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Dogs eating off your plate? Yes or no?

This week BBC Essex Radio rang me for my opinion on the Gemma Collins incident when she let her dog eat off her plate and off the table, in a restaurant in Hampstead London. I didn’t get long to air my thoughts, there is so much more I want to say, there is a bigger picture. 

I can completely appreciated that when any of us go out to eat in a restaurant, I would not want my plate to have been licked by someone else’s dog, however washed the plate may be now! 

All over the country people are doing this and worse inside their own homes, I speak to enough people with dogs to hear their stories as well as bearing  witness via friends and relatives. I personally have let my own dog lick a plate, though it is generally on the floor, so I suggest maybe not coming round my house for dinner. I must share if you want to teach your dog to steal/help themselves to your food, giving them plates to eat off of will teach the to steal very quickly. Giving them a plate to eat off of is as good as saying, plates are a good place to find food!


One of Gemma’s comments on her social media page was “I love my dog so much, I just can’t help myself” I found that comment the most annoying thing about the whole saga. That is not love, that is pleasing your own needs and not putting your dog first. True unconditional love is being a good parent, setting clear boundaries that teach a dog how to behave in public, to behave in a way that makes them welcome in restaurants and public places. 

I want to be able to take my dog everywhere, and generally do, I make sure my dog is welcome by training him how to behave and not be offensive to other people. I want my dog to be an ambassador for dogdom, to change the minds of people who may not like them, by behaving really well.

In the aftermath, I did not see one comment on what is a good diet for a dog! It certainly is not healthy for dogs to follow a human diet, I would remind everyone they are not human, they are dogs and have dog needs, not human needs! 

I found the whole topic nonsensical when dogs are having so much bad press for the last couple of years, around the high incidence of dog attacks on people, does no one get the connection that if you treat a dog living in your home like a family human, not a dog, there is every chance that some dogs are going to behave very disrespectfully at times, through lack of training, lack of boundaries and lack of understanding their true needs, not those of the human.

From what I gather on social media Gemma is trying to get pregnant, if that is true, what can happen when people are wanting a human baby is the dog becomes a surrogate to fill the void, if and when the human baby comes along, the feelings of guilt, that now the dog is not the centre of the universe, puts even more pressure on a new Mother. 

The early months of a baby arriving is so wonderful yet very stressful, of course the dog has to take a very big 2nd place. I have known couples that have re-homed the dog as they can’t cope with their feelings of guilt, believing the dog will only cope if it becomes the centre of someone else’s universe. All because behaviour that was completely acceptable before the baby came along is no longer viable, from sleeping in the parents bedroom/bed, having complete freedom of access to all rooms of the house, sleeping on the sofa, sets the dog up for being unwelcome when that new precious baby arrives and is being fed and cuddled on that same sofa.

The dog goes from being constantly entertained and entertaining the humans to being shut out, quite rightly having to drop down the pecking order.

Is it any wonder that some people don’t cope with this added pressure,  some dogs become depressed, some start behaving really badly, some behave just as they always have but the behaviour is suddenly unwelcome. Dogs can be helped to accept this change, they are able to cope with this change, we just have to help them and prepare ahead of the baby arriving - give me some time with the parents 3 months before the due date and the dog can be set up to cope with the change! All can be good! 

Yes, I do spoil and indulge my own dogs and have always, but I have one golden rule, I do not spoil or indulge them before they are 2 years old, and even then they must be demonstrating great social control and behaviour, to have learnt  to be an ambassador for Dogdem

Why? No one truly knows their dog before it is 2 years old - in the first 2 years of life dogs are growing physically and mentally, if in this period the dog is over indulged, not trained, not given clear boundaries, don’t learn good social behaviour, it is at 2 years roughly, everything can go wrong, I have lived with this myself, I have seen many clients over the years that have experienced what seems like a sudden change. Whenever we see some awful attack in the news I can guarantee the dog will be around this age, he has hit maturity and the adult dog comes out! 

Not every dog will start attacking at this age, that's almost the problem as there are so many dogs that cope with over indulgence and poor training, most people believe that when it goes wrong, it is just a bad dog!

The good news is even if you have mis-trained your dog most can be undone, your dog will be more than happy to be re-trained, you can have even more fun and fulfilment from your  dog! Please don't wait for the behaviour to become so bad they start biting! I am not here to judge others but to help them get the dog they want in the easiest, kindest and gentlest way possible!  people suffer under the illusion that the dog wants to be a certain, way, what really makes a dog happy is to please us! 

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So much common sense. Looking at the picture from the dogs point of view. Seeing problems before they arise. Avril certainly knows her stuff. Planning would prevent so many problems and how training a dog from the off set with her vast knowledge would benefit so many of us. Including myself who has had dogs all my life and done all sorts of training till I got Angel. The help she has given me has been immeasurable!! ❤️

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