Today, there are 69 million dogs spread across all American households. There’s a reason why you see so many canines around: as man’s best friends, they’re loyal and loving.
Maybe you’ve always wanted a dog, and you’ve been envious of those who are pet owners. But it’s finally time for you to pick out your furry new friend since you have a stable income and spacious home to treat them right!
Don’t just drive out and pick up the first puppy you see though. In this article, we’ll discuss the 12 common mistakes for new dog owners you should avoid making.
1. Not Doing Research
As you might already know, when it comes to types of dogs out there, there are tons, which is part of what makes down ownership so interesting and fun. You can get something as small as a teacup Yorkie or a chihuahua, to something as big as a mastiff or Irish wolfhound.
However, you can’t pick a new pet based on aesthetics alone. Every breed has its own temperament and needs, and unfortunately, not all of them will match your personality or lifestyle.
For example, if you live in a small apartment and aren’t a very active person, then a border collie may not be a good dog breed for you. Instead, a French bulldog is the better choice, as it’s smaller and not as active.
2. Making an Impulse Adoption
It’s always good to adopt instead of shop, as you’re giving a poor pooch a new home. But this should never be an impulse decision.
Again, you should do your research first to determine which breeds are ideal for your lifestyle and which you should avoid. You should also make sure you’re ready for the responsibilities of dog ownership, as they’re not easy. Canines can live long lives, and you need to be prepared to give them excellent care while they’re still on this planet with you.
We know that time is of the essence for shelter dogs, especially if they’re kill shelters. However, impulse decisions rarely work out, so ensure you’re 100% ready before visiting one.
3. Not Giving Their Dogs Enough Training
It might be cute for your puppy to shred newspapers and your shoes right now. But if you don’t give them enough training, they can grow up to be troublesome pooches.
Without proper training, your pet can develop behavioral issues. They may even suffer unnecessarily from mental health issues since they won’t be adequately equipped to deal with things like you leaving for work.
Owning a pet is hard work, and you must invest time and effort into obedience training and socialization. As a result, you’ll have a well-behaved and happy doggo!
4. Using Punitive Training Methods
Just as parents are divided about rewards and punishments for their kids, dog owners are also as divided about what type of training method to use on their pets.
The general consensus is that you shouldn’t use punitive or harsh dog training methods. These techniques can increase fear and anxiety, and as a result, your dog will inhibit their behavior around you. Not only will this be detrimental to their well-being and damage the trust between the two of you, but it can lead to your pet biting people without warning too.
You’ll get much better results if you use positive reinforcement and reward-based training instead. This will build trust, plus your pooch will become more confident and well-behaved.
5. Having Inconsistent Rules and Boundaries
Properly training your four-legged friend is only half the job; don’t think you’re done afterward. It’s up to you to be a responsible owner and reinforce rules and boundaries all the time.
If you don’t, you’ll confuse your pup, and they can become distraught and unhappy. Canines thrive on consistency and routine, so it’s important to keep those things up. Make sure your family members or roommates understand what these things are so everyone can follow up consistently.
6. Having a Lack of Socialization
Dogs are highly social creatures; they evolved from wolves, which are pack animals. This means that they work in groups and are highly communicative.
It’s essential that you start your puppy’s life off with early socialization. Exposing them to various people, animals, and environments in a positive and controlled manner will help them develop fantastic social skills.
This will make it easier to bring them places. And if you need to leave the house often and/or leave them with different people, then your furry friend won’t be as frightened and badly behaved.
7. Not Giving Their Pets Enough Exercise
No matter which dog breed you get, they’ll need some degree of physical activity, just like their human counterparts. It’s vital for keeping the body in good health!
Canines need regular physical activity to maintain both their physical and mental health. If you don’t give your pet enough exercise, this can lead to obesity, as well as frustration and other behavioral problems.
In your research, you should’ve found out how much exercise is suitable for your dog’s breed and energy level. Ensure you can deliver on this regularly to keep your pet happy and healthy.
8. Feeding Their Dogs Improper Diets
Another key thing in keeping your pooch healthy is feeding it the right diet. It can be fun to feed them treat after treat to make them perform treats, but one of the many dog owner responsibilities is ensuring they’re eating a balanced and appropriate diet.
If you aren’t sure what that constitutes, then consult with your vet. Based on your pet’s age, breed, and activity level, they’ll help you determine the best type of food for dogs, as well as how much to give them. Make sure you stick to what your vet recommends and don’t deviate from their instructions.
9. Neglecting Veterinary Care
You shouldn’t only be bringing your pooch to the vet when they’re ill or injured. Like humans (noticing a pattern here?), canines need regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive treatment. All these things can keep them healthy and prevent them from getting ill in the first place.
If you feel like bringing your pet to the vet regularly is too expensive, then you need to reevaluate your capabilities. Again, dogs can live for many years, so you must have the financial stability to maintain their health. Plus, you’ll have significantly more expensive vet bills if you let health issues get bad, so it’ll be a win-win situation to be proactive about check-ups.
10. Neglecting Dental Care
Many dog owners are good about vet visits, but surprisingly, dental hygiene is often overlooked. However, it’s crucial for your pooch’s health.
Neglecting dental care can lead to periodontal disease and other oral health issues. Not to mention, their breath can get smelly too.
Establish a thorough dental care routine to avoid all these problems. It should involve regular brushing and professional cleanings if necessary.
11. Not Giving Their Pets Enough Mental Stimulation
Remember how we said earlier that canines are social creatures? Most (if not all) breeds are also very intelligent. If you don’t provide them with enough mental stimulation, then they’ll get bored and display destructive behavior.
You should get an arsenal of interactive toys and puzzles to keep your pooch busy. You can enroll them in obedience training too, as this provides great mental stimulation as well.
12. Not Giving Their Dogs Enough Attention
Before you get a dog, make sure you have enough time to dedicate enough attention, affection, and social interaction to them. This includes just playing and hanging out with them, as well as bringing them out to play with other dogs.
If you put in the time, then it’ll pay off, as you’ll strengthen the bond between you and your pet. And isn’t that the whole point of getting them anyway? There’s nothing better than having a four-legged friend share in your life experiences!
Don’t Make These Mistakes for New Dog Owners
There are so many mistakes for new dog owners that we’ve barely even scratched the surface. However, we’ve made sure to cover the most vital ones so you don’t follow in other people’s footsteps.
As long as you have good intentions for your furry friend, then you should be ok. Give them plenty of attention, stimulation, training, healthy food, and vet visits, and you can’t go wrong. Most importantly, keep your mind open and be flexible to change and learning, as that’ll be the best thing for your pooch.
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