“I’m essentially a Momma’s Boy with a good education” – Tom Sizemore
When I get home after being at work all day, I’m greeted by one very happy dog. Who then proceeds to show me all of his bones that I bought him. If I walk into the bathroom, guess who follows? If I go into the kitchen, guess who waits patiently at the end of the carpet, craning his neck so that he can try and see what I’m doing? Guess who gets nervous when I bring out my step stool (I’m 5’2 people, it’s a necessity in my life) and I start to climb it? Guess who, if we’re on a walk and I somehow get ahead or behind by a few steps searches for me incessantly? Guess who, when I’m away for a few days, sits diligently by the window, watching for me to walk up to the apartment? Nope, not Tall Guy, it’s that same dog that has to show me the bones for the 4580th time.
Porter’s a Momma’s boy. It’s true. There’s no denying it. He wants to be by me at all times and he looks to me for everything. Given a choice between me and anyone else, he’ll choose me every time. There’s a certain amount of pride and contentment that comes from him being a Momma’s Boy. I’ve done something amazing. I’ve gained an animal’s complete and utter devotion. Here’s the difference between me and other owners that revel in their dog loving them so much: I don’t baby him because of it.
If Kerry and I go on a walk together, we’ll sometimes switch off dogs. Mostly because someone else can Pilot your dog better than you can. There’s less history, less love and affection. When she walks Porter I don’t say “Oh, Momma’s right here, don’t worry”. I don’t feel bad for him. I don’t say anything to him. If I do say something to him, it probably contains a nickname that’s not G rated.
The key is to continue on. Sure, your dog might be attached to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes in when you feed into that dependence and treat them like they can’t do anything or go anywhere without you. Then you’re only feeding into their fear of being without you. You’re not allowing them to gain their own self confidence and hindering the realization that they’ll make it without you. They can still love you unconditionally, but now you’re not feeding into the dependence.
Quite honestly, seeing an owner baby talking, cooing, and coddling their dog is one of my biggest pet peeves (pun intended). You should be partners and companions in adventures and life. Not one of you depending completely on the other. That’s not healthy. Everyone has to grow up at some point (although I’m sure everyone can name a few that haven’t. And how obnoxious are they?).
It’s okay to have a dog that is completely devoted to you. However, it’s important that you don’t feed into that devotion. Don’t let them become so dependent on you that life seems unlivable without you. That’s not the way a dog should live.
When Kerry hands Porter back to me, he may be extremely excited, however I act like nothing unusual happened. The walk continues just as if I had been walking him the whole time. Everything is calm and normal. Sure, you’re your dog’s owner and caregiver, but make sure it’s a healthy relationship and they’re not going to suddenly feel as though they can cease to exist without you. Take some time to evaluate your relationship with your dog.
There’s nothing wrong with the fact that your dog is a Momma’s boy (or girl), but just make sure you’re not creating an unhealthy balance within their lives. Eye rolls come in really handy when dealing with this.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH