We all try to the best pet parents possible, but there are some pet pitfalls we can all be guilty of at one point or another. While we may not be perfect, making an effort to correct these common bad habits will make you and your pet’s life better in the long run.
1. Bad Timing
Everything we do sends a message to our pet. Did you know that giving your dog affection at the wrong time can send the wrong message and worsen unwanted behavior? Giving affection during desired behaviors and decline during unwanted behaviors is an important thing to remember.
2. Who’s the Boss
Who leads when you go for a walk? Do you have a patient pet sitting and waiting for his meal? Do you have your pet’s respect or is he jumping and climbing all over you uninvited? All of these things are worth taking a second glance at if you want to establish a leadership role in your dog’s life.
The key to any training is consistency; if you’re not consistent, you’re not going to get the result you want. Doesn’t matter if it’s dogs, cats, people or even elephants – learning is achieved through identifying patterns. There are many tips and tricks out there like word choice and repetition to ensure your pup knows you’re the boss! (even though your fur-baby likely rules your world)
3. Table Food Does Not Equal Love
So many times we get trapped by the sad eyes looking up at us while we are eating dinner or making something for ourselves in the kitchen. They stare, they cry, their tails wag and we eventually give in. The alarming fact is that most table foods we give to our dogs are very bad for them and we are creating some pretty bad habits.
Dairy products, grapes, chocolate, caffeine and onions are just a few of the many things that you should never give to your dog. Don’t take the chance and give them a dog safe treat instead…no matter how big those sad eyes get!
4. To Spay or Not to Spay, There is NO Question
Talk to your vet about the adverse effects of not spaying or neutering your pet. In addition to the health benefits, millions of dogs and cats end up in shelters and millions are euthanized each year due to irresponsible breeding and unwanted unexpected pregnancies. There are many misconceptions about this topic and it’s important to be educated.
Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
5. I Am Not a Human
Treating our dog like a little human is essentially ignoring the things that make them the happiest. Loving them like they are your child and treating them like they are your child are two totally different things. Don’t forget that they are dogs and have doggy needs and doggy instincts.
While a lot of what a dog needs is similar to humans, there are many other things that are important to incorporate into their lives. Make sure your pup is getting proper exercise for their breed, age, and size. Understanding that dogs diet differs from yours and dogs can’t have certain foods such as chocolate, grapes, and dairy. Talk to your vet to find out what foods would be best for your beloved fur-baby.
6. No Such Thing as Doggy Dentures
Taking time to care for your dogs teeth can help improve their quality of life. The older your dog gets the more they’re going to need those chompers. Ignoring a dogs dental hygiene can lead to other health problems in your pet so talk to your vet about a good oral health care plan right away.
7. “He’s Just Big Boned”
Over feeding is a common problem and can have some damaging effects on a dog’s overall health, like joint issues or dangerous bloating for example. You may be shocked to find out that your little friend is tipping the scale in the wrong direction. Find out the right amount of food your dog needs and how often they should eat. Providing them with adequate exercise is also important.
8. Bath Time Blues
Bathing your dog too often can actually cause excessive dryness and do more harm than good. There are many alternatives to a full bath that you might want to consider. You can use doggy bathing wipes for a quick fix or a waterless shampoo. Sometimes a good doggy deodorant spray and brushing can curb the need for a full bath. Also consider cleaning out your dog’s ears and jowls as well if they have a bit of an odor.
9. The Little Acrobat
Smaller dogs may seem like little jumping beans but allowing them to take flying leaps off high furniture can negatively effect their joints later in life. Consider stairs for smaller dogs to help preserve healthy hips and joints.
10. Collar Me Bad
When it comes to getting a collar for your dog you must consider your dog’s breed and his particular needs. One size does not fit all! For example, pug like dogs need a harness that controls from the underarm instead of the neck due to their short snout. Talk to your vet and do your research. It’s important to have control during a walk without doing damage, obstructing breathing or making it unpleasant and uncomfortable for your dog.
11. Neglected Nails
It’s easy to forget about trimming your dog’s nails but it’s something that has to be a priority. Nails that are too long can effect a dog’s gait and it can’t be overlooked. When trimming your dog’s nails be sure not to cut too short. It’s important to find the vein that runs through the nail and be careful not to cut beyond that point. If you or your dog have some reservations about the process then you can go to a groomer or your vet.
12. Crate Me Happy
Crate training takes advantage of your dog’s natural instincts as a den animal. A wild dog’s den is their home-a place to sleep, hide from danger and raise a family. The crate becomes your dog’s den, where they can find comfort and solitude while you know they’re safe and secure (and not shredding your house while you’re out running errands).
Choosing the wrong size crate for your dog can mean the difference between success and disaster. A crate that is too big will not allow the dog to have a “denning” experience. An oversized crate will also make potty training far more difficult considering they can move away from any accidents they have. When a crate is too small it can cause anxiety and will not be a calming place for your dog. Your dog should be able to comfortably stand and turn completely around in the crate.
13. “Just rub their nose in it”
This is a commonly referred to method of discipline when an accident in the house occurs. This is also not a good way to make your point. Rubbing a dog’s nose in its urine could cause fear associated with the urge to eliminate and it’s not likely at all that they are getting the message you are trying to send.
14. Staring Problem
Have you ever been walking your dog and suddenly he freezes while locking eyes on another dog or a specific object? This is your dog fixating and it’s not something to just ignore. Fixating can lead to unwanted or erratic behaviors. When you notice your dog fixating it’s important to break their concentration with a tap, vocal cue or a leash lead.
Stay healthy and have fun doing it with these other resources