Getting a new puppy is of course very rewarding and exciting, and it can also be something of an emotional rollercoaster too as you try to get your pup settled in, feeling happy, and used to their new living situation, without inadvertently allowing them to get into bad habits!
Added to this, the growth and both physical and mental development of the puppy is very quick too, with many milestones, firsts, and formative moments to pass through, some of which may not even appear to be as significant as they are until well after the event! We’ve already covered five of the common mistakes that new puppy owners should try to avoid in this previous article-and so in this article, we will expand on and add to this information with another five common mistakes for new puppy owners to avoid! Read on to learn more.
There is a very fine line when it comes to new puppies between making them feel comfortable and at home with you and letting them do whatever they want to and get into bad habits, and one of the main pitfalls to avoid in this respect relates to food.
Food and treats are arguably the largest motivators when it comes to dogs, and can help you to accomplish all manner of things, from successful training to encouraging a shy dog out of their shell, to helping your puppy bond with you-but using food as a currency to buy your pup’s happiness is a big, and yet easy to make mistake!
You puppy should have reliable set mealtimes with their food divided up into appropriate portions, and their food should be measured out for them precisely each day. You should also work into your dog’s food calculations how many treats they can have in a day too-taking into account both the calories, and the value of the reward.
Bribing your puppy with too many treats or giving them food anytime they ask for it will not only make your life harder, but also do your pup a disservice too.
You’re probably already thinking ahead to training your puppy and how this will work when you first bring them home-but training a dog isn’t like sending a child off to school for the first time, and it is not something that should commence at a set time and on a set date! Training should begin from the first day your pup comes home-not in terms of taking them out to a class or a field and running them through drills, but in terms of letting them know what is and is not allowed, and correcting your puppy or praising them appropriately as they begin to learn.
A surprising number of new puppy owners can be reluctant to encourage their pups to socialise with other dogs as much as they really should, thinking that the puppy is too young, too small, or the other dogs too large and boisterous, and so, a potential danger to your puppy.
However, as soon as your pup gets the ok to go outside after their vaccinations, you should begin making proactive attempts to allow them to meet and socialise with other dogs at every possible opportunity, and try to ensure that this is a good mixture of different dogs including plenty of chances to meet strange dogs too.
Puppies learn as much, if not more, from other dogs as they do from people, and avoiding socialisation is one of the biggest mistakes the new puppy owner can possibly make.
Because puppies are small, cute and delicate, they tend to trigger the protective instincts in people, which often translates as a desire to wrap them in cotton wool and shield them from the world! However, just as this approach is counterproductive when it comes to children-for instance, if your child grazes their knee, making a big fuss about it may cause them to cry, while minimising it and treating it as no big deal is more likely to encourage them to carry on as normal.
The same is true for puppies-if they are scared, shy or nervous, or something is going on that makes them wary, do not pander to this and shower them with sympathy-this is the fastest way to reinforce their fears and raise a nervous adult dog.
Instead, behave normally and this itself will reassure your pup that there is nothing to fear, and encourage them to carry on as normal.
So you come down in the morning to find that your pup has made a mess on the floor… your instinctive reaction may be to tell them off, but bite your tongue! First of all, if a young puppy is destroying things or toileting inside of the house, this is apt to be either due to a lack of understanding or because you have failed to provide for their needs in that respect-and also, your puppy will have no idea what they have done wrong if you tell them off after the event.
Don’t make a big fuss, but clear up promptly and look at ways in which you can prevent the issue arising again in the future.