There are several things we as puppy parents unintentionally do that mess with our dogs’ emotions. No matter how hard we try in our effort to be perfect, some of our human ways can lead to one confused pup. And sending mixed signals to our pups will make them more likely to misbehave. But is it really bad behavior, or just bad communication?
Here are 10 common puppy-parenting mishaps you can easily avoid:
Try this instead:
1. Rewarding your dog for going potty outside is an integral first step to house training. A key part of house training your dog, however, is preventing indoor accidents from happening in the first place. Yelling at your dog, rubbing their nose in their mess, or giving them a spanking doesn’t teach your dog to potty outside—it teaches him to be fearful of you and to have those accidents out of sight. (And come on, you paid good money for those bath rugs.)While house-training, Tinkling Tucker should always be within sight and constantly monitored. Kennel your dog or puppy while you can’t monitor them, keep them on a leash, or if they are small, have them in your lap while you are on the couch or at the computer. Don’t wait for your dog or puppy to do the potty dance or assume the squat position--set your dog up for success and offer your pup plenty of opportunities to go potty in the right place.
2. The kennel should be a comfortable place that your dog is eager to visit. The kennel is that magical place where your pup eats their dinner or gets a peanut butter-stuffed Kong. Never use the kennel as a form of punishment!
3. Dogs need an outlet for their energy. If you aren’t providing one, your dog will provide one for himself and, odds are, you won’t like whatever they choose. Make sure you are giving your dog plenty of exercise. A large majority of dog-related problems can be attributed to your dog not getting enough stimulation or exercise. If your dog is running around the house and has a bad case of the zoomies, it’s time to take them out to play.
4. Behavior problems are the No. 1 reason dogs are relinquished to animal shelters, the No. 1 reason they don't find new forever homes, and as a result, the No. 1 reason they are euthanized.A puppy should begin formal obedience training at 8 weeks, and if you adopt an adult dog who has received no obedience training, you should enroll her in a class right away. It's also good idea to take your dog through a refresher obedience course every few years, or when you need help with the inevitable behavioral hiccup that crops up as she ages.
If you want a balanced, well-mannered dog, the way to achieve this is with positive reinforcement behavior training, not punishment-based training, which is less effective and potentially inhumane. Positive reinforcement training is based on the theory that rewarding your dog for desired behavior will encourage more of that behavior.
5. If you wait until your pet is already sick to seek veterinary care, in most cases you have waited too long; you're being reactive. As a proactive veterinarian, I want to create wellness protocols when pets are well to keep their bodies in a state of balanced vitality throughout life.
The truth is that if you aren't intentionally creating health through wise lifestyle choices, then you are passively allowing health to slip away. Maintaining health is an active process; we must work at it or it won't sustain itself.
A thorough wellness checkup will address your pet's breed/genetic predispositions, activity level and exercise regimen, environmental stress and mental well-being, chemical load, diet and other factors to formulate wellness plans for each stage of your pet's life.
6. In order to stay lean, fit, well-conditioned, emotionally balanced and fully mobile as she ages, your dog needs a good workout every day. Canines are designed by nature for movement.
If your dog doesn't get opportunities to run, play and get regular aerobic exercise, even if she's not overweight, she can end up with arthritis and other debilitating conditions that affect the bones, joints, muscles and internal organs. In addition, many canine behavior problems are the result a lack of physical and mental activity.
What many people don't realize is that like their owners, dogs need encouragement to get physically active. Even the biggest, greenest backyard isn't by itself enough to motivate your pet to get the exercise she requires to stay in good physical condition. The only way to make sure your dog gets enough exercise is to provide her with the companionship and incentive she needs to stay active. Your dog should be getting a minimum of 20 minutes of sustained heart-thumping exercise three times a week.
7. Socialization means exposing your dog (preferably as a puppy) to as many new people, animals, environments and other safe, positive stimuli as possible without overwhelming him. Socialization should engage all of your dog's senses though exposure to the sights, sounds and smells of daily life.This exposure will help him develop a comfort level with new and different situations, with the result that he'll learn to handle new experiences and challenges with acceptable, appropriate behavior. Dogs that have not been adequately socialized often develop entrenched fear responses and generalized anxiety, resulting in behavior problems that can make them unsuitable as family pets.
8. Two hygiene items every pet parent should but often doesn't attend to are their dog's teeth and nails. You should brush your dog's teeth if not every day, at least several times a week. Otherwise, like most dogs over the age of 3, he'll have gum disease, and as time passes the situation will worsen until his mouth smells bad and feels worse. Then you'll be faced with a big vet bill and he'll probably lose a few teeth.Your dog's nails also need to be clipped regularly, and here's how to do it. How often depends on how fast they grow and how much time he spends on surfaces that grind them down naturally. If you can't bear to clip your dog's nails yourself, I encourage you to make a standing appointment with a groomer or veterinarian who will do it for you. You'd be amazed at how often dogs develop serious paw problems from nails that have grown too long.
9. Many pet guardians don't realize the importance of choosing the right type of collar, harness and leash for their dog.Certain dogs, for example, should wear a harness and should never be leashed or even handled by the collar. These include dogs that pull or lunge while on a leash, dogs prone to tracheal collapse, dogs that have a seizure disorder, and pets with chiropractic issues involving the neck and/or back.Choke collars should never be used. These collars can cause pain and injury to your dog's neck, and in extreme cases, strangulation. For walks, training sessions and whenever your dog will be on leash, I recommend either a head collar or no-pull harness. And I'm not a fan of retractable leashes due to their potential to injure both dogs and their owners. I recommend flat leashes no longer than 6 feet. If your dog needs more aggressive restraining devices, it's a sign there's still more training work to be done.
10. Snuggle sessions are a great opportunity to get your new pup or adult dog comfortable with having all the areas of his body handled, because soon enough he'll need to visit the veterinarian or perhaps the groomer. He'll need to have his teeth brushed every day and his nails trimmed on a regular basis.
The best way to prepare your pup to be handled throughout his life is to begin getting him used to having sensitive areas of his body handled as soon as you bring him home. This will not only acclimate your dog to human handling, but will also help you familiarize yourself with how his body feels so you can quickly identify any abnormalities that may occur, like a lump or bump on or under his skin.
This information and more can be found at https://healthypets.mercola.com/