Expert: Portland dogs have 'helicopter' parents

Expert: Portland dogs have 'helicopter' parents

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 5:16 PM

PORTLAND -- You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter” parent in reference to those who hover over their child’s every move. But can the same now be said of pet owners?

“Absolutely,” according to Jenn Kirby, a dog trainer for the Oregon Humane Society.

“Here in the Portland area we’re so focused on our pets. We love them and sometimes it’s maybe a bit too much,” she explained.

“I just want him to have the best life,” said dog owner Bev Tapp. “It’s like you do for your kids.”

Tapp is at the humane society and admits she’s looking for a second dog to spoil.

“I love the dog I have now more than life itself,” she said.

That love is a positive thing as long as it doesn’t limit the dog, Kirby said.

“I have owners who want to litterbox-train their dogs because they don’t really plan on taking them out into the world or even taking them on walks,” she said.

A lack of exposure can create a more fearful dog; as adults they can be maladjusted and struggle to cope.

“We have classes specifically designed for shy dogs and many have just been too sheltered,” Kirby explained.

What are the signs of an overprotective pet owner?

Kirby says they won’t leave their dogs alone for more than an hour at a time. They won’t go places where pets aren’t allowed and they make a habit of carrying their dogs everywhere.

“Many overprotected pets don’t get enough exercise and that can lead to behaviors like barking and chewing,” she warned.

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