It can be hard to resist that adorable face your dog pulls on you. Although showing your dog affection, such as through patting or sweet-talking, is important in fostering a bond with Fido, giving him such a show of affection all the time or at the wrong time could encourage some undesirable behaviour on the part of your pet.

So, when exactly is it the right time for you to get affectionate with your pooch? Here are three tips to help you figure out when’s the best time to spoil your dog with love…or not.

1. Reinforcing Good Behaviour

Whether it’s a belly rub or a simple “Good boy!”, our affectionate deeds and words are actually stamps of approval that dogs constantly look out for to know whether what they are doing is good or bad.

This is why carefully-timed shows of affection are important in reinforcing good behaviour in our pups. Giving Fido a pat on the head after he has just excitedly pounced on a stranger, for example, teaches him that he should repeat this behaviour and that he will be rewarded for doing so.

If you want your pooch to stop behaving a certain way, retracting affection when he exhibits this behaviour is the way to go. When your pup is, however, behaving in a desirable way, be sure to reward him with lots of affection and approval.

2. Becoming An Over-reliant Pooch

Just like humans, dogs are social creatures that don’t like being alone. Giving them company all the time could spell trouble, since they might learn to be too dependent on you.

At its worst, a dog that is too used to the constant company of its paw-rent could develop a case of separation anxiety. You can tell if a pooch has separation anxiety if he exhibits destructive or disruptive behaviour when not in the presence of its paw-rents, and desperately attempts to escape when alone at home.

Training your pup to be calm and comfortable by himself may take some time, but it can start with something simple like leaving his favourite chew toys out before you leave, and showing him that his toys are available for him to play with while you are out. Giving your pooch something to do while you are out will allow him to grow accustomed to being left alone, instead of requiring your attention and affection all the time.

3. Giving One Treat Too Many!

Handing treats out to Fido whenever he begs for it will definitely make him happy, but it won’t do his physical and mental health much good in the long run.

Giving your dog treats as and when he requests for it might result in obesity. At the end of the day, treats are still calories. Like how too much candy will spoil a child’s tooth, giving your pup too many treats can cause health problems, such as diabetes, breathing difficulties and decreased stamina.

All these shorten the lifespan of your pooch. When in doubt, always look for healthier treats, such as those without any artificial flavourings or preservatives, and always feed in moderation.

Feeding your furry friend goodies at random could also make him more difficult to train, since he will grow reluctant to work for treats with the knowledge that these tasty rewards will be given to him regardless of what he does. This could result in a pooch that’s potentially spoiled and unwilling to listen to instructions or commands from its owners.