Anyone who’s ever watched dog behaviorist Cesar Millan knows that more often than not, it isn’t the dogs that are the problem but their humans. So it should come as no surprise when Rory Cowlam, aka Rory the Vet, told Country Living, “It’s lovely that people care so much about their animals, however, it leads to a large part of the behavioral issues that we see in pets these days. We are seeing an absolute behavior pandemic in our dogs, and the issue is the owners.”
Most pet parents want the best for their pups, so what should they be doing to keep their dogs happy? “The piece of advice I always give to new owners is to be the relaxed parent,” Rory explained, noting that it’s vital to expose dogs to all sorts of situations.
“Take your puppy to the pub and pass them around your friends. You don’t need to feel constantly nervous that your dog is going to do something wrong. They feed off your nervousness and anxiety.”
This is also true of sheltering your pets during loud events, like thunderstorms and fireworks displays. The more you fuss and wring your hands at the noise, the more they feed off of your stress and anxiety.
Pet Parenting Tips
In addition to treating dogs like children, there’s another common mistake that many of us make, and that’s picking our dogs up when other dogs approach us on a walk.
“Don’t be that person,” Rory stresses. “Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that big dog is more friendly than your dog. It’s about being relaxed as a pet parent because so many people are really highly strung about their pets, and unfortunately this will then pass on to the dog.”
Monkey See, Monkey Do
So, if you don’t want your four-legged friend to overreact or become too sensitive to situations, quit fussing and work on dog training for both of you instead. If you can’t afford training sessions, there are plenty of great books on the subject or video tutorials to follow. Another terrific source for information is your own family vet. Regularly working with your pet is one of the best things you can do for its health and happiness.
Now, get out there and live life to the fullest with Fido or Dexter in tow!