Being a dog owner means a life of fun, loyal companionship for millions of people–but it can also mean a learning curve. Living with and caring for a pet can be challenging until you get the hang of it. Many dog owners make some common mistakes that can be avoided.
1. Choosing the wrong breed
One of the first mistakes that new dog owners make is that they don’t consider how different dog breeds behave when choosing a dog for themselves. Some dogs have very high energy, while other breeds are much calmer. Be sure to consider what a dog might be like before you adopt.
2. Neglecting preventative care
Dogs don’t only need care when they are sick or injured. Preventative care, which includes vaccines, regular dental hygiene, good nutrition, and exercise, is very important for keeping them healthy. Many dogs go without vaccines, dental care, and other types of preventative care because dog owners don’t realize how important these things are.
3. Correcting bad behavior instead of reinforcing good behavior
When training a dog, it’s tempting to try to teach them not to do certain things – like not using the bathroom indoors. But research shows that dogs actually learn better when we reinforce what behaviors they are allowed to perform – like, going to the bathroom outside – and let the bad behaviors fade away naturally.
One thing that dogs need is consistency. Training dogs requires a lot of repetition, but dogs also need a good daily routine that they can count on. This helps them to feel less anxious and to stay healthier.
5. Choosing the wrong toys
Not all dog toys are suited for all dogs. Some dogs do better with certain toys; this could be for health reasons, or it could simply be that a certain dog will respond better to a certain toy based on why the breed was created. Consider what your dog was born to do when choosing toys to keep them occupied.
6. Not offering enough exercise
One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners make is not offering their dog enough exercise. For most dogs, one or two daily walks around the block are not enough to keep them healthy and happy. Be sure to give your dog at least an hour or two of quality exercise a day.
7. Choosing the wrong food
Just like people, dogs need many nutrients to be healthy. The right dog food will include all the nutrients a dog needs according to their breed, age, size, and activity level.
8. Waiting to start training or socializing a puppy
Puppies are just as capable of learning as older dogs, and they are often easier to train because they have fewer behaviors to “unlearn”. Don’t wait to start teaching a dog what is acceptable.
9. Not learning to read your dog’s body language
Dogs are always communicating with us through their body language. Many accidents and illnesses can be avoided or treated better simply by learning to read your dog’s body language.
10. Expecting perfection
Finally, many dog owners expect that their well-trained dog will always behave perfectly. Remember that dogs are living creatures that make mistakes, get distracted, and have bad days – just like us!
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