We’ve all heard the overused expression “prevention is better than cure”. It’s all good and well for people to say it, but what do they mean? Having a dog is a fantastic way to enhance your life. Getting their training wrong and having a naughty dog can make your life miserable.
But, you don’t have to throw your hands in the air in protest because you have no idea what to do to prevent any problems! We’ve got you covered. Here are the 5 most common mistakes we see dog owners make, and how to avoid them!
Teach Your Dog what You Want
I see many dogs that have no idea what their human is asking. This is the most common mistake dog owners make. Usually, I pick this up very early on. When the owner is pleading for their dog to “sit. Sit! S-i-i-i-it. Will-you-just-sit!” and the dog is standing there looking at their owner as if they’re speaking a foreign language. (Because to the dog, well, let’s face it, they are.)It’s important to note that dogs understand pictures not words. What do I mean by that? If you taught your dog to sit in the kitchen, that doesn’t mean that your dog understands what “sit” means in the backyard!
While this lack of generalization on your dog’s part can be frustrating! It’s important to remember that your dog is a dog, and doing what you have taught them. So when you’re faced with your dog looking at you like you’ve spoken Chinese. Ask yourself: How have I taught this to my dog and how did I make sure that my dog understood what I’ve taught them?”
Get Puppy Socialisation Right
This is actually super important! There is a myth that your puppy will turn into a great dog when they’ve only attended puppy classes. And it drives me insane! At puppy classes, rarely is proper socialization taking place. It’s a glorified puppy party with puppies learning to bully other puppies. And puppies learning to ignore their owners all over the show.
Puppy socialization is MORE than play dates. Usually, puppy classes only result in one of two outcomes. Either your puppy becomes obsessed with playing with other dogs. And you no longer exist in your puppy’s little world. Or your puppy learns that other dogs are scary. Because no one realized that your puppy was being picked on by the little terrorist of the group.
Use this brief and important time to get your puppy used to as many noises and different things as possible. This is your opportunity to teach your puppy to cope with the amazing world around them. So use your opportunity to the full! Get your puppy out and about! Your puppy will be better off learning dog behaviour from a few well-balanced dogs. That way they they will learn how to behave .
Pay Attention to Your Dog
Failing to pay attention to your dog is a recipe for a puppy or dog to learn that they can do what they like. It also teaches them that you don’t care and aren’t a part of their fun.
When you take your puppy out and about, don’t expect your dog to play with the other dogs there. Be part of your dog’s fun. The more relevant you are to your dog the more likely your dog is to do the right thing when you ask them.
Not paying attention to your dog will encourage them to become more independent. You don’t want your dog to go off hunting seagulls and leave you hanging. Chasing after your dog at the beach is not fun. Ask me how I know.
Your dog can’t tell you with words what is wrong. But they can tell you with the things they do: their eyes, their posture their tail and their ears. Knowing your dog’s body language is the best way to prevent dog bites. Many dogs won’t even growl before a bite, so don’t rely on that. Sometimes a bite is a desperate last-ditch plea for some space.
Learn to recognize your dog’s body language. But one thing that is important to understand is that every dog is different. Some dogs will growl when they are playing. Other dogs will only growl when they’re uncomfortable. Some dogs will growl for both situations. So it’s important to get to know your dog!
This is one of the most important things. Most people leave it far too long before they get help. Often you can help your dog with only a few minor adjustments or by understanding your dog’s likes and dislikes.
Without help, you will most likely miss the signs. And your dog’s behavior will become ingrained if you don’t learn how to help them. Which means, it will take a lot longer to fix!
How Will You Avoid these Common Mistakes?
It’s now up to you. If your dog is showing behavior that’s worrying you, what will you do? Leaving it could not only cost your dog their life but you may end up getting fined or go to jail because your dog bit.
Did you find this blog post helpful? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you plan to change so that you can avoid making these mistakes with your dog!