Congratulations to the 2016 Winner Gabriela Gonzales from the University of Florida

Tell TAIL Signs You’re Not the Pack Leader

October 31, 2017

Tell TAIL Signs You're Not the Pack Leader | Golden Meadows Retrievers

Dog owners are a special bunch. From the outside, it’s easy to see why people who don’t care for animals might think we’re a bit strange. We talk about them, shop for them, and bring them everywhere we go. Sometimes, we even speak to them as if they’re human.

If you haven’t experienced the delight of the human-canine bond first-hand, that can begin to look a little bit strange!

But here’s the secret: as dog owners, we know something they don’t. The bond we share with our dogs is incredibly wonderful and truly special. It more than warrants every single slightly obsessive moment — even when we’re plying a friend with photos from yet another impromptu at-home photoshoot.

There’s just one tiny problem: too much love can occasionally be a bad thing. Especially if your love for him leads you to poor training habits and bad canine discipline. Like when you pat him and tell him he’s cute right after he munches your favorite shoes. Or, if you give him “second dinner” just because you can’t resist that sweet face.

We’ve created this light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek list of flags that just may help you identify when you, too, may be trained owner, rather than a pack leader!

Shared Budget Streamlining, Because What’s Yours Is His

Spending more on your dog than you do on your own groceries or even your rent? You, my friend, have fallen victim to the sweet and soulful cuteness of a puppy who really just deserves one more heated, memory foam, cashmere and alpaca wool bed. It doesn’t really matter if he already has six, or if he never uses the six he has. He’ll look cute on it, right?

Oh — and you certainly can’t resist that adorable little necktie collar, either.

Then, there’s high-end grooming, weekly pedicures, and a matching Swarovski crystal-studded collar and leash. Well, and maybe just one more expensive new toy…

Days Off Have Gone to the Dogs

Have a vacation day available? Who needs to relax?! Vacation days are the perfect time to make your dog’s dreams come true. Whether it’s trips to the beach or road trips to the best dog parks in the country, you, dear reader, take vacation days not for yourself, but for your pup instead. You want to fill his life with just as much excitement and fun as you have yourself. Fortunately, in your eyes, spending time with your dog is that excitement and fun.

Dog-Friendly Partying ONLY

Parties?! Sure, let’s get all the dog lovers in the neighborhood together for a puppy party! A party without dogs just isn’t your thing, so you make a point of only coming if you can bring your dog along with you. And you never party with dogs who lack canine socialization skills; that’s just no fun for anyone! Who needs a club scene when you and your pup can party at the same time?

Who’s Your Commanding Pawfficer, Human?

He brings you the leash. Like a good owner, you instantly recognize that he wants to go for a walk. Of course you comply! Later on, he calls you, barking while standing in front of what you know very well just happens to be the Milk Bone cupboard. How can you resist? And then, the icing on the cake: he crawls into bed with you, but you’re in his spot. A few swift pushes with his back legs and you get the message, switching sides. These are all signs that your pup has discovered exactly how to give you commands — and you happily follow them, too!

Revolving Your Life Around His Schedule

You have an alarm set for  5 a.m. It isn’t that you need to wake up for work that early; rather, it’s because you know that’s exactly when your dog wants to say, “Good morning, world!”  You wouldn’t dream of forcing him to wait an extra 10 minutes, so you hop right out of bed. Consecutive smartphone alerts let you know when it’s time to feed him, time to go for a walk, and time to hit the sack so he has someone to cuddle up with at night. Even if a friend asks you to go somewhere, you’ll say no unless you know someone can watch your dog.

Interviewing Dog Sitters With Military Precision

Alright, so you finally acquiesced. You agreed to hit up a restaurant with your friends…now it’s time to find your dog a sitter. Your requirements aren’t that bad…you just want someone who happens to be an experienced trainer, a canine behavior specialist, a vet tech, a dog walker, a chef, and really, really fun, too.

Even though you’re only headed out for around two hours, your dog deserves to have the best two hours he’s ever had — barring time spent with you, of course. No humble classified dog sitters for you! Going away for a longer period of time? You’ll find the swankiest canine spa in the state to ensure your dog isn’t just well-cared-for, but happy, comfortable, and loved, too.

Walking BEHIND Him, Not WITH Him

You head out for a walk, and in an instant, your dog is hauling you along behind him while wheezing, panting, and puffing. Leash-pulling galore! You’re not only not directing the walk — you’re being purposefully directed to every tree, flower, person, dog, cat, squirrel, leaf in the breeze, and maybe even shadow.

Your dog has discovered that you’re the type to just go along with his joy de vivre; who needs manners? Walking along at a reasonable pace is for dogs who fail to properly train their owners.

Worse yet, when he’s ready to rest, he’s parking his furry little butt down and there’s nothing moving him for love nor money. You, my friend, are just the treat carrier and pooper scooper.

These red flags were meant to be light-hearted and funny, so enjoy each of them with a grain of salt. Nearly every dog engages in these attempts to subtly control owners every now and again. A few one-offs here and there aren’t really a problem.

That said, it is wise to be concerned if behaviors like this get out of hand. A dog who isn’t well-trained can manipulate owners, which can lead to serious behavioral problems that are not only daunting, but often dangerous, too. If you’ve been struggling to take control, a few sessions with a trainer can get you both back on track.

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