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Think You Love Your Dog? Think Again

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This is a rant.

Saw a post on a Facebook dog page, supposedly humorous, where a woman laughingly described how her dog was completely neurotic, anxious, dominant, obsessive, and could never be re-homed if necessary because he was so out of control. She said she knew they had done everything wrong with him and had made him that way. She finished "but we love him so much."

That's what made me first sad, then angry -- because this is not an uncommon situation.

So. You've turned your dog into an unhappy mess, and say you love him.

No, actually, you don't.

You're indulging your own human need to give (and receive) affection, affection, affection. It is not love to turn your dog into an unbalanced, neurotic wreck.

Love is when you care enough to honor the animal in your dog, to offer exercise, discipline, then affection. And rules, boundaries and limitations. In other words, leadership. For a dog, leadership equals love. Not overindulgence.

Does this woman realize what she's doing when she says her "beloved" dog couldn't be re-homed because of what she's turned him into? Really? You love your dog so much he'll have to be euthanized rather than re-homed? You think that's love? It's the opposite -- it's all but abuse.

Dogs rely on us for everything. Everything. Food, shelter, love, care. When you take on the care of another sentient being, your responsibility is to ensure he or she has a happy, balanced life, full of long walks, and discipline. Discipline in the form of rules, boundaries and limitations, which lets them know where they stand in their pack -- in other words, the joy of being allowed to be a dog.

Not a furry human. Not a child substitute.

As Cesar Millan once said, save me from "dog lovers."

Rant over.