Sharing your life with a dog is a wonderful experience, they can bring a lot of joy into a home, and they're always willing to show their affection in so many different ways. Most of our four legged friends are highly intelligent and know just how to get what they want. The problem is when they are allowed to get their own way, some dogs may develop certain behavioural problems which are really hard to put right.
Below is a list of 10 common mistakes dog owners often make without realising the consequences!
Dogs need daily exercise so they stay fit and healthy and just like humans if they don't get enough, they tend to put on weight and turn into real couch potatoes. This can lead to all sorts of health issues, including respiratory and joint problems. Obviously, the amount of daily exercise you give your dog depends on their breed and size, but as a rule of thumb, vets recommend dogs get a minimum of thirty minutes every day. The best part is that taking a dog for a nice walk means you can get in shape too!
It is the easiest thing to do and one which is done with all the best intentions, but leaving your dog's food bowl full all the time means they will probably eat more than they really need to, Many dog owners leave a bowl of dry dog food down for their pets thinking they can nibble on it when they want to. The problem is your dog will probably be getting too much to eat and therefore be more at risk of putting on a few unwanted pounds. It's far better to feed your dog the recommended amount of food every day so you can keep an eye on their calorie intake.
Many dogs take their owners for a walk, pulling on their leads to their hearts content and dragging their owners along. However, according to statistics, this is one way of ending up getting hurt if your dog pulls you over. The best way to correct the problem is to enrol your dog into an obedience class, so they learn how to walk on a lead correctly. Not only will they enjoy the experience, once they know the rules, you'll find your daily “walkies” something you both enjoy free of stress!
Puppies need to be socialised and trained from a very early age so they grow up to be nicely balanced adult dogs. The first seven weeks of their lives are crucial times in their development and when they need to have as much human interaction as possible. This allows them to learn to trust people which is achieved by handling them and playing simple games they will really enjoy. A reputable breeder knows the importance of this early interaction and will do everything needed to make sure their puppies get all the attention they need. When you get a puppy or young dog, it is then up to you, as their new owner to continue socialising your dog as well as training them using positive reinforcement techniques. You'll find this helps form a very strong bond between you and your dog – something that's extremely rewarding!
Dogs don't know right from wrong unless they are taught this from an early age. You need to set the ground rules and be consistent, making it absolutely clear that certain things cannot be done – like jumping up, scratching furniture and messing in the house. However, all this needs to be taught in a positive way with lots of praise when your dog gets it right and gentle telling off when they don't! If you experience problems training your dog, you should take them to a professional dog trainer as soon as you can, otherwise correcting the problem could prove difficult!
No dog likes to be left on their own for long periods of time. However, everyone needs to go to work which means that often during the day, your pet is left to their own devices which can lead to all sorts of unwanted behavioural problems. If you can, you should try to get home at lunchtime to be with your dog and take them for a walk. If that's not possible, try to arrange for a dog walker to call in and take them out for their exercise. Another option is to leave your dog at a day care centre and then pick them up in the evening after work.
Sometimes a dog will have an “accident” and leave a puddle or worse on the floor. The one thing you must not do is tell them off for doing so – it was after all, an accident. The best way to go about it is to tell your dog how good they are when they do their business outside where they are supposed to!
Dogs have a great way of begging for table scraps with those large appealing eyes! However, this is a bad habit that should be gently nipped in the bud otherwise meal times can become unbearable. If you do want to give some table scraps to your dog, firstly you need to be sure they are good for them, and secondly you should give them as a treat and do so away from the dining room table!
Kids of all ages normally adore dogs but they can be a little too enthusiastic and demonstrative when they are around them! This can sometimes scare or stress a dog out which could result in them lashing out or knocking a child over. Toddlers often play a little too rough with dogs and other animals, so it's never a good idea to leave them unsupervised. Children need to be taught how to behave around dogs. They need to be shown how to pet them, and until they do, children should not be left alone with a dog.
All too often people feel sorry or fall in love with a dog or puppy and adopt it before they have really thought things through. Owning a dog should never be a “spur of the moment” decision – it's a long term commitment that can last anything from 10 to 15 years. Never take a dog home without having first gone through all the implications of owning them, and this includes the costs, the care and the attention they will need throughout their lives. You have to know you and your family are capable and willing to sharing your home with a dog because they will become a valued family member even if they leave a few dog hairs on the furniture and muddy prints on the floor!