Tough Love is setting your dogs expectations and holding him to that no matter how cute he is or how easy it is to let him get away with it.
You need to look at your dog and think about what kind of behavior you want from him for the remainder of his life with you. This is how you get the kind of dog that you want. Don’t wait for a problem to occur before you think about the appropriate behavior that you want.
Let’s look at some examples:
- Don’t take the collar off your puppy just because he doesn’t like it. He is going to have to wear one, so he must get used to it. Have tough love.
- Not using a leash because he didn’t seem to like it the first time. He is going to have to be on a leash at some point in his life. Have tough love.
- Picking him up and not letting him interact with other dogs because of his nervousness. You do this and he will never learn how to be a dog, he will have low confidence and you are likely to have dog aggression issues in the future. Get past your nervousness and have tough love.
- Don’t allow your small puppy to jump all over you just because he is cute if this is behavior is going to be unacceptable when he gets older.
- Adding soft food to his dry food because he won’t eat. If he doesn’t like his dry food by itself, you need to try something different. He needs to learn that he needs to eat what is given to him or he will go hungry. Have tough love
- Letting him out of the crate because he whines. Buy ear plugs and have tough love.
- Petting him after he has demanded attention from you by nudging your arm, pawing, scratching down your leg or barking at you. He can have attention when you are ready and he is exhibiting the appropriate behavior. Have tough love.
So you see, Tough Love is not about having a strong hand, a loud, deep voice or a large presence. It’s about not giving in on behaviors that you find unacceptable just because it’s easier or because you want your dog to “love” you.
Having Tough Love now will help set the foundation of a good solid relationship with your dog where you have expectations, he understands them and the path to communication is a clear one. Please understand that having Tough Love doesn’t mean you can’t “spoil” your dog. It just means that he needs to understand where it is coming from.
If you have a problem with Tough Love, email me or give me a call and I’ll be happy to toughen you up a little.