Like having a child of your own, nobody was born ready when it comes to owning a dog. You may have read all the self-help and how-to blogs and articles on the Internet or in print, but there will be no exact way that they can define what experiences you are bound to undergo as a new pet owner.
It can be frustrating and disheartening at times. You will find yourself going through the trial and error process more often than you expect. You will realize that some things are inevitable and will pose a great lesson on your overall development as a fur parent.
These things should not discourage you no matter how difficult it may be. As in every journey, there is always a take-away. Your adventures – or misadventures- in raising your very first fur kid will be your stepping stone in your transformation to being an expert and responsible dog owner.
With that being said, let us list down 5 common mistakes new dog owners commit unknowingly and some tips on how to avoid them.
Picking the Right Good Boy/Girl
Believe it or not, the first blunder can start at the moment you have laid your eyes on your prospective dog. Imagine yourself entering a shelter or a kennel, your eyes gleaming in excitement, and you are just ready to fall in love with the first four-legged angel you are about to see. The feeling is incomparable, right? However, this may be leading to an oversight.
Remind yourself that first impressions do not exclusively relate to human encounters alone. It can happen when you are out there choosing a dog. You may be attracted to how tranquil and adorable they are, sitting on one corner and submissively throwing you those shy looks only to find out that they are a large ball of irrepressible energy that can sweep your humble loft in just a swing! Not that this is a bad thing, but everyone has a preference and that is very important in choosing your fluffy soulmate.
What you are seeing now will most probably change depending on how your dog adjusts in your home. There is no specific formula in choosing. Go with your instincts and listen to your heart on this one.
This is too familiar with every fur parent! Going all out and splurging is the next trap you might end up falling into. We get it. You are, of course, excited. However, you have to recognize the fact that more often than not, the amount of money you are spending goes to redundant and even useless things that you fool yourself into thinking your dog needs!
No, your dog does not need 5 different Halloween hats. Yes, one bed is enough. No, you don’t need to buy that dog treat in every flavor.
We are not against you pampering your baby. Chances are, though, that you will end up not using these things you bought in your frenzy. Why not spend on items that would really matter, such as dog vitamins and supplements? You can even start building a fund for your pet’s medical emergencies!
Whenever you are out shopping for your fur kid, have a list so you do not go astray from your original purpose. When you are out to purchase toys and accessories, come up with a specific number of items that you will allow yourself to buy. Open yourself to the possibility that should you need something in the future, you can always come back to buy it. There is no need to panic purchase everything right now.
New pet owners do not realize immediately the crucial need of every dog to learn how to socialize. A social dog will always have a strong foundation of confidence and friendliness, thus removing anxiety in dealing with people or animals they interact with for the first time.
If you happen to get a puppy, make it a habit to bring them to places where there will be a good chance for them to interact with other dogs. An example of this is the local dog park. Just ensure that your puppy is fully vaccinated to avoid diseases.
For older dogs, slowly and surely introduce them to other humans and animals. Do not bring them immediately to gatherings as this may be stressful and traumatic for them. Introduction in dogs in their later years is a gradual and consistent process, and patience is truly appreciated on your end as an owner.
Biting and Rough Play
Dogs, especially puppies, are very prone to biting and horseplay. As new dog owners, we unintentionally tolerate this because we might think this is normal and a part of their development that they will eventually outgrow. Before we know it, we have a huge boy roughing up our guests, thinking it’s all harmless fun.
This is an unhealthy mindset for both the owner and the pet. To avoid any form of rough play and play biting from progressing, we need to sternly and consistently flag at the earliest sign. Training is essential not only for your dog but also for yourself. If you happen to have a puppy, start young and never break from the set of rules you placed. Mature dogs need constant reminding. Do not lose your temper. Instead, show them how it is done even if it takes several times.
A dog with an impressive appetite is always fun to feed. This is dangerous, though. As a new owner, you may get a sense of fulfillment whenever your dog finishes what you have placed in their bowl that you are more than willing to give them seconds. Doing this often will give your dog the impression that this is the normal serving for them, and will be hungry for the same amount of food all the time. Just imagine the amount of danger you are subjecting them into! Not to mention expensive veterinarian bills in the near future if you continue this habit.
Read on how much you should be feeding your fur baby depending on their weight and amount of activity they engage in. There is nothing wrong with giving treats, especially if your dog deserves it. Why not break the treat in half instead? Also, learn to study the ingredients of the dog treat you will be purchasing. Always go for the natural!
While it is true that some of these mistakes are hard to avoid, you can always lessen the impact by doing your best to prevent them. Enjoy the ride of having your very first dog. It is nerve-wracking but seeing things turn out for the best is a pride every dog owner lives for.