Oops, five new dog owner mistakes

By Dawn Aerts

Iron County Today

There are plenty of mistakes to be made when training a dog. So if you’ve just acquired a puppy or known someone who has, here are five very common mistakes with a doggy ‘do’ list for trying to get it right.

Some mistakes happen as we take our new little pooch home from the local shelter. Yes, we are excited when he jumps on us when he’s called. Yes, we like the sound of pitter-patter-paws on our kitchen floor, and oh, how we enjoy seeing him jump on the furniture when we come into the room.

Dawn Aerts, Iron County Today

But that is the honeymoon stage of dog adoptions — before they tear up the garbage bag, piddle on the carpet, and terrorize the cat. None of these behaviors are wrong and they may not seem like huge mistakes at the time, but bad manners can lead to long term issues.

First, while dogs need plenty of care and attention from us, they’ll also need to cope with rules on how to get along with others, a visit to the vet or a groomer. That said, your newest addition will eventually encounter other people, pesky kids, complete strangers wearing a funny hat, the frail neighbor next door, other pets to name a few. In other words, the proper socialization of a new dog or puppy is absolutely necessary for keeping a peaceable home.

First, your new puppy needs to get used to the idea that you will be giving him medications, trimming his nails, putting him on a leash, and maybe cleaning his teeth from time to time. So canine should be willing to let you handle, touch, check, or clean most of his body. This will take time and some training.

Second, you can train him/her with early handling by checking their paws, mouth, lifting their legs or tails (as need be) looking into the mouth, ears and between toes along with rubbing the furry under-belly once in a while. These are all connected to imprinting your dog with sociability and patterns of acceptance.

Third, it’s important to calculate the necessary food portion for your dog, based on age, (potential) size, their energy needs and dietary health. For example, a puppy may only require a few handfuls of puppy food, versus the Great Dane that will require a very big bowl at least twice a day. With a Bichon Frise, I offer up a coffee-cup of chow twice a day.

Dog trainers also suggest keeping pets on a nutritious but consistent diet, developing a regular feeding amount and time. Like kids, our pets generally appreciate a regular routine of food, exercise and playtime.

Fourth, one of the main reasons for pet adoption is the issue of potty-training. Owners will find that new puppies and even older dogs can overcome a bag habit with planning, praise and consistency. According to animal experts, start by taking a pooch outside at the same time frame each day: just after wake up, after a meal, after playtime, and before bed is recommended.

That said, puppies (in particular) will tend to understand the potty principle as they get older. Be patient, but firm.

Finally, some dog handlers believe that a once a week shower or bath is an okay thing to do. A shower can help rid your dog or puppy of allergens, bacteria and some yeast issues. At my house, the Bichon Frise ‘hops into the shower’ reluctantly at first, but that is another story.



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