Cooper: “I guess it depends on your definition of ‘spoiled.’ Like, yesterday, Lady forgot to move my blanket into the sun spot on the couch in her office so I had to choose between napping in the shade but on the blanket or napping in the sun but on the blanket-less couch. Do you call that spoiled? I. think. not.”
At first, I thought I wanted to write a lighthearted take on spoiling our pups, especially around the holidays.
Like, does Cooper want a faux fur blanket from IKEA to toss in the sun-dappled spot on his couch? Would he really want that? Or is that just me spoiling him?
Want the blanket? He doesn’t know it exists!
Deserves the blanket? Well, that’s another story. (He totally does. We’re going there this weekend to do some holiday shopping, and that blanket is coming home for Coop!)
However, as I did some light googling around spoiled dogs thinking I’d find some good memes, I discovered something: People get super-duper up-in-arms about spoiled dogs! Like, kinda crazed and a smidge bonkers.
Some, I think, are bizzaro remnants from outdated training modes that say you’ll “spoil” your dog if you let him on the bed or allow him to eat dinner before you or let him ahead on leash, or that “indulged” dogs become bossy and manipulative, or whatever… I forget sometimes that many people still buy into these myths simply because the world in which I live and work puts so much stock in science-based training. I forget that there’s a whole other side of the dog world that allows people to truly, honestly, wholeheartedly believe that if a dog jumps onto the sofa, it’s because he’s trying to attain higher ground and, thus, the assertive, dominant position over you.
Coop’s like: “Naw. I just want the squishy, sun-dappled spot. I like a pillow under my noggin. And, hey, could you see to a faux fur throw up in here? Thanks, Lady.”
So, let’s redefine “spoiled,” shall we?
I like the idea of indulging my dog because, frankly, he deserves it, and it makes me happy to make him happy! My dog doesn’t know he’s spoiled, though he does know the types of behaviors that tend to get him extra rewards like cuddles and snacks. And he likes to perform them liberally! But, he doesn’t know that a faux fur throw or an after-dinner bully stick or cuddling under the covers at night or walking ahead of me or whatever is considered to ruin his character by some humans. He does know that those things increase his joy, and I know that his increased joy increases mine.
Yes, my dog is spoiled. But I don’t care. I love him that way. I love to spoil him. He deserves it. He puts up with a lot, and he’s always happy to do whatever I want to do when I want to do it. He’s always happy to just be with me, and I appreciate that more than words, more than faux fur throws, and more than after-dinner bully sticks (though he’d take the throw and sticks over the words any day).
Two questions for you today:
- What do you consider “spoiling” when it comes to dogs?
- Is your dog spoiled?
I’d love to know in the comments whether or not you think your pup is spoiled, if there’s a such thing as a too-spoiled dog, and how do you know where the line is! 🙂