Tuesday Topics 11 - Spoiled Rotten?


These days, it's as easy to spoil your dog as it is to spoil your children. What DON'T they have for dogs these days? Swarovski crystal-embedded dog collars, gourmet dog food, feather canopy dog beds, haute couture dog clothes...the list is endless!

Because Guide Dogs has a lot of strict rules for puppy raisers, it's a bit more difficult for us to spoil our dogs. But I sometimes wonder if I spoil Cabana in subtle ways. If Cabana were a pet, I wouldn't be concerned at all. But as a guide dog puppy in training, I'd hate for my spoiling to lead to spoiling her career as a service dog.

Here are my guilty pleasures. Because Cabana isn't allowed on furniture, I always sit with her on the floor when watching TV. If I don't sit on the floor with her, then my husband does. Cabana doesn't complain when we don't sit with her--but we don't really give her much opportunity to complain because we do it pretty automatically. Also, I hold her bones for her so she can chew on them easier. Not all the time, but it's frequently the case.

Are there ways in which you spoil your dog? Will my habits spoil Cabana? Will they make life difficult for her blind partner in the future? Or maybe even cause her to flunk out in formal training? I'll brace myself for the answer....

Poppy The Puppy  – (May 12, 2009 at 3:18 PM)  

Yep! Our babies are spoiled, despite having many rules. Poppy is never far from her approved toys - of which she has a TON!! If it is approved, we have at least one, often 2 or more (I mean what if she is at work and want her kong, but it is in her crate at home? Or her nylabone wishbone and it is by her tie down while she is crated??)

I won't tell you that we always leave either the radio or animal planet on for her when we leave her at he alone...

Whether or not your spoiling is too much can be determined by what she does if you aren't there to entertain her. Will she make do if you are not holdong her bone? That one, to me, is bigger than sitting on the floor with her. Will she chew without you? While you are working, is she bugging you to hold it for her? If the answer is yes, you are doing too much. But, if she adapts when you are busy, you are ok. She needs to be self sufficient a not pesty when you are busy. I'd say you are ok as long as the spoiling is on YOUR terms and not hers.

Cabana's Puppy Raiser  – (May 12, 2009 at 3:27 PM)  

Good points, Poppy! Now we know where to go if we need a few toys--your house! To answer your question, though--Cabana is fine to chew her bones without me. She never brings me the bone to hold for her. In fact, when I am holding it, she sometimes stops chewing and just stares at the bone--her cue for me to drop it so she can chew "solo". Or maybe she wants to chew the other end of the bone--in which case I stop holding it, because I refuse to hold the slobbery end. Those are MY terms!

raiserally  – (May 12, 2009 at 4:02 PM)  

Very good! We were always sitting on the floor with Iverson while watching tv (sometimes do with Eola at night but depends on how my hips are feeling) and often held the bone for him! Many guide dog handlers also hold the bone for the dogs while they chew (although some don't, it's their decision) it's a nice way to interact calmly. Like Poppy said as long as she's Ok without the spoiling it's all good! /grin/

I know this isn't GDB approved but I spoil the pups (Eola and Eclipse and visiting pups) with compressed rawhides, bully sticks, letting them run around like crazy in the backyard with their friends, cuddling with them on the floor and as a special treat even napping or spending the night with them on the floor.

We also take them out on "fun walks" where they're not required to do anything other than walk without pulling, positioning isn't important as long as they understand the difference.

I also rotate the toys that are available, have three or four down at a time and switch them out every week or so, that way the pup has a "new" toy almost continuously /wink/

smilinshell11  – (May 12, 2009 at 4:21 PM)  

First off, I love the picture. :) Being a puppy-sitter and having some dogs that are "lap dogs", I will let them in my lap and take a snooze if I'm on the floor watching TV. If they are in their vest, they will sit next to me if I'm on the floor. We have tons of toys and the raiers always bring some over so we don't run out there! :)

Lisa and Ellie  – (May 12, 2009 at 5:47 PM)  

I do similar things with Ellie - only, I consider it spoiling me! It's fun to get spoiled every once in awhile - like Poppy said, just not all the time! :D

Erin,Bubs,Tex and Ben  – (May 12, 2009 at 6:01 PM)  

Once I got a job, and could buy thing,my guide dog puppies, were "spoiled" by the tons of approved toys, and lots of comfortable dog beds (of which I know have....5,but I do have three dogs now) and going to the dog park.

My dachshunds do have a lot of "clothes", but that's about it as far as their "spoiling" goes. :D

Madison and Andros  – (May 12, 2009 at 7:14 PM)  

I love the picture! I spoil my CCI pups all the time! We all do since our time is so limited with them! The important thing is that they understand that everything is on YOUR terms...like the above people have said!

At CCI the dogs are allowed to JUMP on the bed when told....So that is how I spoil my pups...and buy SO many toys!

Carrie and Waffle  – (May 13, 2009 at 12:15 AM)  

well you say spoiled - I say well loved.

All the pups do get a lot of lovin' we actually have an old futon that we put on the floor so we can sit on the floor and watch TV with the pups. For one of the dogs we did hold her bone, and all the dogs had all the toys they could lay teeth on. We'd buy in bulk.

I worried that the girls were spoiled especially in beds. for two dogs we have 7 dog beds. we started stacking two together to make them extra comfy - but then the thought of Lani sleeping on the hard concrete of the kennel makes me sad.

In the winter they get a fleece and the summer ice chips in their water.

they're not spoiled just well loved. (ok I know I'm in denial)

Becky  – (May 13, 2009 at 6:15 AM)  

Cabana sounds a lot like Cricket! We love to sit on the floor and cuddle with her and she enjoys having her bone held while she chews .. its much more fun. Both give us time to connect and bond and I feel allows me to give back for all she does for me ... keep on lovin

OSU 98  – (May 14, 2009 at 5:14 AM)  

I am with Carrie on this one...not spoiled, well loved. Well, ok, probably spoiled rotten...

I hold her bone for her while she chews it. If I get ice cream, I bring her a cone (empty). If I have softball, I bring her along so she can chase her kong like a psycho. If I am running errands and she can come along, I take her. All small prices to pay to open up the door at night and find her excited little face ready to run out the door and greet me, and then run back in and do lab laps around the coffee table with her kong in her mouth....

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