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Pawrent Guilt: 4 Ways to Curb Regressive Puppy Training

We love our fluffy family members. That’s why we spoil them with plenty of snuggles and treats. But sometimes we spoil our dogs a little too much, which can lead to behavioral problems.

One of the reasons we do this, myself included, is we sometimes feel guilty for going to work and leaving our pups home alone. But this shouldn’t mean we let them get away with certain behaviors. Here are four ways to curb regressive puppy training and get over “paw-rent” guilt.

Puppy Eyes at Dinnertime

We’ve all seen it; puppy eyes watching as you take a bite of food. The dog might not be begging, per se; but she is inching closer to you with her nostrils flared. So, what do you do? Do you give into your nurturing side and feed her people food? Or do you stand by the household rule against feeding the dog from your plate?

While it’s generally safe for your dog to consume human food (with the exceptions of chocolate, avocado, dairy and salty meats), it could make her less interested in dog food. Which, in turn, might lead to more begging and difficulty convincing her to eat own dinners.

If you are going to feed your dog from your plate, do so sparingly, or use those opportunities as teachable moments.

Don’t Forget the Leash

It’s fun to let Fido run around without the leash every now and then, but if he isn’t properly trained, this could lead to some embarrassing confrontations with your neighbors, as well as dangerous situations for your dog.

What happens if he is startled by a rustling in the bushes and runs off? It’s probably just another squirrel, you think. But in reality, it’s an angry snake who doesn’t like the look of your German shepherd.

Similarly, your Fido might run onto a neighbor’s lawn to do his business. Awkward! It’s best to keep your furry friend on a leash. Try researching dog training collars if you are unsure which is the best for your breed.

Time Apart

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but time away from your fluffy buddy is breaking yours. That’s why you don’t mind when Rex jumps on you as soon as you come home from work. But that behavior is a little less endearing when you bring a guest over for the first time.

While your doggo might be super excited to see you, it’s best to keep them tame with some front door training. This will cut down on jumping, barking and other disruptive behaviors.

However, if you are worried Rex might get lonely, you can try buying toys to keep him occupied while you are away. Some of my favorites include peanut butter filled bones and treat-dispensing wobble balls. Plenty of walks might also help them expend anxious energy.

Boundaries vs. Separation Anxiety

Dogs are smart. They know the rules—even if they don’t always follow them. Perhaps you’ve seen your pup slink out of the master bedroom as you enter. Right away you know they were on the bed while you weren’t looking.

Then again, sometimes you are on the couch watching TV and they jump up to get your attention. That’s a no-no!  But how can you make your dog feel included when you won’t let them on the furniture?

It’s all about boundaries. Maybe you can let Molly up on the couch, but not on the bed. Or maybe you can push her off the couch and let her sit by your feet where you can give her plenty of love and affection without ruining your upholstery.

In the end, you don’t have to let your doggy break the rules to appease your guilt. You can just set up new rules to keep your dog in line while also providing the support and attention they need.


  1. Awww, I love me some puppies. 🙂 We adopted Zap last November and it’s been … trying, hahaha. Cats need training just like dogs, but I swear that they’re more stubborn. But we finally have him sitting for treats and staying off the table, so I’ll call that a win.

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