Did you just welcome a new puppy into your home? If so, you may be wondering what you should and shouldn’t do to ensure a good transition to puppy ownership. After all, the last thing you want to do is make things more difficult when you’re around a fun-loving puppy.
Read on to learn 10 common puppy mistakes and how you can avoid them!
Not Using a Crate Properly
Dog crates may not look like the warmest and coziest places for your dogs to curl up, but it’s important that your puppy is comfortable in them. You want your puppy to see their crate as a quiet place for them to be alone or nap — not as a form of punishment.
If you’re leaving town for a few hours or spending your day at work, there’s a good chance you won’t want your puppy having the whole house to roam. This is where a crate is a convenient solution! But if your puppy only is crated while you’re gone, they’ll see the crate as an unpleasant place.
That’s why you need to get your puppy used to being in the crate while you are home. Try putting your puppy in the crate for twenty minutes while you cook dinner or read a book. They’ll enjoy knowing that you’re nearby and visible, and you’ll be able to snuggle with them when you let them back out.
Allowing Too Much Excitement Over Visitors
It’s good to have a fun and welcoming pet, but you don’t want one who’s going to clobber the company. You might have friends or family members who become apprehensive about visiting if they know your dog will jumpy all over them! That’s where a little training can come in handy.
When the doorbell rings, don’t make a big deal about it. Just treat it as a normal occurrence so your puppy doesn’t see it as a trigger for boisterous behavior. If your puppy does get excited about coming to the door, teach them to sit and stay so they can learn this behavior and take it into adulthood.
Providing Too Much Freedom
While it might be tempting to let your puppy get the lay of the land, this plan isn’t always the best one. If you have a spacious home — or even if you don’t — your puppy has a lot of space to explore. But that doesn’t mean they should get to explore all of it.
If you let your puppy explore the house, they’ll find furniture to chew, counters to sit on, or places to have accidents. You don’t want this! So grab some baby gates or other blockades to set up to make sure your puppy only surveys a limited area.
Feeding Your Puppy Scraps
It’s not a good idea to feed your puppy scraps from the table. Why? You’ll encourage the behavior of begging.
A better idea is to restrict your puppy to puppy food only. It’s formulated with the nutritional benefits your puppy needs, and it will help them grow into a healthy adult dog.
When you feed your puppy food from the table, they’ll be back for more. And when you have company over or just want a peaceful meal, this behavior can be annoying. Fortunately, there are solutions.
Keep your puppy in their crate to avoid the problem altogether. Or reward their good behavior after dinner with a treat that you place far away from the kitchen table.
Staying Away from Other Puppies
Having a cute, new puppy at home means hours of fun. But don’t just keep your puppy to yourself. Make a point of socializing your puppy with other dogs and humans once they are vaccinated and safe to be out among others.
You’ll help build their social skills, and this translates to better experiences walking your dog, taking them to the dog park, or visiting friends and family with your dog in tow. You can kill two birds with one stone by taking your dog to a training class so they can learn better behavior and meet other dogs at the same time.
Don’t assume that certain breeds are less social than others, either. You might be surprised to discover the behaviors or tendencies of certain breeds don’t line up with the stereotypes. To find the right breed or puppy, turn to My Next Pup to learn more about the best options.
Teaching Commands the Wrong Way
When you have a puppy, you’re probably wanting to start training them to follow commands right away. You want to have the smartest and most well-behaved pup on the block! But you’re actually better off not hitting it too hard with the commands.
By commanding your puppy to sit and stay all the time, you’re trying to do the impossible. You’re trying to get a puppy with no attention span to take you seriously! And what you’re actually doing is teaching that puppy to ignore what you’re saying — because you’re saying it so much.
Be patient with your puppy, and ask the experts for help. Stay patient, and you’ll find a better way to get your puppy to listen.
Babying Your Puppy
Did the thunder just clap, or are there fireworks outside? Loud noises and sudden events can scare even the most confident puppy. But don’t feel like you need to jump in and start nurturing your puppy.
It turns out that your puppy is better off not being babied by you or anyone. So when your puppy starts whimpering or hiding when they hear a loud noise or meet a stranger, resist the temptation to start hugging and nurturing them.
If you coddle your puppy, you’re helping them learn to link loving behavior with moments of fear. You want your puppy to be strong and independent, not timid and needy.
Not Training Your Pup is One of the Biggest Puppy Mistakes
Training your puppy takes time and also requires following a schedule. In fact, keeping your puppy on a regular routine is one of the best things you can do. But if you avoid training your puppy, you could encounter more problems down the road.
Plan on training your puppy from the start. You can work on simple commands at home, but you can also enroll in a puppy training class to see better results. Whatever way you go, just be sure to set boundaries so your puppy starts to learn the difference between what is good and bad.
Inconsistent Behavior on Your End
Another common issue that can lead to puppy problems is inconsistent behavior on your end. If you’re not consistent with when you take your puppy on walks or discipline it, you’re not going to be communicating clear expectations.
Try to set a daily schedule so your puppy knows when to expect walks or time in the crate. And if you yell at your puppy for chewing on the sofa one day, you need to maintain that behavior the following day.
It’s always frustrating when a puppy has an accident, but it’s an inevitable part of having a puppy. With that being said, you don’t want to scold your puppy for an accident one day and then overlook it the next. With all that you do with your puppy, be consistent.
Being Late With Praise or Scolding
Timing is everything when it comes to praising and scolding your pets. If you’re too late to the draw, you’ll end up with a confused pup who might be more likely to act out in the future. Save yourself from this problem by being timely with everything you say.
When your puppy follows a command or does something else to win your favor, be sure to reward them right away. That way they’ll associate the good behavior with the reward. A short and positive word will do the trick, or a tasty treat if you’re feeling more generous.
On the flip side, if your puppy just shredded a pillow or climbed on an antique wingchair, you need to be quick and clear with your scolding. Don’t wait for five minutes. Make sure that you issue your warning right away so the puppy knows that their behavior is unacceptable.
Avoid Puppy Problems
It’s easy to make puppy mistakes as a new owner, but it’s also possible to avoid them. If you take the time to understand what you’re getting yourself into, you can make your puppy’s transition into the world a seamless one. Just make sure you have the time and resources to make it happen.
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