How To Avoid Spoiling a Dog

Pet owners have great temptations to spoil their dogs.  Dogs are loyal, loving companions and human masters often misread this love and loyalty as a need for spoiling that does not enhance the life of their beloved pets.   Often the reason owners avoid spoiling a dog is that they become educated about a dog’s needs, behaviors and the consequences of spoiling.

Establishing Dominance

Owners need to create a dominate relationship with a dog.  The alpha relationship is key to a dog’s understanding of the pack relationship.  Some owners find it hard to establish firm guidelines and fear appearing mean or cruel to the dog.  The dog expects and needs clear leadership.  Dogs will attempt to become dominant if owners do not establish the alpha dominance in the home. Dogs and owners can have a loving, caring relationship.  However, dogs must realize that when the owner issues an order it is never a suggestion.  Dogs who understand that the owners are the dominant member of the relationship are less likely to be spoiled.

Dietary Issues

Pet owners often fail to understand how spoiling a dog with food has bad consequences for the dog and the owner.  Proper diet makes the dog healthy and happier.  Often humans feel guilty and give in to the temptation to feed human food to their dogs that may not be appropriate for their needs and diet.  Dogs quickly learn that certain behaviors will generate human food donations.  We should not be surprised that dogs become efficient at begging and annoying friends and family to meet this interest.  Dogs that are taught that there are clear boundaries regarding food and the rewarding of treats are better behaved and exhibit fewer spoiled behaviors regarding food.


Dogs who understand the rules are happier dogs and create a happier home life for all.  Spoiled dogs can make life more stressful.  One benefit of dog training is behavioral modification of the owners.  Owners learn how their actions create behaviors in their dogs they do not like or want to continue.  Good dog trainers will teach dog owners to recognize and change the behaviors that encourage their dog to misbehave.  For instance, while owners may say no, they may not actually enforce the rule consistently.  This leads a dog to believe the risk involved in the action is worth it, if enforcement is not guaranteed.   Learning to be consistent can be challenging, but worth the rewards when the dog is well behaved and following the rules instead of acting like a spoiled dog, that one is embarrassed for friends and family to see.

Avoiding spoiling a dog can be challenging.  Owners want to respond to the love and friendliness of their dog with kindness and generosity in return.  There are positive ways to respond to dogs that increase their connection to their owners and families without creating a spoiled dog.  However, owners often confuse what dogs need with what they assume will make the dog feel better.  Unfortunately, these choices often can lead to illness and behavioral problems.  Avoid spoiling a dog, by sticking to healthy food and consistent behavior expectations that make for a wonderful dog relationship.


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