Owning a dog is a massive responsibility and one that should never be taken too lightly. Our clever canine companions need to be treated fairly and kindly in order to build up a trust with them as well as a mutual respect. Puppies are incredibly receptive and therefore impressionable which is why it's so important to get it right from the moment you introduce a young dog into your home.
However, there are certain things that owners often get wrong with their dogs and often they do so without even realising it. Below is a list of the most common mistakes people make when they are with their dogs.
Dogs are very quick to pick up on any messages you send out to them. A pat or reward given at the wrong time will send the wrong message to your canine companion which could result in making an unwanted behaviour that much worse.
If you show affection to your dog when they are misbehaving or doing something you are trying to correct, you are in fact reinforcing the behaviour and not correcting it at all. At the other end of the scale, it's really important to reward a dog straight away when they are good because you want them to recognise when you are pleased with them.
Dogs need to know who is the boss in the household because knowing their place means they are much happier and well-balanced characters all round. The best way to reinforce the fact you are top dog, is to regularly take your dog out for a walk on a lead, making sure they walk beside you, not in front and not lagging behind either.
Once a dog has learnt to walk nicely beside you the rest falls nicely into place with them fully appreciating just who is the boss, namely you. The difference in their behaviour might come as a surprise because all it takes is for your dog to know you are the leader of their pack and it's not them that rule the roost!
It's all too easy to fall into the trap of giving dogs food from the table, especially when they give you those big old loving eyes. All too often people give in which can lead to all sorts of unwanted begging behaviours like whining, crying and whimpering every time you put any food on your dining table. The thing to remember is that many human foods are really quite bad for our canine friends because they tend to be that much harder for them to digest. Some people food is even very toxic to our canine friends so it's best not to give them anything at all.
It's not just letting them jump up at people every time they meet them that you need to worry about when you first introduce a puppy into your home because letting them jump up on furniture could prove costly to their well being too. This includes running up and down stairs which could have a very negative impact on their bones and joints especially as they get older.
It is far better not to let puppies and young dogs act like acrobats because you are helping preserve their joints and bones which reduces the chances of them developing any crippling disorders like arthritis!
It's important to bear in mind that one size collar does not fit all dogs and that some of our canine friends need to wear harnesses when being taken out for a walk rather than a collar. This includes breeds like the Pug. However, this doesn't mean your pet should not wear a collar at all times because like this you can attach their ID tag onto it which is important in the event just you lose them when out on a walk in the park or countryside!
You need to keep an eye on your dog's nails too because if they are allowed to grow too long, it could make walking very uncomfortable and painful for your pet. Clipping and trimming nails, has to be started as early as possible so that your dog does not object to having it done when they are older and when often they are that much stronger which makes it so much harder to do.
However, if you don't feel comfortable clipping or trimming your dog's nails yourself, then you should take them to a grooming parlour to have this done professionally or you might discuss having them done when you take your dog for a health check at the vet.
Not only is it essential to crate train your dog from a young age, but it's just as important to ensure the cage you put them in is indeed the right size for them. If the cage is too big, you may find they feel too insecure in it. If on the other hand, the cage is too small, your dog will find the whole experience far too traumatic and it will stress them out too much. This could result in them resenting being put in a cage which could make life very difficult when you need to travel them in the car with you.
Your dog needs to be able to stand up in the cage and they have to be able to turn around in it quite freely. If they can't, then you need to invest in the next size up straight away.
Rubbing a dog's nose in their mess when they have an accident around the house is a terrible old wife's tale and one that you should never, ever do. You could end up really scaring your canine friend at a time when they are probably not very happy at the fact the “accident” happened anyway.
Rubbing their nose in their mess will instil fear in your dog which they will then associate with doing their “business”. This is the wrong message to be sending to them altogether. If you find they have made a mess in the house, your best reaction is to let them out in the garden or take them out for a walk and then clean up the mess calmly making sure you use a pet friendly disinfectant when you do.