Getting a dog for the first time and bringing that dog home is one of the most exciting experience i can think off. Being a first time owner, there are mistakes we make that can be as a result of us not doing proper research. I have put together common mistakes most new dog owners make (to clarify, i wasn’t completely innocent on this when i first got a dog).
Getting a dog when you are not ready
Not every breed of dog is the right dog for you and your environment. This is one of the common mistakes we make. Remember it is our responsibility to take care of our dog and they can be very heavy responsibilities if you are not truly ready for them
In Nigeria for example, people purchase dogs they see just because the puppy looks cute and attractive. Not knowing that it might be a giant breed and can be very demanding. You should take out time to read more on dogs basic need and finding the right dog.
Dogs do not naturally learn how to behave unless they are taught. Some dogs like humans, are very fast learners while others needs more training and time to master that routine. Ignoring training can lead to health, social and even emotional problems for your dog.
Confusing your dog with rules
When enforcing a rule on your dog, be consistent. Don’t teach your dog something today and go back on such the next day. Don’t call your dog jack today and spikey tomorrow. you may end up confusing your dog. Before you bring a new dog into the house, teach the family and any one in the house what to do and what not to do with the dog( again, you have to do lots of research on this). I was guilty of this when i first got a dog. trying to teach my new dog when and what time to expect food, I was consistent with the routine for almost two weeks but i got to find out that my little sister has been for some days giving the dog food when she goes playing with the dog. That spoilt everything for me back then.
In all my time i have learnt that One of the key to success is setting the rules and making sure everyone follows them.
Rewarding your dog for no reason
No one loves a dog with bad behaviours. Most of this behaviours are caused by us. dogs should only be rewarded when they have done the right thing. Praising dogs, giving treats and even showing love and affection when your dog has just dug a hole in the backyard will only prove to the dog that it is doing a great job. For you to have a happy dog, you must learn to balance love and discipline.
Not socializing your dogs
For me, this is the worse mistake any dog owner can make. Socialization allows dog to get used to the things in the environment like animals, objects,people, and various situations. A Dog that lacks proper socialization may develop phobias that can lead to other problems.
Lack of exercise
One of the basic needs of your dog no matter the breed or size is exercise. A lack of exercise could make your dog develop behaviour issues and even become obese which could lead to health problems. Depending on the energy level of your dog, just a simple walk everyday will do.
Mistakes of avoiding the veterinarian
A vet should be the closest person to your dog after your family. You should ensure your dog has proper check up at least twice a year. When your dog is showing signs that something is wrong, don’t wait till it gets worse, call a vet. Dogs are good at hiding sickness. You have to be extra vigilant and pay much attention to any change in the behaviour of your dog.
Leaving them alone for too long
Some dogs can become destructive if left for a very long time. Loneliness can make your dog feel neglected and unloved which could lead to unusual behaviour.
Overfeeding your dog
Dogs can eat more than they should be eating, therefore It is left to you to control their feeding. Obesity in dogs can be very dangerous, it can reduce the lifespan of a dog. We should also be careful of the type of food we give our dogs. Some might be very dangerous. Remember that some human food are toxic to dogs.
No one is perfect when it comes to handling dogs so you shouldn’t get tensed when your dog is misbehaving. Some breed might be very stubborn especially not correctly combined mixed breed. Before you choose a dog, please make sure you are well prepared for it. They are people who offer to train dogs in case we are finding it difficult or we may not have the time. Depending on your location, these dog trainers are everywhere.
We should try not to be harsh to our dogs, not all of them would react same. Some may scared while others could get aggressive. We must try to balance love and discipline for us to have a happy home with our pet. I faced lots of challenges when i first got a dog and gradually over the years, i learnt from my mistakes. Do not wait to encounter the mistakes before you learn. If you have any question please use the comment section below and i would be happy to help.