When you get a new puppy there are a million different things running through your mind. It’s very easy in all of the excitement to make some mistakes. Many of these mistakes may seem small, but they can create HUGE behavioural problems in your dog later on in life. Here is a list of 5 common mistakes that many new dog owners make, and ways to avoid making them yourself.
1. Giving your puppy free reign of the house
When left to their own devices, puppies will find ways to get themselves into trouble, like chewing things that shouldn’t be chewed, or peeing where they shouldn’t be peeing. This is bad when you are house training your puppy, but also bad when you are trying to teach your puppy what the expectations of the house are. It is much easier to stop a behaviour before it occurs then it is to reverse a bad behaviour once it becomes habit. When you are busy, or leave the house, your puppy should be confined to a small area (like a crate, an x-pen, or a sectioned off area of your home) so that they don’t have the opportunity of wandering off, getting themselves into trouble.
2. Bringing your puppy to the dog park too young
There are 2 reasons why taking your young puppy to the dog park is a bad idea. First, up until the age of 16 weeks your puppy will not have all of it’s shots, which means it will be more susceptible to diseases and infections. Second, the dog place can be an overwhelming place for a small puppy, and if it has a bad experience while young then it may form negative associates about other dogs, or the park. It is best to introduce your puppy to other dogs slowly. Start with a dog that you know well, that is calm around young dogs, and introduce them one-on-one. Work them up to meeting multiple dogs at the same time before you take them to a new place like the dog park.
3. Taking your puppy away from it’s mother and siblings too young
A puppy learns all of its social skills from its family. The proper time to take a puppy away from it’s nest is at 8 weeks of age. If you take your puppy away sooner, then it hasn’t had the chance to develop those skills, which means it will have difficulty communicating with other dogs in adolescence and adulthood.
It is very easy to overprotect, or coddle your new puppy because you don’t want anything negative to happen to it. This is especially seen in small breed dogs, with the owners constantly picking up the puppy after any sign of disturbance. The problem with this is that you will end up with an under confident and anxious dog. Your dog needs to learn to stand on its own 4 paws. It needs to be able to deal with situations on it’s own, but know that you have its back when it needs it.
5. Feeding your puppy canned food
Canned food can be difficult for a puppy to digest. The best route to go with puppy food is kibble. There is kibble specifically designed for puppies, which has different nutritional value than adult dog food. Make sure that you are buying the puppy kibble. Kibble is also great for puppies who are teething, because it is crunchy and gives their growing teeth something to work on. Consult with your vet about the different brands of dog food that would be the best for your new puppy.
Many pups don’t show behaviour issues until they are in their adolescence, but those same issues were first formed in their puppyhood. It is true that some puppies have genetic influences that may make them more likely to have certain behaviour issues, but in many cases, any behaviour issues that arise are because of the owner. In order to have a behaviourally sound dog, you will need to start rearing it properly as a puppy. Making note of these common mistakes that many dog owners make, and avoiding them, will set you on the right path to raising a well behaved puppy.