Many of you remembered the time when you brought your first puppy home. It was an exciting time. But, it was also a challenging time too. You had never owned a dog before. The responsibility of looking after a dog is so new to you. You did not know what to expect.
During those times, it was very likely that you had made many mistakes. Of course, the mistakes got lesser and lesser as you get to know your puppy better.
If you are a new dog owner, it would be beneficial to prepare yourself for the new responsibilities that lie ahead. One way to do that is to be familiar with some of the common mistakes made by new owners. This will help you to avoid many of them.
Here are 10 things every dog wants new dog owners to remember.
Do not buy me on a whim
Never buy me on the spur of the moment, no matter how cute and adorable I may appear to you. You must realize that dog ownership is really a big responsibility. I need constant care and attention. Unless you are prepared to do that for the next 10 years or so, do not bring me home.
Do not wait too long to train me
You must start basic obedience training as soon as possible, when I am still very young. In order to prevent bad habits from forming, you must not delay training me for too long. It would be more difficult for me to get rid of these bad habits later.
Please be consistent
Be consistent with your training methods. You will help me to learn quickly by being consistent. However, you are confusing me if I am rewarded inconsistently for my good behaviors, or if you are using different training commands for the same desired behavior.
Do not give me too many treats
Sure, I love those treats. But, do not dispense them too freely to me. Reserve treats only for rewarding me for good behaviors. Then, I will learn to associate these treats with the desired behaviors during training.
Please socialize me
It is very important to socialize me during my first six to eight weeks of life. This will establish my ability to react to changes and unfamiliar situations for the rest of my life. Please introduce me to other pets, people and new experiences. Then, I will learn not to become anxious or shy.
Please allow me to have plenty of exercise
I need sufficient physical activities everyday to work off my energy. This is true even for the smallest dogs. Otherwise, I am likely to become hyperactive and develop behavioral problems, such as excessive barking.
Please give me lots of mental stimulation
Besides physical exercise, I also need sufficient mental exercise to stimulate my mind. Otherwise, I will likely get bored and behavioral problem will arise. This is where toys and games, as well as simple playtime, come in.
Do not leave me alone for too long
If left alone in the house for too long, I can develop separation anxiety which can contribute to destructive behaviors. Moreover, the chances of me having an accident in the house will increase if I am alone for too long.
Please prepare the house for me before I arrive
Your house is filled with potential dangers for me. You may not realize this when you are a new dog owner. Keep all cleaning products, food and other items that are potentially dangerous out of my reach.
Do not use punishment as a training method
Some people think that punishment will eventually train me to avoid undesirable behaviors. However, it is not the most effective way to teach me. I may develop a fearful attitude towards you. It is much better to use positive reinforcement and praise.
While it is not possible to avoid making mistakes as a new dog owner, it will definitely help if you are prepared for the challenge. By being familiar with these common mistakes new dog owners make, you can reduce the number of mistakes you will make. And I will then be able to grow into a well-adjusted, well behaved dog you will be proud of.