The 4 Mistakes You Should Not Make If You Have Your First Dog

The 4 Mistakes You Should Not Make If You Have Your First Dog

Start working with your new puppy or dog as soon as you have it. This will help you to get them to cut their nails, visit the vet or go to the hairdresser in peace.

I love meeting first time dog owners. They’re super excited about their pups – or their adult dogs, if they’ve adopted them from a shelter. That’s why today I’m going to do my best to make sure you’re on the right track with your new pet.

Talking to them, I see the same mistakes over and over again. They probably won’t seem like bugs, especially to a new dog dad, but they sure can cause problems with a dog’s long-term health and behavior.

If you just got a dog or know someone who has, here are four common mistakes first-time dog owners make and how to correct them.

What should not be done

Wait for situations to arise

Dogs need a lot of handling throughout their lives. They will have to go to the vet, nursery or hairdresser. They will find children, neighbors and strangers who want to pet them, with permission of course. They need to have their teeth brushed and their nails trimmed, and they may need to take pills or other types of medication.

The best thing you can do to prepare your dog for all this necessary attention is to get him used to being touched anywhere, including his paws and more private areas.

This is an easy thing to practice every day, especially when you are young. While he is lying next to you or on your lap while you watch TV, he touches his paws, holding them firmly but gently. Look into his ears. He lifts his tail and checks his butt. He gently pats her belly and gives her groin area a spin. He lifts his snout and looks at his teeth. This is also a good way for you to learn what is normal so he can monitor his body condition and spot problems early.

He starts brushing her teeth soon. The sooner he gets used to it, the easier it will be for him to accept. Same with clipping her nails. You can do one or two nails a day and cut a little by yourself. Be careful not to go “fast”.

To get him used to taking medicines, give them mixed with cheese or sweets, as if it were a prize, so he will eat them more easily.

Not measuring food

Of course it’s important for puppies to grow, but we don’t want them to grow too big or too fast. That can put undue pressure on your still-forming musculoskeletal structure, which can lead to orthopedic problems later in life.

Talk to your vet about the best type of food for your dog. Large breeds can benefit from diets that allow for slow but steady growth, while small dogs tend to require energy-dense foods. In either case, it’s important to measure your dog’s food and give it at specific times rather than free feeding (leaving food out all the time). This helps ensure that he doesn’t eat too much and become overweight.

Don’t use food puzzles

A good way to exercise your dog’s brain and body is by feeding him a food puzzle or food dispensing device. Measure out the right amount of food, place it in the toy, and watch it “catch” food from it by pushing or otherwise manipulating the toy to get the food. This is a great way to keep him busy while you’re at work and to make sure he gets some physical activity and mental stimulation.

Not taking training at home seriously

One of the most common reasons dogs are released to shelters is for behavior problems, and one of those problems occurs in the home. That’s heartbreaking because it’s a preventable problem. All it takes is organization, consistency (as dog trainer Cathy Blanc says), praise, and rewards.

Take your dog outside at specific times: the first time after waking up, after every meal, after playing, and just before bedtime. After your dog relieves himself spend a little time playing with him, otherwise he won’t want to pee and poop right away if all you’re going to do is drag him back home once he’s done.

When you are in the house, avoid accidents. Don’t give a young or new dog the whole house to himself right away. Keep it where you can see it. If you can’t keep an eye on him, put him in his basket or his bed, or a small dog-proof room (maybe the kitchen). As he gets older, he will be more physically able to hold his urine and stool for longer periods. He will also have learned that he comes out at specific times.

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