Making the decision to add a dog to your family is an exciting one, especially if it will be your first time owning a precious pooch. As with any pet, your dog will need some time, attention, training, proper care, and more. The details can be overwhelming for a first-time dog owner, but the effort is well worth it for the bond you’ll have with your dog. A good place to start is to avoid common mistakes. Here are a few common mistakes first-time dog owners make:
Mistake #1 – Not Thinking About What Dog is Right for You
Many first-time dog owners get so excited about the prospect of getting a dog that they sometimes forget to think about what they can or can’t handle in a dog. Some dogs require more space than others while others require far more physical activity. Some dogs are more difficult to train than others. Although puppy training and obedience classes can help, some dog breeds are not a good fit for first-time dog owners.
When you’re looking at a dog to buy or adopt, you need to think about your home and lifestyle to make sure you’re getting a dog that will be happy in the space you have available and that will be a good fit for your level of activity. If you don’t live an active lifestyle or have a lot of time available for a dog, a high-energy working breed is likely not a good fit for you. Knowing what you can or can’t handle ahead of time will help you find a dog that is a good match for you.
Mistake #2 – Slacking on Training and Socialization
Training and socialization early, often, and ongoing are essential for any dog breed and are especially important in dog breeds with protective instincts or guardian backgrounds. Slacking off on training or socialization in your dog can result in an anxious, scared, and territorial dog with behavioral problems. Not only are poorly trained or socialized dogs often wary and suspicious of people and new situations, but they also are more likely to react aggressively in response to their fear.
By investing the time and energy in training and socializing your puppy, you give them the best chance of growing into a confident, well-mannered, and often well-behaved, dog. As a first-time dog owner, enrolling in puppy training and obedience classes can be a big help in giving you the tools you need to properly train your puppy. Plus, the classes will give your puppy some opportunities for socialization and you’ll form a stronger bond with them too!
Mistake #3 – Neglecting Exercise
Some dogs may be natural couch potatoes. But, even couch potato dogs need enough exercise to stay happy and healthy. A dog that does not get enough exercise generally ends up with a lot of pent-up energy and also gets bored.
Bored dogs and dogs that don’t get enough exercise tend to exhibit undesirable behaviors. As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog, and usually a well-behaved one as well. Make sure you are dedicating enough time to your pup and giving them the exercise they need to stay happy and healthy.
Mistake #4 – Skipping Vet Appointments
Your dog can’t explain what’s going on to you if they’re not feeling well and sometimes they’ll hide their symptoms so you don’t realize anything is going on. This is just one reason why it’s important to visit your vet regularly. Not only will your vet be able to check to make sure your dog is healthy, but they’ll also be able to help you become a better dog owner.
A good vet has experience with a lot of animals, including plenty of different dogs, so they’re a great resource for you as you navigate being a first-time dog owner. Plus, going to the vet for routine checkups ensures your dog is up to date on all of their shots and vaccinations.
A lot goes into taking care of a dog, which means there are plenty of ways to mess up. Talking to experienced dog owners, doing research, reading books, and more can all help you prepare ahead of time for adding a dog to your family. Even experienced dog owners make mistakes sometimes, but avoiding these common mistakes first-time dog owners make can help put you on the path to successful dog ownership.