I’ve heard “My dog is spoiled” in regard to a new toy, chew or food. Or because I feed my dogs human grade food, they are spoiled. A dog is spoiled at Christmas because he got a new toy. A dog is spoiled because once in a great while he gets something added to his dry, dead kibble. Really? Seriously?
Now in defense of those who use the word spoiled, they really mean “loved” and I get that. But for some, it’s spoiling their dog to buy a more expensive dog food, “yikes” is all I can say.
Our dogs and cats and all animals are living, breathing, thinking, intelligent and emotional beings. They deserve to be comfortable, to be taught how to live in our human world, be treated with kindness and compassion and be given the best food and care that you can afford.
I have two small dogs, I would have 6 if I could, but in reality, I can’t afford that many animals. I feed my dogs several different freeze dried raw foods, organic meats, frozen raw food, whole food supplements, raw bones and more. They can and do eat anything and everything, I rotate the mixes, the proteins, the veggies each meal. Basically they eat like a dog should, varied like we do. Is this spoiling my dogs? No, it’s just feeding them a specie appropriate diet. Is giving them a raw bone every couple of days spoiling them? No it’s cleaning their teeth, giving them the nutrients that they need from bone, cartilage and meat.
My dogs’ daily needs are on my schedule every day. I think about what they need in terms of enrichment and exercise and also mine. They get at least one walk, off leash sometimes, for 1-2 hours a day. My schedule is very flexible now, but there have been times in my life that I worked 12-14 hours a day. It wasn’t easy then, but I always put the dogs as a priority. Because if I didn’t I would have behavioral problems barking, chewing, anxiety and more. So whether it’s throwing the Frisbee or ball, going to the dog park, walking, biking or hiking, it’s important to the dog. My dog’s needs are met, so therefore they are very well behaved dogs, is that spoiled, meeting their exercise needs?
Mick & Romeo running on the Oregon beaches. Ok, I’ll give you this one, this is a privileged life!
I have accommodations in the motorhome for my dogs. One is a box in front of the bed so they can jump on the bed. Second is a box next to the passenger chair so they can get into their bed in the chair. Those are the 2 places that they can be. Third place they can be is outside, where they a place to lie on. So they get to decide where they want to hang out. Their beds are on my bed, on the side. So is this spoiled? My dogs need covers, is it spoiling them to give them a blanket?
I carry treats on me on each walk. I have a little bag that swings over my shoulder that carries treats, pick up bags, pepper spray and an extra leash. I grab this for all walks, so yes; I have treats always with me when out and about with my dogs. Why? Well because there’s always something that you can reward. The dogs do their trail tricks, Rock, Tree, Walk it. They get treats, and they think this is just fabulous. We practice recalls (on leash and off). We practice ignoring other dogs, ignoring a cat on a leash, a barking dog, a road runner, a bunny and more. There’s always a training opportunity and it’s just fun, so why not have a fun and interactive walk with your dog. Am I spoiling my dogs for learning and for keeping focused on me?
Recently I rewarded Mick for coming to me from a dog that was lunging at us. The dog’s owner said something to the effect that I was bribing Mick. Well it wasn’t a bribe, because I rewarded Mick when he got to me, also my dog calmly and quickly came to me and I gave him a treat. Meanwhile the other dog was barking and lunging at us. So hell yea, I’ll do it all day long to have my very well behaved, calm dogs.
Spoiling a dog is not buying them a new harness, collar, leash or a bowl. Because they don’t care about these things, you do. Getting a new pretty collar is for us, not them. Getting a new harness is for their safety, so it’s essential, not spoiling. Spoiling a dog is not buying them new pajamas! They don’t need to wear clothes to bed. Spoiling a dog is not buying them a nice rain jacket, if they walk in the rain a lot, then just need a rain jacket. If they need a winter jacket, so be it, you’ll need to buy one. It’s providing the necessary items to keep your dog comfortable.
Thanks for letting me get that out! Whether you call it spoiling or not, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you do it all with love, because that’s why you got a dog right? Their beautiful, unconditional love!