to be one of them.”
Important: Just because you are honest in answering these questions or come up with a disappointing score, doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is a hopeless case. And whether you make this transformation on your own or with the help of an expert, you’ll find that spoiled dogs always test their lovely owners and put up a good fight.
The More Yes Answers You Get,
the More Your Dog is Playing You Like a Fiddle!
* Does your dog sleep on the bed with you or with other family members? Yes – NO
* Do you believe that you have to mix some canned food, chicken broth, cottage cheese, or some type of sauce in your dog’s food? I mean, come on, your poor dog hardly eats or eats like a bird. It is a dog for crying out loud—not a parakeet! Yes – NO
* Do you let your dog up on the couch? Maybe you are covering it with something so that no matter how dirty, muddy, wet or smelly your dog may get, your furniture will always be protected. How about not covering it at all? After all, why mess up the décor? Yes – NO
* Do you pet and massage your dog nonstop just for being alive? The husband wouldn’t mind a back-rub or the wife would kill for a foot massage, but Roxy gets hers every night—guaranteed. Yes – NO
* Do you refuse making your dog walk, sit or lie down on hard floors, wet grass, concrete or cold ground even for a few seconds just because you know he hates it, or you think it’s really cruel to do so? Yes – NO
* Do you avoid putting your dog in the dog run, kennel, crate or play pen because they resemble an actual jail to you? Maybe you think your dog will lose his mind in it or might even have a heart attack. Yes – NO
* Do you defy logic by determining that your home is also your dog’s home? “It’s not Alcatraz, for goodness sake. This explains why your dog never cares for any boundaries or limitations. He basically has never been taught which part of your home he is allowed or not allowed. Yes – NO
* When your dog whines, barks, scratches at the door or from his crate to get your attention, do you eventually give in? This could be because he wants to come out, come in, get a treat, or beg for your food off your plate. Yes – NO
* Do you take your dog with you wherever you go? How about restricting yourself from stepping out or, even worse, from leaving town altogether? Maybe you honestly believe that your dog will think that you’ve abandoned him or don’t love him anymore. Yes – NO
* Do you cook for your dogs? After all, none of your dogs cares much for that nasty dog food. Gosh, can you believe that most people actually feed that junk to their dogs? Grrrrrrross! Whatever I get to eat, my dog eats. Got that? Yes – NO
* Do your dogs have their own couch? Heck, forget the sofa, how about their own separate room? Yes – NO
* Do you honestly believe that the only way you can get your dog to obey basic commands is if you are holding or even pretending to have a treat? Or how about do you still let your dog have the treat in the end, regardless of whether she obeys you or not? Maybe your dog sniffs the air, nudges your hand and gives you the look that reads, “Let’s see what kind of treat you’re bothering me with, woman.” Yes – NO
* Do you feel as if your dog’s stalking you from room to room? Everybody knows your pooch just hates to be left alone. You can’t even use the bathroom in peace or your dog will freak out. And who wants that. Yes – NO
* Do you always find yourself sitting on the toilet with the door wide open, staring at a panting dog right next to you? Some prefer to play with their phone and some read the newspaper on the toilet, but you always need your awesome watchdog by your feet. Yes – NO
* Do you believe leaving your dog’s collar on twenty-four hours a day will irritate him? Maybe you don’t want to mess up that fur or have him keep scratching his neck. And since he is not going for a walk or to the vet, why bother? Yes – NO
* Do you pick up your small dog every time he wants to be held? How about when you find him barking, lunging, whimpering, or when he’s getting up on his hind legs, do you drop everything and hold him like a baby? Yes – NO
* Do you feel you need to be present when your dog eats, or else he might just drop dead or starve to death? Or even worse, do you hand-feed your dog because he doesn’t like to eat from his dish? Maybe you think he’ll get so skinny that we’ll be able to count each rib. Yes – NO
* Do you let your dog snack from your plate? How about tossing him food as you cook? I’m sure your dog’s thinking, “Boy it’s fun to hang out in the kitchen because even if Mommy doesn’t accidentally drop something yummy, she’ll eventually let me have some anyway. I mean, look at me. They don’t make dogs this cute!” Yes – NO
* Do you take any vacations? If not, is it because you think your dog will have a heart attack if you leave him behind? I mean, what are we? Cold-blooded killers? Yes – NO
* When you notice your dog whining, barking, scratching nonstop at the door to win his way, do you eventually give in? This could be because he wants to come in, get out, or he HAS to see who dared to step inside the house. Yes – NO
* Do you find yourself making excuses for your dog every time he snaps and lunges when someone gets near you? Don’t ever mistake this behavior for your dog trying to protect you. Be honest. Was the other person a real threat? I seriously doubt that. Admit it. Your dog’s sending a clear message that reads: “Get away from me.” Or, “Get away from my mommy. Don’t you dare bother us or you’ll lose a finger.” Yes – NO
* Do you carry your small dog like a baby everywhere you go? Or how about in a carrier or doggie stroller? (Yes, folks, they do make such things. Trust me. You can’t make this stuff up. Yes – NO
* Do you plan to breed your dog? Is this because you want to have one of her pups? Awwww…. how cute. Let me guess. You are married to some tough guy who refuses to neuter Bubba. Smile and tell your man, “Look honey, there will be only one set of testicles in this house. Now hurry and CHOOSE!” Yes – NO
* Do you celebrate your dog’s birthdays? I’m talking about a full-blown party with all of your friends bringing their dogs to that mansion of yours. How about Halloween parties loaded with doggie costumes and organic dog treats? (Now, I just know that some of you are rubbing your chin and thinking to yourself, “Hmm…what a great idea. Thanks, Kev.”) Yes – NO
* Do you always find yourself defending your dog’s unacceptable behavior or trying to justify it? As far as you’re concerned, it can’t possibly be the dog’s fault! So, whether your dog growls, lunges, seriously bites a person or goes for the kill, you always find a way to blame someone else and rarely your dog. Yes – NO
* Do you consider your dog as one of your kids? Maybe you have not been able to have kids, or you just aren’t ready yet. Or perhaps your kids are all grown up and have moved out. So in a way, the dog is pretty much, oh, shall I say, perceived as the furry baby of your family. Yes – NO
DUM-DUM-DUM…I’ve saved the grand slam for last: I had a client once tell me that her dog didn’t care much for plain water anymore. So they figured, what the heck, let’s start adding a little juice to it. I laughed so hard that I almost dropped the phone and fell off my chair when she told me this. What’s next? He stopped sleeping on his dog bed so you went out and got him a Serta?
(Sideways Look): What Did You Name Your Dog?
Many owners overlook the name factor. Does your dog have a human name or a tough name? I’ll go over tough names first: Spike, Rocky, Bear, Max—short for Maximus, Rambo, Sampson, Mayhem, Capone, Duke, Bullet, Killer, Havoc, and, of course, Cujo. Pink, the pop singer, named her dog Fu**er. No joke. And the actor, Sean William Scott named his dog, Dude. (Yes, I’m talking about Stifler from American Pie.)
One of my clients who owned three German Shepherds named them: Chief, Prince and King. I asked him jokingly, “So what will you name the next one—GOD?” I’ve noticed that the dogs with strong names most likely are or will turn out very dominant.
Again, I’m speaking from years of experience here. You’ll also find dogs with human names very spoiled and bossy. There are many dogs out there by the name of Dave, Nikki, Bonnie or Ralphie.
I think you’ve got the message by now. It’s simple. Dogs with human names are automatically treated as babies by their owners. Sometimes it’s the parents who let the kids pick a human name for the dog. But I guess any name is better than being called fu**er. Last I heard, even Pink changed her dog’s name to Fred. (Whew. Again, you can’t make these things up.)
Just think of your friends’, relatives’ and neighbors’ dogs. You’ll notice that the ones with human names are usually very spoiled, out of control and often get away with murder.
They give a human name to a dog and then humanize the heck out of it and expect nothing to go wrong. When you really think about it, in most of these cases, it all started with the name.
That’s just it; to REALLY see a drastic change in your dog’s temperament and training response, you need to change your actions and mentality. I’m sure you’ll agree that nobody else in this world can change you.
Not your spouse, not your girlfriend, not your boyfriend, not your mom, not your dad, not your best friend…and certainly not me. The only person who truly can make that change happen is, YOU!
People influence one another in a positive or negative way all the time, but that transition still has to happen through “your own” thoughts and actions.
The good news is you can STILL give your dog most of these privileges and end up with a very obedient and balanced dog. This is because you can bend the rules and even break them once in a while, but as long as you follow the majority of them, you’ll definitely succeed.
For instance, you can still have your dog sleep on the bed and yet change his behavior for the better. One of my trainers lets all of her dogs sleep on her bed and she is the top trainer on my team.
I don’t know how she pulls it off with two Bernese Mountain dogs, but those dogs mind her just fine. It’s fair to say she’s doing something right. And here’s the amazing part: She is NOT the alpha! She is her dogs’ teacher, friend and, most important of all, their leader. Oh, this reminds me—
You Are NOT a Bitch and Not All Men Are Considered Dogs:
You are a human being and shouldn’t label yourself as an alpha dog! Unlike most dog training books and dog trainers, if you noticed, I don’t preach that you MUST become the “top-dog” or “the alpha dog.” Or, here’s another one: “Your dog needs a job.” Yeah. His job is to listen to you and not give you any grief. And I never understood trainers who advise you to bark, growl, scream like a dog, or even slam your pooch to make your point. That is absurd!
Ask yourself, who is the animal here? Now, if you really want to act like an alpha dog or become the top dog, put on a doggie costume, get on your knees, start barking and try the following:
* Urinate in every corner of your house and on your dog’s bed.
* Every time you catch your dog eliminating, run and urinate on that spot.
* Whenever you feel like it, hump your dog like a wild beast.
* Slam your dog on his back whenever you feel like it.
Oh, I almost forgot. Throw some treats on the floor and wolf down every piece like there is no tomorrow. And if your dog dares to come near it, growl, lunge and keep him away. Hey, it has to look convincing, right?
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But if you really are desperate or curious enough to mimic this kind of behavior, your poor dog just might think for a moment that poor Mommy or Daddy has finally lost it.
You see, it doesn’t matter how old, what breed, or what size your dog may be, if you have answered yes to most of these questions, you’ll HAVE TO make changes in your approach and attitude. Otherwise, you are simply wasting your time, wasting your money and ruining your dog’s true potential. It won’t even matter if you hire a big hotshot dog expert. This change has to come from within.
Let’s face it. No dog is ever born spoiled. Just like with kids, their behavior is due to the parents treating them that way.
I know many of you probably saw this coming, but this is how we ended up with a new generation of ridiculously spoiled kids. Ironically, if you can’t or don’t have any control over your kids, I’m betting that your dogs are also spoiled rotten.
I found that most dogs are intelligent but also stubborn. So once the owners pamper them to the extreme, they’ll put up a good fight as soon as they see a wishy-washy or ineffective owner trying to be the boss. That’s right. It all comes down to the owner’s mindset.
In this book, you will learn the secrets of how to become your dog’s master AND best friend. You will become a true leader and still be your dog’s buddy. Besides, anybody can scare a dog into submission and make him obey commands like a robot. But if you want a healthy relationship with your dog, you need to be firm and kind.
You’ve heard the saying, “Love is not enough!” It is the same when it comes to building a strong, healthy and balanced relationship with a dog.
I will be straightforward with you and tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear. It doesn’t really matter how well this book is written, how experienced and effective I or any other expert may be with dogs. It always starts and ends with YOU.
Now, whether your dog happens to be aggressive, protective, defiant, stubborn, or just unruly, see how many “yes” answers you’ve given after taking this test.
YOUR FINAL WAKE-UP CALL!
Admit it. Right now your dog jumps up on whomever, play-bites whenever, barks whenever, bolts whenever, gets a belly rub whenever, listens to you whenever, steals things off tables and counters whenever, gets a treat whenever, drags you on the leash wherever, chews and destroys anything he can get his teeth on and even pees, poops or marks wherever he darn well feels like.
Okay, maybe he isn’t that bad…but he snaps at you or your loved ones whenever, sleeps wherever, terrorizes the visitors whenever, or attacks your cat or your other dogs whenever. As you can see, your dog can do anything he wants!
Didn’t that feel like someone just threw a bucket of water in your face? I hope so. If not, you might want to jump in an ice cold pool and then move on to the next chapter.
As you can see, unlike many dog experts who put all of their efforts into exploring canine psychology, I needed to also focus on the “owners’ psychology”! After all, it is rarely the dog’s fault. There is a reason I brought this up at the very beginning of my book. I know that I will either gain or lose the reader from this chapter on.
Bottom line, the more you baby that dog, the more he’ll run your life for you. The choice is yours. It is your dog and your decision. But don’t forget that it is also your family, your friends and your angry neighbors who will ultimately suffer the most due to your dog’s unacceptable bad habits. So choose wisely!
Written by International Trainer and Dog Psychologist, Kevin “The Dog Prodigy”