Hi, I am a balanced dog trainer in Portland Oregon. I help people with serious behavioral issues, basic dog training and rehabilitation. Here are my thoughts on too much affection with your dog.
Coming from the animal kingdom, dogs rely on instinct to make decisions and they are always ranking everyone around them to see who is a strong leader or a softer weak pack member.
They see too much soft nurturing energy as weak. If you have an easy happy go lucky dog with no behavioral issues, a lot of affection might be ok. However, if you’re struggling at all (which is the majority of dog owners), cutting back on unearned affection could be a game changer.
The way I think it actually works though, is that you can share affection in proportion to how much you share rules and are buyable as an authority figure or leader. If you want to be super affectionate with your dog, you might have to be more intense with them, more serious and more no nonsense about rules.
When you are trying to turn some behavioral issues around however, getting very serious, quiet, and calm is super helpful. It doesn’t mean being cold, it just means being present without needing anything from them. And I know you got a dog so that you could love it and show it affection, but if you are struggling, there is other value your dog is presenting to you. That is the value of channeling your inner strength, learning about dog psychology and being of service to them and what THEY need.
Many people that have adopted really difficult dogs unknowingly and learned how to handle it, have been appreciative of the experience and the lessons it has brought.
Personally for me, when I adopted Honey Bear the pitbull in my early 20’s, I did everything wrong. She was having issues because I was not a strong leader. It reflected back to me my codependency issues and showed me that I needed to do a lot more work on myself spiritually and emotionally. Dogs are always our teachers.
If you are interested in my services scroll through my website. I do offer short board and train programs in Portland Oregon. I also help people with e-collar training in Portland in addition to basic dog obedience.