Five Mistakes Even Experienced Pet Parents Make

A man with black and brown braided hair in a grey hoodie sits and looks at his tablet with a hand petting the head of his black dog next to him

The five mistakes are made by even the most experienced pet parent, and they can prevent you from having the type of relationship you want with your companion animal. Animals add so much value to our lives, it’s worth learning to avoid these pitfalls so that  you can have a happier and deeper relationship with your pet.

Confused Needs

It’s essential to be honest about what needs you expect to be met from your relationship with your dog to meet. For example, maybe you compete in dog sports and want to meet the need of achieving. Or perhaps you look to your pet to meet the need for unconditional love. It’s not always easy to admit what we really expect from our relationship with our pet; however, if you want to strengthen the bond you share, it is vital.

Pack Leader Mentality

The term Pack Leader is thrown around a lot these days. It is usually used to describe your relationship with your dog. You will be encouraged to be the “Alpha.” People will tell you that you must be in charge of your dog – show them dominance, or something terrible will happen. But, of course, I’m never sure what terrible thing will happen. Perhaps your dog will take to the streets, run in doggie gangs, and loot businesses for dog treats.

The pack leader’s way of thinking is missing an essential ingredient – trust. Rolling your dog over, walking through the door first, using force to correct behavior is not going to reap the results you are looking for, in fact, it only serves to make your dog fear you. A loving and meaningful relationship requires trust.

Dominating instead of Cooperating

Animals, in general, don’t receive the respect they deserve in our society. There has been a long-held idea that animals are here to be used and dominated by people. Thankfully, that idea is changing, but you could be guilty of allowing these limiting beliefs to slip into your life without even knowing it. For example, if you participate in dog sports, are you more concerned with winning than allowing your dog to make decisions? If you are out in nature with your dog or horse, do you allow them to sniff and choose the path to explore, or do you have a ridged routine that you always follow? For a deep, meaningful relationship, learn to transform domination into cooperation.

Forgetting to be Grateful

Your pet really is good for you. Pets bring laughter, joy, companionship, love, and purpose into your life. They give you a reason to get up in the morning when you feel down. But in this busy and demanding world, it’s easy to forget the value your pet brings to your life. So start your day by focusing on one quality your pet demonstrates that makes your life better. Doing this consistently will grow your gratitude muscle.

The Energy Down the Leash

The energy going down the leash applies to all animals, even wild animals, not just dogs. The phrase is asking you to take a look at the energy you are projecting. Think about a time a negative, angry coworker diminished your good mood. Or maybe you were worried about a presentation at work when a stranger smiled at you and instantly made you feel relaxed. Our energy and behavior are influenced by the energy and behavior that surrounds us. The same is true for your pet. If you are stressed, angry, or sad, your pet will pick up on it. They may not understand why you’re stressed, but they know something is wrong, and that can lead to fearful or destructive behavior. You must learn to find calm and balance in your life, so your pet will enjoy the same.

If you’d like to learn more about the action steps required to eliminate these five mistakes, set up a free call with me, Jamie Lee, at or email

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