When attempting to raise and train a dog on their own, people can make mistakes. Listed below are the most common mistakes that are made when acquiring a new dog or training a dog without proper instruction.
If you don’t have time for a dog, don’t get a dog.
We run into people all the time who have gotten a dog, or even worse two dogs, and they don’t have the ability to make time for them. There are many problems that can happen with a dog if you are not giving them the proper attention.
People tend to underestimate how much time and attention a dog really needs. Then they initiate bad habits like allowing the dog to free-graze on food, locking the dog in a room where it becomes destructive or installing a doggy door to try and make up for their lack of time spent with the dog. If a dog’s social and developmental needs aren’t met, behavioral problems such as housebreaking, excessive barking, digging, fence jumping, destructiveness or anti-social behavior can develop.
You can also find yourself raising a dog that is under-exercised, shy, fearful or even aggressive. Make sure you have the time for a dog before you take the dog on.
Don’t get a second dog just to keep the first dog company.
Dogs don’t need a friend to play with, they need companionship and leadership from you. A dog will grow up healthier bonding with a human leader rather than a companion dog.
You shouldn’t take two dogs from the same litter.
It’s possible that this won’t cause any problems, but we’ve seen many instances of littermates paying more attention to each other than their new owners. You want your new dog to bond with you. This will happen easier and faster with one puppy rather than two puppies from the same litter. Also, if the dog is focusing on you rather than it’s littermate it will learn and socialize quicker.
Make sure that you are selecting the correct breed for the type of life you lead.
Are you a jogger? Do you live in an apartment? Do you have a large yard? Do you work full-time? These are all questions that need to be considered when you are choosing the breed of dog that want. If you look online, you’ll find that there are many sites that have breed selector quizzes that you can use to help you choose the proper breed for your lifestyle. The Animal Planet site has a good one.
Don’t ever try to establish dominance over your dog with the Alpha Rollover.
This move can break down the bond between you and your dog and lead to aggression. It can also cause a trickle-down affect where your dog learns that it is o.k. to use physical violence on lesser pack members and outsiders.
When housebreaking, don’t ever put your dog’s nose in the accident.
If you don’t catch them in the act during a housebreaking accident, you’ve missed your opportunity to correct them. Don’t ever take your dog back to an accident and stick his nose in it.
Don’t use puppy pads or newspapers for housebreaking.
This will actually slow down the housebreaking process. You want your dog to learn that it is never acceptable to eliminate in the house. Teach them where the door is early and often.
There is never a reason to hit your dog.
This creates many more problems than it resolves. An effective pack leader never needs to resort to violence.
Don’t use a laser pointer or a flashlight to play with your dog.
Yes, it’s funny and yes, it’s very entertaining for you and your dog, but the long-term effects of having your dog chase a light can be very serious. Many dogs can develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as tail chasing, severe reactions to reflected light and excessive searching because of this game. There are many better ways to keep your dog amused.
You never need to shout at your dog.
We have all had times when we wanted to yell at our dog. But it works against you in the long run. A dog should be trained to respond to commands given in a normal tone of voice. Shouting to startle or scare your dog might get their attention but it is not affecting their long term behavior unless you are training your dog to be afraid of you.
Don’t take a puppy from it’s litter at too young an age.
Some of the most difficult cases we face are with puppies that were removed from their litter too young. There are many things that puppies learn in the litter including den cleanliness, bite inhibition and how to look to the leader for behavioral cues. Most puppies should stay in their litter until they are at least 7 weeks old. Even longer for the smaller, or toy, breeds. If a breeder tells you that he is breaking up the litter at five or six weeks because it is easier on the mother, it could be a sign of a problem.