It’s easy to think that having dogs is a walk in the park. After all, aren’t they just the cutest bundles of joy? They are naturally friendly, and everything you can possibly need to take care of a dog is available right here at Bitch New York!
Unless you’ve never owned a dog before or you’ve been very lucky with your dog’s so far, you’ll know that the reality is not as rose-colored as what some people make it seem.
Being a dog owner is fraught with responsibilities, which you must be consistently dedicated to doing. Still, even the most experienced dog owners commit mistakes every now and then.
If you’re planning to get a new dog or another one, knowing these common errors may help you do better when you encounter these situations.
Not Giving Your Dog Enough Exercise
Dogs are not meant to be locked in the house all day; they have needs.
It’s true that some dog breeds may need more exercise than others do, but the average dog still needs more than just a walk around the block every couple of weeks. Not to mention, aside from the physical challenge, dogs need mental stimulation as well.
Pent-up energy, when not channeled properly, can turn into destructive behavior. Think about all those horror stories about pet owners going home to chewed-up couches, dry walls, designer bags, etc.
To prevent such incidents, be consistent with your dog’s exercise schedule. If you own an especially hyperactive dog, try engaging it in some canine sports in which its abilities will be honed and put to use. Alternatively, you can use an escape proof dog harness to help control his behavior in public.
Putting Off Routine Vet Visits
The purpose of visiting the vet’s clinic is not just for treatment; it’s also for prevention. If your dogs are having some physical issues, it’s possible that they may not display the full symptoms until it’s too late. Your routine visits to the vet help detect problems while early and administer the necessary treatment before the problem becomes a full-blown (and potentially costly) health issue.
Diligently doing your routine vet visits also helps foster your relationship with your dog’s vet, who can help when the unthinkable comes along.
Not Feeding Your Dog Properly
Are you feeding your dog’s irregularly? Do you raw feed them? If not, how do you prepare their food? There are all sorts of kibble products and health fads arising today that promise the best for your pooch.
Before you decide to radically change your dog’s diet or follow whatever is on-trend nowadays, it’s best to talk to a qualified professional first. Don’t just buy any dog food or dog treat. Read the label and see if the dog food is from trusted manufacturers. Read the reviews and what others are saying about a brand.
When setting a feeding schedule, be sure that you can stick to it or that someone else can cover for you whenever you can’t.
Not Microchipping Your Dog
A lot of dog owners don’t really think about the fact that their furry children can get lost or stolen, but just think about how it can happen easily.
Before it’s too late, do something about it now, and secure their identification. If they have a collar, make sure it contains your contact information.
You can also go the extra mile and microchip your dog. The chip and registration are definitive proof of ownership. Once implanted, it will last a lifetime, unlike a collar, which will probably break or can simply be taken out. Having your pets microchipped increases the chances of having them returned to you in case they get lost.
Not Involving the Family in Discipline Training
Instances of misbehavior can be curbed by proper training. Your pet must be able to follow rules to maintain order and prevent any untoward accidents in the household.
However, teaching your pooch a trick or two is only one part of the job. There must be constant positive and negative reinforcement to encourage good behavior and curtail the bad ones.
This is why it’s important to let every member of the household know about these rules, so your dog won’t end up confused by mixed signals and contrasting reinforcements. If he is not allowed on the couch, everyone should discourage him from doing so.
Letting Your Dog “Get Away with It”
Believing that your dog will simply “grow out” of their bad behavior is one of the most common mistakes perpetuated by many dog owners. Your dog simply doesn’t “just mature” as you’d expect a human to do. Your pooch will continue to do something he is not discouraged to do.
So if he ever does something unpleasant, put the training principle in action, and nip the negative behavior in the bud. The same principle should be applied for good behavior.
Waiting until They’re Older to Train a Dog
By the time they are eight weeks old, your new puppies are ripe for dog training. There’s no reason to wait longer if you want to instill desired behavior in them as early as possible.
So, train them young. Starting with simple play tasks such as fetch and gradually edging to simple commands such as “Sit” and “Stay” will help make it easier for you to engage your dog in more advanced commands in the future.
You don’t even need much to train your furry friends. The good old reinforcement training using treats and maybe some toys will do the job. So stock up on healthy, yummy treats that they can always associate with rewards and great bonding times with their humans.
Mistaking Fear for Being Stubborn
Being stubborn is a very human trait that many dog owners like to attribute to their dogs when these fur buddies are “acting out.” It may be that their dogs refuse to budge while in a public place to refuse to do something their owners would like them to do.
What they don’t recognize is that this “stubbornness” is often just plain, simple fear. Dogs get anxious when put in new situations that they don’t understand completely. And when you push them further, it’s possible that they may retaliate in the only way they know—biting.
So if you see that your dogs are not completely at ease with a situation, seek a comfortable corner where you can try to calm them down. If the incident recurs, it may be time to consult with a certified trainer to diagnose the problem and help your dog manage another similar encounter.
Not Socializing Your Dog
A dog’s nature may be friendly, but that does not mean that all dogs automatically are. Just like those of humans, dogs’ early puppyhood experiences will play a great part in their confidence around people and other dogs.
Regardless of the breed, every dog needs to be socialized. Just because you have a Beagle, or a Boxer doesn’t mean you can just lock them up in the house all day and expect them to be all friendly when you go for your monthly walks!
Isolation is never a good thing, even for dogs. In fact, it plays a big role in their overall health and happiness. So, don’t deprive your dog of interaction, and go out for a scheduled daily stroll.
Getting a Dog Because It’s Cute
Cute should be the last reason anyone should get a dog. For starters, dogs aren’t teddy bears that you can just put on a shelf when you’re done with them. As living, breathing entities, dogs deserve care, attention, and love. So, don’t make the mistake of getting a dog just because you momentarily feel like it.
Are you ready? Do you think you have the means and the time to give the dog what he or she fully needs? Can you consistently commit to the responsibilities of being a full-time dog owner? Does your budget allow it?
All these are questions that you need to ask yourself first before heading to the shelter and taking home any pooch.