5 Mistakes New Dog Owners Make
It’s easy to fall in love with animals at adoption centers and rush into bringing one home. But before you bring a new dog home, set yourself (and your dog) up for success by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Research breeds ahead of time. Try not to get overwhelmed by all the cuteness in front of you at an adoption fair or pet store. It’s best to make an informed decision about what type of dog will suit your home situation best. If you don’t have a yard or don’t have time for lots of walks, a smaller, sleepier breed will be best. If you live on a ranch, border collies and Australian shepherds will thrive with all the space to run around. Think realistically about what type of life you can offer your dog and choose your breed based on that.
2. Carefully dog-proof your home. Puppies and untrained dogs love to chew on anything they can get their teeth on. Before you bring your new friend home, clean up wires, shoes, poisonous plants, and anything else that could make your dog sick (and that you wouldn’t want destroyed!).
3. Don’t start bad habits. If don’t want a dog begging at the table and taking up space in your bed every night, don’t start feeding them at the table or letting them sleep in bed with you. It’s as simple as that. If you reward the begging by feeding them at the table, they’ll learn to keep doing it. So be careful about the behavior you reinforce so you can avoid training them into unwanted behaviors.
4. Listen to your vet’s advice. You may not get behind making your dog wear a cone after surgery or an incision, but listen to your vet. You could wind up with bigger problems, or bigger vet bills, down the road if you eschew his advice.
5. Start training early. Socialize your dog early on. A good rule of thumb is to introduce your puppy to 100 new people before 4 months old. And during that time, practice walking on a leash, sitting, staying, coming. You can start training as early as 7 weeks.
Follow these tips and you and your pooch should have plenty of good times together!