Oh, those puppy eyes. You know you should say no to another treat… but those eyes! If you’re like most dog owners, you’re probably guilty of occasionally breaking your own rules for the sake of making your life a little easier. Ultimately, though, maintaining consistency is best for your dog. Avoid these 10 common pitfalls to keep your sweet friend happy and healthy for years to come.
1. Breaking the Rules
You’re the one who gets to make the rules for your dog, which also makes you the enforcer, and consistency is essential. If you don’t want your dog to get on the furniture, don’t let this rule slip even “just this once.”
2. Forgetting Breed Characteristics
Your dog isn’t just “a dog” — it’s a Border Collie or a Pit Bull mix, and every breed has its own health challenges and personality traits. If you can identify your dog’s breed or breeds, research them thoroughly to better understand your pal’s specific needs.
3. Skimping on Exercise
We know, life is busy! But unless your dog is very old or has physical restrictions, you should keep a routine of at least 30 to 60 minutes per day for walks and exercise.
4. Punishing Bad Behavior with Bad Timing
A dog isn’t a human, and can’t understand the reasoning behind punishments, especially when a period of time has gone by. If Baxter chews on a pillow and several minutes later you send him to his crate, he won’t understand the link between his actions and the consequence. It is better to reward good behavior, such as chewing on a chew toy, rather than punishing bad deeds when it’s too late.
5. Creating Opportunities to Fail
Since you know your dog won’t always make the right decisions, take away the opportunities for him to misbehave. If, for instance, Baxter loves to chew shoes, keep him in his crate or put your shoes away when you’re not home to supervise him.
6. Forgetting Vehicle Safety
Car rides are a favorite activity for many dogs and owners alike. But too often people neglect to use dog safety measures in their vehicles. Since dogs can be projected from a vehicle in an accident, it’s important to use a dog safety belt and harness at all times, and avoid seating your dog near an airbag.
7. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Sure, we’d all love to have a dog as smart and responsive as the famous Lassie. But in reality, your dog needs proper, extensive training to become a well-rounded and well-mannered canine companion. Try to remember that your dog doesn’t naturally understand your language or the rules you want him to follow, and while good training goes a long way, he will still have moments where he doesn’t live up to your ideas of how it “should” behave.
8. Allowing Boredom
If you work outside your home, your dog probably gets lonely and bored during those long, quiet days. Buy some toys that provide mental stimulation, and if your dog is comfortable around other dogs, consider signing up for an occasional doggie day care program.
9. Forcing Socialization
When dogs aren’t properly socialized to people, dogs, and other experiences in their first year of life, they may never be comfortable around crowds and other pups. If your dog is aggressive or fearful in these situations, don’t force them to continue as this will only make them worse.
10. Too Little Training
Getting adequate, high-quality training early on is essential for both your dog’s welfare and yours. Contact us today to learn more about our personalized dog training services with our certified trainers!