As a first-time dog owner, there is vital information to take note of.
Apart from learning about the breed of your dog, nutrition, health needs, allergies, diseases they may be prone to and generally how to take care of it, you also have to note the following to avoid them:
1. Buying/Adopting out of Impulse:
As an intending dog owner, why do you want to buy that dog? Is it simply because it looks so cute?
Are you ready to accommodate another living being in your life? Are you prepared to take in the task of fending for this dependent creature?
Have you considered the cost of raising this ‘cute’ dog?
There is more to a dog than just its cute eyes. It would require much more than your companionship to be the best it can be, and you must be prepared for it.
Its presence in your life might also some challenges to you, those living with you, and even your properties.
You must consider those challenges and be psychologically, emotionally, physically, and financially ready to own a dog.
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2. Little or no research about the breed:
Some first-time dog owners make little or no research about the breed of dogs they intend buying or adopting.
They bring the dog home knowing absolutely nothing about it, except that it is a dog.
You must do sufficient research about the breed of dog you intend to buy to be armed with the necessary information to raise it.
You must not try to raise your dog the way your friend or neighbor raises theirs or train your dog the way Mr. A. told you to.
You ought to have first-hand knowledge of the breed name, nutritional needs, health needs, allergies they are prone to, age, life expectancy, the diseases they are likely to, the basic purpose of the dog, method to training, etc.
3. My Dog, My Little Baby
Your dog is not your baby. Your dog is a dog that can serve as a friend and companion.
Your dog is not a human baby.
In its cuteness, it’s still a domestic animal and should be treated as one.
Give it food suitable for a dog.
Provide it with care meant for a dog. Also, remember it tends to bite. Some can even be aggressive and vicious.
A god should be given responsibilities meant for a dog.
It is important that despite the deep love we may have for these loyal creatures, we must not forget they are not humans.
Dogs they are and dogs they would always grow to be.
Therefore, always interpret the love you have for them in the way they can receive it like dogs.
4. Lack of Training
Owning a dog could come with its benefits, but it also comes with its responsibilities.
Purchasing or Adopting is just one part of it; training is another.
Some dogs are brilliant and intelligent and may not take so much effort to comprehend and adhere to what you say.
However, others may need more time, and you patiently have to go through the process.
As a first-time dog owner, avoid the error of thinking your dog is too cute or too small to be trained.
You would not get the best out of the dog. As a matter of fact, with time and as it grows older, your dog would begin to seem more like a burden than a benefit.
So, start training as soon as you can. Give time and effort to it. Make your research to add more knowledge to what you presently know.
5. Lack of Socialization:
Dogs are social animals. They love to run around and play. They love to chase cats, sticks, or other dogs.
Some are so energetic and confident that they can chase after the tail lights of moving vehicles.
Do not make the mistake of keeping your dog in isolation. It raises a sad and fearful dog. Get your dog accustomed to its environment, to the persons around, to objects and other animals.
If you have a big dog that is prone to aggression and feel the need to keep it chained or locked up.
Ensure you make out time to take it out on walks, so it interacts with its environment. You can set it loose at convenient and safe times.
If you are a first-time dog owner, note that giving a dog adequate training and socialization would help eliminate behavioral and social problems.
Your dog would always exhibit proper behavior even in public places.
You and your dog will get invited to certain functions when it can be trusted to be of its best behavior.
6. Lack of Exercise
Every dog needs exercise. Some are very restless and hyperactive and may need more exercise. Your dog needs more than a dog walk.
Engage it in activities. As a first-time dog owner, remember that just like humans, a dog who engages in exercises turn out healthier and happier.
Engaging it in exercises also eliminates the problem of overweight and boredom.
You must avoid the mistake of depriving your dog of exercises as it leads to depression and anxiety.
Exercise keeps its organs functioning as they should. Also, include mentally stimulating activities: such as hiding items for it to search or sniff out.
7. Lack of Rules:
As a first-time dog owner, give your dog rules. These rules help you manage your dog effectively.
Do not allow your dog to get away with bad or destructive behavior. Bear in mind that as a dog, it is not as intelligent as a human.
Do not be surprised to find it chewing on your Channel bag or defecating on your couch.
Before concluding that your dog has behavioral problems, ensure you have properly communicated the rules to it.
Some rules may include that it is not allowed to bark excessively, jump on anyone, especially visitors or guests, defecate or urinate around the living, leave the compound or yard on its own, attack people, access food when not given, etc.
When you make rules, ensure you stick by them, so the message is best communicated to your dog.
8. Poor Hygiene:
Your dog requires consistent hygiene routines to keep it in the best shape.
Some first-time dog owners do not know or remember to include these routines while taking care of their dogs.
These routines are bathing your dog once every three months or when it is very dirty, brushing its coat, brushing its teeth at least thrice weekly using the right pet-safe toothpaste to prevent gum and tooth infection, checking its eye for redness or itching, checking its ears for dirt, parasites or infections, grooming its nails at least monthly to prevent it from being overgrown.
A clean dog is an active and excited dog.
9. Meager Feeding:
Your dog requires quality food to grow healthy and strong. Avoid feeding or allowing your dog to feed on just anything.
The quality of the food matters, so you should check the ingredients before purchasing or serving your dog.
Give the right portion to avoid obesity. Overfeeding your dog is not the right way to express your love for them.
They would grow fat and unhealthy. Also, remember to feed them as at when due.
Your dog does not have to be hungry or starving before you feed it.
As a living creature, it has its needs. Feeding twice a day can be recommended. Malnutrition leads to sickness, extreme fatigue, and even death.
10. Avoiding the Veterinarian
Dogs also need quality health care. As a first time owner, avoid experimenting on your dogs when they fall ill. Instead, take them to the Veterinarian.
These doctors are well trained to handle these issues. However, we do not have to wait for a dog to fall before visiting the Veterinarian.
Dogs should have routine check-ups by the Veterinarian.
Some dogs may not show they are sick, and since they cannot speak, only a check-up can reveal the state of their health.
Avoid the mistake of skipping to see the Veterinarian to save cost and for the sake of convenience.
11. Violence to Control
Some first-time owners make the mistake of trying to use aggression and violence to control their dogs.
Rather than obedience training and rules, they hit, beat, and some even starve their dogs as a means to control them.
Dogs who are raised like this tend to either be weak, and depressed or excessively aggressive. A dog only needs good training, not cruelty, to be the best it can be.
12. Over Pampering and Excessive Use of Treats
When you over pamper your dog, you raise a dog with social and behavioral problems because it has not been well trained.
Your dog may even stop listening to your instructions and begin to act as it pleases. Do not overfeed your dog or keep your dog all lazy and cuddled up.
It would grow to be fat and unhealthy. Keep it active and feed when at the right time. Also, avoid giving treats all the time.
Your dog should understand that treats are given as a reward, only when it has been of its best behavior.
Dogs have different ways of expressing their emotions of fear, anxiety, sadness, joy, etc. Interpreting your dog’s emotions is important, so you deal with it accordingly.
For instance, do not interpret fear and anxiety for stubbornness.
Your dog may be refusing to approach that task simply because it is afraid, not because it does not want to. Study your dog to understand its emotions.
Owning a dog for the first time can be a pleasurable and fulfilling experience for both you and your dog.
You must also be careful to avoid the listed mistakes. When you treat your dog as you ought to, you raise a happy, healthy, and well-behaved dog!