Friday, May 14, 2010

First Three Mistakes A Dog Owner Makes

I will be doing a series of blogs highlighting the
top TEN mistakes a dog owner makes.
Today, the top three...

Mistake 1: Buying a Pet Spontaneously

Why this is a mistake? That doggie in the window may be darling, but he might not be the right fit for your family or lifestyle.

How to avoid it: Fully inform yourself before you bring home a pet. Every dog has its own needs, some of which are specific to the breed. Terriers tend to dig; Abyssinians explore and climb. If there’s a breed that interests you, read up on it (try the website of the American Kennel Club), talk to owners, and get to know someone else’s Border collie or Persian. That said, not every dog or cat is typical of its breed, so “ask about the pet’s history, health, and temperament,” says Stephanie Shain, a director at the Humane Society of the United States. When dealing with a breeder, you should be shown where the pet was raised and meet his parents.

Mistake 2: Skipping Obedience Training

Why this is a mistake? Bad habits can be difficult to train out of a pet. So unless you have the know-how to school an animal, you need the help of a pro.

How to avoid it: Even before a puppy starts formal training, teach him simple commands, such as sit and stay. A puppy can begin formal training at eight weeks (and ideally before 12 weeks), after he has had his shots. “Between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks, puppies readily absorb information about the world around them,” says Andrea Arden, author of Dog-Friendly Dog Training. To help a dog stick with good behaviors, every few years take him for a refresher course.

Mistake 3: Being Inconsistent With the Rules

Why this is a mistake? If one child lets Fifi on the bed and another punishes her for it, the animal will be confused. Bad behavior is inevitable.

How to avoid it: Make sure everyone in your household knows―and follows―the rules, says Arden. “You want your dog to sit before eating a treat? Then figure out a system that will help your pet succeed.” Pets thrive with a sense of order, so discuss with your family when yours should be fed, exercised, and even given a treat.

Next time, I will post mistakes number 4,5,and 6

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