I see behavioral issues occurring in puppies on a very frequent basis at my hospital. It is a product of misperception, misunderstanding, self-projection, and the general anthropomorphic tendencies of people (pet owners). These issues are best addressed in the early developmental stages of the puppies life to prevent him or her from becoming over-dominant, over-submissive, or simply mal-social. Trying to get people to understand and acknowledge this objective fact, the more than obvious improper behavior in their puppy, is challenging at best. Often, when you explain that the puppy is throwing a temper tantrum and being a brat, the owner chooses instead to see the behavior otherwise…like the little puppy only needs more “love, understanding, and excessive coddling” because it is just nervous and scared (of me, the hospital, or the world in general).
That is until I explain that the puppy’s inappropriate and unstructured behavior parallels the worst behavior ever exhibited by the persons most controlling, over-dominant, moody, and disrespectful boyfriend or girlfriend. Then sometimes, I can connect with the owner and together, we can get started on establishing a system of proper balance and structure for the puppy.
Funny…..the excuses, tolerant rationale, and submissiveness we often inject into our own psyche and behavior towards a puppy and the corresponding doubt, intolerance, and over-dominance we apply in relation to our human significant other.
Jeff Cribb DVM 2016