The Pros and Cons of Treating Your Dog Like a Baby

Jacqueline Bennett with Yellow Dog, all dressed up.

Dressing your dog up and carrying him around? Probably not a good idea. But we’ve been guilty of it, too.

Most pet parents are guilty of it at one point or another—babying your dog. Whether it’s extra cookies, carrying them around, dressing them up in cute outfits or letting them get their way, we can treat our furry friends the way we would treat our toddlers. But could this be making a good dog go bad?

We talked to The Pooch Coach, San Francisco based dog trainer Beverly Ulbrich, to outline the pros and cons of treating your dog like a child.

Signs You’re Guilty of Babying

You might not even realize you’re doing it, but there is a good chance you’ve babied your dog.

“There is a wide range of possibilities,” Ulbrich says. “But typically it has to do with owners feeding into bad behavior, such as begging or whining, or allowing their dog to not obey commands.”

Here are some common behaviors that baby our dogs:

  • Giving into whining or barking for attention or food
  • Carrying an able-bodied dog around or pushing him in a stroller
  • Letting your dog ignore commands he knows
  • Not correcting bad behavior such as posturing, resource guarding, and forms of aggression—including dog-on-dog aggression, food aggression, and people aggression

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When Dogs Need to Wear Shoes

Yellow Dog is a special creature. He’s got attitude and personality. He’s also got some twisted little feet. It’s probably a result of his mixed breed; we guess he’s a Dachshund-Jack Russell-Beagle mix.

“Yellow has chondrodystrophic legs, which just means the cartilage model his bones are made from didn’t form quite right,” Dr. Brandy Vickers of Avenues Pet Hospital says. “It’s normal for several breeds, including dachshunds and bassett hounds.”

Check out how his paws roll over:

dog bow legs

dachshund crooked legs

When Yellow walks, his nails grind directly on the pavement with every step. We never have to cut his front nails and in fact, we need to protect them and allow them to grow, otherwise he hits the quick when he walks.

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