Trainer shares the surprising reason behind why you shouldn’t always pet an excitable dog and it makes total sense!

Dog jumping up on person's leg while sticking tongue out excitably
(Image credit: Getty)

Excitable dogs have a special charm that can light up any room with their infectious energy. Their wagging tails and eager jumps often make us want to shower them with affection, pets and the very best dog treats. However, according to dog trainer Ridge Vogel, there's a surprising reason why we should think twice before rewarding an excitable dog with physical attention. 

Over on Instagram, Vogel sheds light on the consequences this behavior can have on a dog's overall behavior, and it's something dog owners should take into consideration if you have a badly behaved dog on your case.

"We don’t want to pet or reward dogs that are super excited," Vogel explains. "A lot of times, dogs are coming to us seeking attention when they’re in that excited state, and our instinct is to think, 'Oh, pet them! They love us so much!' But the reality is that the dog is actually being pushy and rude, and you are rewarding that behavior – a behavior that you probably wouldn’t reward if it were a child."

With that being said, sometimes more serious issues like anxiety in dogs or reactivity can be mistaken for excitability. In this case, devoting time to learning how to calm a reactive dog or how to reduce separation anxiety in dogs will better handle these problems.

But, if you think you simply have an overly excited dog on your hands most of the time, then stick around to hear more about what Vogel has to say about less petting. You can hear him discuss the matter below and continue reading to find out more.

Vogel's insights challenge the common misconception that petting an excited dog is always the right approach. He emphasizes that he's not here to dictate what dog owners should do, but rather to help them understand the possible implications their actions could have on their furry companions' behavior.

The Pack Leader trainer emphasizes the importance of awareness and making conscious choices about the behavior we nurture in our dogs. Many dog owners inadvertently encourage behaviors they dislike, simply because they are unaware of the impact their actions have on their four-legged friends.

"Too many people are unknowingly encouraging behaviors in their dog that they dislike," Vogel states. "The solution is not to hire a dog trainer, but to educate yourself on dog behavior and psychology and take responsibility."

It's helpful to recognize that by petting an excitable dog, we may unknowingly reinforce their pushy and rude behavior. Instead, taking the time to monitor a dog behavior's can empower us to make informed choices that shape our dogs' behavior in a positive way. 

So, next time you encounter an excitable dog, whether it's your own pup or one you meet out and about, remember Vogel's advice. Rather than immediately reaching out to pet them, consider the consequences and opt for alternative approaches that encourage calm and polite behavior. By understanding and responding to our dogs' needs in a thoughtful manner, we can build a stronger bond with them while fostering a well-behaved and balanced furry companion.

If you're looking for more canine tips, feel free to read our guide on how to stop a dog from jumping up or equip yourself with knowledge on keeping your dog safe this summer and find out when is it too hot to walk your dog?

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.