Common Mistakes New Dog Owners Make

Common Mistakes New Dog Owners Make
Common Mistakes New Dog Owners Make
Mixed breed dog showing off some common mistakes new dog owners make
Mixed breed dog showing off some common mistakes new dog owners make

(Photo credit: Capuski / Getty Images)

Bringing home a new puppy or adult dog is an exciting experience. But, there are a lot of mistakes new dog owners make that can cause problems down the line. Here are some of the most common ones, and how to avoid them.

Lack of preparation

Just like the Scout motto, it’s important to “be prepared” — and that goes for owning a pet too. Before you even consider bringing home a new dog, it’s important to know what to expect. Read up on our dog breed guides if you’re looking to adopt a specific breed. Peruse this site for more on basic training

It’s also important to prep your home before your new furry friend arrives. If you’re bringing home a puppy, it’s important to puppy-proof your home to prevent accidents, chewed furniture, and access to dangerous items. You also want to have all the right items on hand, such as food and water dishes, bedding, cleaning supplies, toys, leashes, tags, and more.

Inadequate socialization

It’s important to socialize your dog. Puppies undergo a critical socialization period where it’s best to expose them to as many new things as possible. This includes other dogs, people, animals, places, and situations. It’s also important to work on training techniques that help teach your dog to give signals when feeling overwhelmed in a new situation. By teaching them to express calming behaviors, they’ll be less likely to be fearful in a new situation down the line.

Inconsistent discipline and training

Consistency and routine are your best friends when it comes to having a dog in the home. Dogs thrive on knowing what to expect, and maintaining a consistent schedule and training routine can help them settle in more quickly. Be sure to set rules from the start, follow a routine when you go on a walk or have meals, and gradually introduce any new changes. 

It’s also important to maintain trust when training. Be sure to follow a positive reinforcement training schedule on your own or with a trainer. This can help build trust while working on unwanted behaviors, setting boundaries, and establishing a routine.

Neglecting health and safety

Routine healthcare is important for keeping your dog feeling their best. It’s recommended that adult dogs see a vet at least once a year for a physical, while puppies and senior pets should be seen more often due to rapid changes in growth and health status. This can help spot any issues before they become serious (and costly) problems. 

Vaccines and routine dental care are also important. Follow your vet’s recommendations for vaccine schedules that are best for your dog and your location. Regular dental cleanings are also important for maintaining good health. Not only does it keep your dog’s teeth clean, but it can also reduce the chances of chronic conditions such as heart disease as your dog ages.

Inadequate diet and exercise

A good diet and sufficient exercise are just as important as veterinary care to keep your dog healthy. In fact, diet and exercise can help prevent health issues down the line such as arthritis and diabetes. Make sure you’re following your vet’s recommendations, such as a prescription diet to address any health issues, or a commercial diet that is designed for your pet’s age and activity. Daily exercise can also help keep off extra weight and keep the joints healthy. Consider going on a walk, or trying some of these other outdoor activities.

While these are some common mistakes dog owners make, knowing what to watch out for can help prevent future problems. Bringing home a new pet is a fun, wonderful time, and having the right knowledge and tools on hand can help it go smoothly.

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