Top Ten Mistakes Made By New Dog Owners

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You saw an adorable bundle of fur, fell in love with it and brought it home. Her sloppy tongue and big brown eyes basically guarantee that you will be giving in to her every whim. That being said, those behaviors that you found so immensely adorable will soon become extremely irritating, and the new habits that are being formed are less than ideal. If you make these common mistakes that many new dog owner´s make, this could be your future. If you can avoid them, you will be on your way to having a canine that is well behaved and truly a joy to be around.


1. Going Off Cute



When asking someone why they chose their pup, nine out of ten times that will probably state that it had something to do with its looks. That being said, there is more to dogs than just cute faces, they have individual personality traits, as well as exercise needs that go along with their particular kind of breed, an intelligent dog owner will choose their dog based off of these factors, not only off of looks.

For example, a business person who resides in a New York high rise and is very busy, finding themselves home for only a few hours at a time, and going for walks or runs should not choose a Siberian Husky, a breed which requires miles of running on a daily basis. Take advantage of websites like Dog Breed Answers that covers popular dog breeds around the world. Investigate the breeds. Choose wisely, and you will set yourself on the path to success before you have even brought your dog home.

All puppies are adorable, however are they the perfect fit for your family?


2. Believing that What You See, Is What You Will Get


Oftentimes people pick out a puppy or go to the shelter, assuming that the first behavior they witness is what the dog will display its entire life. There are however stages that puppies go through, they go through periods of fear, hormone changes, as well as environmental experiences which will determine what their adult personalities will be like. Usually, rescue dogs are in a state of depression or fear, having been abused or abandoned by their owners, living in the streets, etc. This means that the disposition they displayed at a foster parent´s home or at the shelter is most likely not the personality they will have after having lived with you for a month. Once puppy settles in has become comfortable, you will see his true colors.

Mistakenly believing that because when you first met, he was shy and reserved the dog’s character will be a calm one, can set your up for frustration and disappointment once he has gotten comfortable and starts to bounce off the walls.

With a puppy, observe the parents and inquire with the breeder about the temperaments of previous litters, this will give you a better idea of what your puppy may be like as an adult. With rescue dogs, get as much information as possible and pay attention to the dog´s breed or breeds, this can also help you to determine personality.


3. No House Rules



Often when we bring a dog home, we unhook the leash setting it “free” without even thinking about what we do and do not want him to do. Then when it begins to display behaviors we consider to be bad, we try punishing him for not being able to read our minds. At times we allow for a certain behavior over a couple of weeks and then simply change the rules deciding that we no longer want him doing that.

This can create confusion, setting the dog up for failure, not for success. Before bringing home a new puppy or dog, sit down with the household members and decide what will and not be allowed for the dog. Decide where the dog will sleep, will it be allowed on the furniture, when will be time for feeding, walking, exercising and who will take care of that. A big key to success is having set rules and making sure that they are followed by everyone.


4. Inconsistency


Once you have set the rules – follow them! This means that anyone who frequently has contact with your new dog, whether it is the housekeeper, family members or friends must abide by them. Dogs are intelligent creatures and even if a single person is rewarding them for, lets say jumping up, then that behavior will be continued much to everyone else´s chagrin. If the humans are held accountable, the do will learn.


5. Thinking that “baby” is Too Young to be Trained



Oftentimes new puppy owners will ask when they are able to begin training for things such as sitting, loose leash walking, etc. They often state that the puppy is “too young” to learn. By the time a puppy has turned eight weeks, it is completely capable of learning behaviors and from the moment they set foot in your house, they should. Not only will your bond be strengthened with positive reinforcement training, it will also lead to a dog that is well-behaved.


6. Thinking that It Will Grow Out of It


Another thing that many dog owners say is that they cannot wait until their pup grows out of it. However, dogs do not usually grow out of their bad behaviors, As a matter of fact, if they are left to their own devices, the usually will get worse. Keep in mind that these behaviors are only viewed by us as being bad – when chasing cats, digging up the flowers, and barking at the mailman, your dog is well-rewarded. Unless through reinforcement he is given reason to, he will not just stop.


7. Getting Away With It


With humans, cute goes a very long way. It is our tendency to allow cute things to get in the way of just about anything. New dog owners believe that it is just adorable when their tiny puppy attempts to jump on them for attention, and when she is left alone and lets out the tiny howl, it is to sad to simply ignore.

That being said, your lab that weighs 80 pounds pounces on your 90 year old grandma, well that won’t be so cute. And when your grown husky howls all night as you try to sleep, all sympathy will be gone. Remember that you dog will get bigger and ask yourself if you want these behaviors to continue on after puppyhood. If not, do not allow them to continue now.


8. No Socialization



Simply because you have brought home a golden retriever does not mean that she will love every human and dog that she comes in contact with. Often new dog owners assume that by nature they are just friendly, so socializing their dogs is not something they give much thought to.

Socializing your dog may probably be the single, most important thing that you as a new owner can do, especially if it is a puppy. The socialization window that puppies have will start way before you even get them, and around 12-16 weeks it ends. The more positive experiences that during this time your dog has with other dogs, regardless of their shape and size, and people both your and old, with beards, hats, in wheel chairs, etc., the more friendly your dog will likely turn out to be. If your new dog was left alone, it is you, not the dog that is responsible for the result.


9. No Management


There are countless stories about what dogs devour after they are brought home. Expensive designer purses and high heels, drywall, iPhones, you name it, just about anything has been eaten by some dog somewhere. This is a trap so many new dog owners has fallen into because they simply assume that their things will be left alone by their new dog or puppy and that nothing other than the dozens of toys located all over the house, will be chewed on.

Your recently acquired family member will not know the what the difference between a squeaky toy and a Prada purse is, nor will he be able to learn without some help, and learning is a time consuming process. In the meantime, your new dog can be managed by not leaving things that he can chew lying around, and when you cannot do so, confine him in a safe place. If you leave your puppy and your new shoes alone, the end result will only be your fault, not your puppy´s.


10. Not Recognizing Fear


Commonly, new dog owners will say that their dogs are stubborn. They will say that their dogs do not want to walk outside with them that they do not want to greet other dogs, or that in public places, they will not respond to cues. That being said, in many of these cases, the dogs or puppies are not trying to be “stubborn”, this is a truth that humans give dogs, they are actual fearful or anxious of the situation they have been placed in. Failure to recognize when your dog is afraid is a huge mistake, one that can be costly.

If you push your dog to do something that he is scared of, he could very likely bite you, another dog or another person. The second you dog begins displaying signs of anxiety or fear, back off! Do not force them further into a situation. To help you understand how to manage your dog when in these situations, seek out the assistance of a professional trained to learn these things, this will make your dog feel more comfortable and you will feel more at ease.

Come up with a plan, carefully pick your dog, adhere to these rules, until she has learned the rules, manage the situation, socialize her, train, train and train some more! By sticking to these simple rules you have a trained and respectful dog that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Welcome to My name is Peter Gabson-Howell and I hope you enjoy your stay. You can find out more about me here.

December 2018
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