Common Mistakes with New Dogs

For most new dog owners, can become a frustrating endeavor if any of the following mistakes are made. Most of these mistakes are as a result of a misunderstanding of some of the fundamental differences between humans and dogs. Although there are some similarities between humans and animals, failure to make the proper distinctions will result in unresolved obedience and behavior problems.

Mistake #1 – If you treat your dog like a child, your dog will treat you like an animal. Little puppies are some of the most adorable creatures and it is easy to coddle a puppy the same way we would a child. However, dogs communicate different from humans. Dogs have instincts that humans do not have. I hope the examples may give some insight into the differences which need to be made. By recognizing these differences, it will empower you to make incredible progress both in training and bonding.  .

Mistake #2 – Failure to use a crate for training purposes. Many people are under the impression that confining a dog to a crate is cruel or inhumane. Actually, dogs have what is known as a den instinct. If a dog were out in the wild, it would seek out a safe place to dig a large hole, known as a den and crawl in to sleep as well as protect itself from the elements. The den gives the dog a sense of safety and security. It gives the pet owner the ability to control the dog’s activities when the owner is not able to watch the dog. This will help the pet owner to accelerate the housebreaking process as well as protect their personal belongings from damage as a result of chewing. Most dog owners leave their puppy in the crate during the day while they are at work. People that are at home during the day can utilize the crate in the morning or the afternoon to put the dog down for a nap or a “time out” when the dog gets unruly.

Mistake #3 – Giving the dog too much freedom without restraints. How long would a mother leave an 18 month old child unattended?? Most potty accidents and damage to personal property during crate training occur when the pet owner leaves their dog unattended.  Dog’s need 100 percent supervision during the various learning phases of their development. Failure to monitor your dog’s activities is an accident waiting to happen.
Mistake #4 – Lack of structure. Many new puppy owners think their puppy is too young to learn some of the basic commands such as sit or stay so they wait until the puppy is older to begin a formal training program. By waiting to train your puppy, you will be inadvertently permitting inappropriate behavior (bad habits) to develop and it will make it that much more difficult to correct the problems later when the dog is set in their ways, and much larger, making the training somewhat more difficult. Train up a puppy in the way that it should go, and when it is older, it shall not depart from it.
Mistake #5 – Giving your dog too much love. That may sound outrageous to some pet owners. How can you give too much love?  Essentially, this is one of those issues that need to be understood in terms of making the proper distinctions between human and animals. Everyone knows that a dog will give unconditional love even to an abusive owner. We feel inclined to reciprocate with the same unconditional love. This may be one of the greatest single factors that contribute to an unruly misbehaving puppy or dog.

I am not saying that we should not give our dogs love and affection. What I am saying is, dogs learn by association. If your dog only associates you with love and no limits, restrictions or boundaries, your dog will control you and your home as well as embarrass you every time you have company visit. A little discipline and structure will go a long way in communicating what is appropriate. Praise and affection should be done in connection with complying to a request.  Your dog will associate affection with acts of compliance and will be more likely to follow your lead.  It’s not to say you can’t give random acts of kindness, but when your establishing leadership, it’s always better to ask your dog to do something for it. If your dog understands that nothing in life is FREE, it will never take your love for him for granted.

Mistake # 6 – The owner is afraid to discipline their dog. Most pet owners have a pet for the purpose of companionship and the unconditional love animal’s offer. Many puppy owners feel if they discipline their dog for inappropriate behavior that their dog will not love them as much or be as playful. Just the opposite is true. Once a dog understands that there are boundaries as to what is and is not acceptable, the dog’s ability to love actually increases because it thrives on knowing what is expected of him. Discipline will vary from one dog to the next depending upon many factors, but to ignore discipline is to invite problems which will go unresolved for years if permitted. Discipline should NEVER be given when frustrated or angry, and depending on the celebrity gossip dog, it could break their spirit and trust.  Ask them once, and if they don’t comply, you must help them complete the command.  If you repeat the command over and over, or allow them to get away with something, it will  weaken your leadership.