7 Mistakes New Dog Owners Make That You Need to Avoid

Getting a new dog can be really exciting. There are many benefits to getting a dog: they are fun to have around your family, they are extremely lovable and they are great to encourage you to be healthy and social.

A dog is a great companion to have around the house, however, it won’t always be easy. Depending on your lifestyle, the breed of the dog you get, and a range of other factors, there are going to be a lot of hurdles and challenges that you need to overcome before life with a dog gets easy.

This includes getting used to your home and lifestyle, introducing it to your family and friends, training your new dog, setting rules and boundaries, and more. While there are many things you have to do, there are also an equal number of things you must avoid.

To help you on your journey to getting a new dog, here are some common mistakes new dog owners make that you need to avoid.

mistakes new dog owners make intro image

Not engaging in training

Training your dog from the beginning is vital for a happy life with your dog. If you don’t, you will be making a huge mistake. Dogs need to be trained in basic commands such as sit and recall when they are off the lead will help you keep control over your dog and make life much easier.

It will also keep your dog safe in situations that warrant it. Life can be very difficult if your dog does not listen, and your dog will walk all over you, which can become stressful and lead to other behavioral problems. You can find help with training here https://alldogsunleashed.com

black lab smiling at the camera

Not considering the needs of the breed

It is a big mistake to think that dogs are easy or to think all dogs are the same. Many dog owners will see dogs on the television or have had a dog in the past, and believe that getting another dog will be exactly the same, and easy. This is far from the truth.

All dog breeds are different, and even dogs of the same breed are going to have their own personalities. They may have also formed their own habits and behaviors depending on what age you bring them home.

It is important to research the particular breed you are bringing home, and take time with your four-legged friend to learn about them, how they behave, their temperament, their needs, and more.

Start with what that breed was intended for. Look at those traits those are things you are not going to train out of that dog. You are stuck with that drive. 

German shepherd dog

Here are a few examples. 

  • Dachshunds – are hunting dogs that are meant to go underground and flush out any small rodents. They are going to do just that no matter how much you don’t want them to.
  • Border Collies – They are herding dogs that were meant to move a flock of sheep where they were told to move them. That dog is second in command and they will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Including nip at your toddler who is not listening to them. 
  • German Shepherd: Again a herding dog.

I have seen so many people get upset because the dog they got isn’t doing something it wasn’t intended to do. So really look into the breed before you

Not Feeding Your Dog The Right Foods

All dogs, just like humans, are going to have specific dietary requirements. If you don’t consider this, you are making a huge mistake to the detriment of your dog’s health. It is important that you consider what food is important for dogs to have in their diet, in addition to the dietary requirements of the specific breed.

dog siting by a bowl

Overfeeding Your Dog

Overfeeding your dog can lead to serious health consequences, the most common being obesity. Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can increase the risk of various health problems such as heart disease, joint issues, and a decreased lifespan. It can also cause discomfort and make it difficult for them to move and exercise.

It is crucial to feed your dog a balanced diet with high-quality ingredients to ensure they are getting the necessary nutrients without excess calories. Limiting treats and table scraps is also important in maintaining a healthy weight for your dog.

Monitoring your dog’s weight is essential to identify any potential weight problems. Regular weigh-ins (if you have a small dog your can pick them up and stand on a scale) and body condition scoring can help you keep track of their weight and body composition. If you notice that your dog is gaining weight, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to develop a plan to help them lose weight in a healthy way.

Also, think of it like this. Your dog is going to be much happier if you keep it trim and don’t have to restrict the food to lose weight.

Feeding Dogs From The Table

Oh my gosh, this is one thing I almost had to fight with my in-laws about.

Feeding dogs from the table can pose several risks to their health and behavior.

Firstly, it encourages begging behavior, as dogs learn that they may receive food from the table if they persistently beg. This can become a nuisance during mealtimes and can lead to disruptive behavior.

More importantly, this leads the dog to think they are equal to you. This causes them to question your authority and even decide not to mind you because they don’t see you as the leader but as an equal.

dog sitting under a table

Sorry they are not. The pack leader (thats you the pet owner) does not eat with the rest of the dogs. So you need to wait until you are done eating and feed the dogs away from the table if you choose to do so.

Additionally, feeding dogs from the table can also lead to them consuming toxic foods. Many common human foods are actually toxic to dogs, including chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, and xylitol (found in sugar-free products). Consumption of these foods can lead to serious health issues for dogs, including kidney failure, liver damage, and even death.

To ensure the health and well-being of your dog, it is important to choose high-quality foods that are whole foods that have not been processed.

Letting Your Dog Walk You

Allowing your dog to walk you can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety and obedience training. An obedient dog is less likely to pose potential hazards to themselves, you, or others while out on a walk. It’s crucial to invest time in training your dog to walk on a loose leash, listen to commands, and behave appropriately around distractions.

make walking a dog

A poorly trained dog can pose dangers such as pulling on the leash, lunging at strangers or other animals, or chasing after cars. To prevent accidents, always supervise your dog closely during walks, especially when a child is the one walking the dog.

A dog should never be left unattended with a child, as they may inadvertently trigger the dog’s prey drive or unpredictable behavior.

Not Paying Attention To The Heat

In hot weather, it’s essential to prioritize the safety of your dog during walks. Always bring water for your dog to stay hydrated or keep them short. A little regular exercise is better than none at all.

Avoid walking on hot pavement. I see this ALL THE TIME during the summer. People bring their dogs with them on trips and will just hang out in the parking lot of a restaurant on a burning black top.

Pay attention to signs of heat stress. Shorter walks during cooler times of the day and providing shade breaks can help prevent overheating.

Ignoring Bad Behavior

Behavioral issues in dogs can manifest in various ways, such as aggression, anxiety, fear, or destructive behavior. It’s important to be observant of your dog’s communication signals, such as body language, vocalizations, and interactions with other dogs and people, to recognize any potential behavioral issues. Seeking advice from a veterinarian or professional trainer can provide valuable insight into the underlying reasons for your dog’s behavior.

Family waking with a dog

Once the root of the issue is identified, implementing specific training strategies can help address common behavioral issues. For example, positive reinforcement training can be effective for addressing issues such as fear or aggression. Creating a structured routine and providing mental and physical stimulation can help reduce anxiety and destructive behavior.

It’s crucial to address these issues promptly and effectively to ensure a happy and well-behaved pet. By understanding and addressing behavioral issues, you can strengthen the bond with your dog and create a harmonious living environment for both you and your furry friend.

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Not Setting Boundaries and Not Enforcing Them 

1. House Rules: No jumping on furniture, no begging at the table, no going upstairs, and no chewing on shoes or household items.

2. Boundaries: Control and limit access to certain areas of the house, such as the kitchen or bedrooms. Decide on set areas for eating, sleeping, and playtime.

3. Consistency: Enforce the rules and boundaries consistently. All family members must be on the same page and communicate with each other to make sure the pet receives clear, consistent messages.

4. Family Involvement: Each family member should take part in training and enforcing the rules. This helps the pet understand that the rules apply to everyone.

5. Consequences: When the rules are broken, the consequence could be a time out in a designated area, a removal of attention, or a firm verbal command.

By setting clear house rules and boundaries, consistently enforcing them, involving all family members, and implementing consequences for breaking the rules, your pet will understand what is expected of them and feel secure in their environment. This will help create a calm, happy atmosphere for all involved.

Dogs are excellent pets to bring home. Make sure you look after them and give them a happy life, by avoiding these common mistakes.

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