Puppies have this super power where they hypnotize humans with their complete and utter cuteness in order to distract us from the naughty behaviors that, incurred in puppy-hood, can be carried into adulthood. Then, once those sappy puppy antics wear off, so do the blinders, leaving dog owners baffled and wondering, “Where did these behaviors come from?”
Making the decision to bring a puppy home may seem straightforward and simple, but there are some important considerations you need to take, especially if you’re a first time puppy owner. Having a puppy can be a lifelong commitment that, like a child, requires a general plan for what to expect and how to raise it to avoid behavior issues that can lead to consequences in the long run. Here are 6 common mistakes that first time puppy owners make and how to avoid them.
Getting a Puppy Without Doing Research
You roll up to the rescue shelter and as soon as you lay eyes on that puppy, boom: that hypnotizing puppy power is at work again. A yip and a yap and you are out the door with a puppy whose breed you may know little about. All breeds come with a different set of personality traits, and it’s crucial to do some research to determine what it is you are looking for in a pet. Also, take into consideration where you live and the general environment the pup will grow up in. Once, I had a neighbor that lived in the apartment below me with two ponies, er, I mean Great Danes. At times, it sounded like the entire duplex was going to come crashing down. She ended up having to either to move out or give them up—not a happy situation.
Not Listing House Rules
Every family has those strict rules of the house and the same should should be enforced for your new pup. Before bringing the little cutie home, come up with a list of house rules and stick to them. Are there certain rooms in your house that you would like to be off limits? Don’t want the puppy up on the bed or sofa? Think it through, come up with a list, and then most important of all: follow through!
“Puppies Are Too Young to Learn”
False. Puppies generally leave their mother’s side by eight weeks, and at this time they are more than ready to begin training. In fact, it’s best to start as soon as possible. The earlier you start, you’ll not only get a well-behaved dog, but the bond you two create will be a strong one based on loyalty and respect.
Laughing Instead of Saying “No”
The puppy gives off a cute little wolf howl when you leave him in his crate and you just can’t stand it—so you let him out. Whenever you come home from work, nothing brightens your day more than that ball of fur falling all over himself jumping on your legs. Yes, it’s freaking adorable now, but will it still be when the pup grows into an 80 pound adult? Letting these habits go or thinking they’ll grow out of them isn’t a smart route to take. Think about your puppy’s behavior and put a stop to it pronto, because they can become hard-to-break patterns once they are full grown.
Forgetting that Puppies are Chewers
It’s no secret that when left to their own devices, puppies like to chew. A lot. And they chew everything. You can try to combat this by buying a heap of chew toys, but a puppy doesn’t see any difference between a squeaky ball and a shoe. If you want to avoid excessive chew destruction, it’s best to be prepared. Move desirable items out of reach, drape leather furniture with coverlets and puppy-proof your home with baby gates. Always keep an eye on the little mischief maker, and remember that getting angry and yelling is never the solution.
Keeping Your Pup Isolated
Socialization is extremely important when it comes to having your puppy adjust to a variety of people and dog breeds. This will help them to grow up learning to be comfortable when out in public, which can mean a calmer, better behaved dog and one less worry for you. Start introducing your puppy to other dogs at the local park and hang out with family and friends to start building those positive interaction experiences.