July 7, 2011
Top Ten regrets for dog owners. There are certain behaviors or tricks that you think are cute, and you’d like your puppy to do, but once you allow your puppy to do that behaviour, you may soon have regrets.
12. Teaching / encouraging your dog to be ball crazy.Yes I know it’s important for dogs to have toys to play with; toys satisfy the many needs dogs have. The problem is, if there is too much ball playing, these ball-obsessed dogs start to develop poor social skills with other dogs – becoming anti-social, even aggressive if another dog gets near their toy or ball. Not to mention the lack of control you’ll have when all they want is the ball. —It’s a lose-lose situation for many dogs, especially the breeds that are practically born with a ball in their mouth, meaning it takes no effort -on your part- to teach them to bring back whatever it is you throw. So while you’re throwing the ball over and over, these dogs are missing out on proper dog-to-dog interaction and are most susceptible of becoming anti-social. —If from an early age your dog shows a natural desire to chase balls, this is not what you should do all the time, you should spend most of your time encouraging them to play with other dogs; you (and your dog) will be much happier you did.
1. Teaching a puppy to shake paws at an early age. This is a VERY simple behavior to teach, but once you start encouraging the behavior, it will be difficult to stop. When the puppy is 8 – 10 months (or older) – is a better time to teach this. The rule is, if you don’t ask for their paw, you should never take hold of it. If you do, be prepared to get your leg, arm or even face scratched. I’m never impressed if a dog gives their paw; but I am impressed if they don’t.
2. Jumping on you….Same thing here, easy to teach- hard to stop once it’s ingrained. If you have a new puppy, teach them “Sit” for attention, or turn them sideways or face them away from you before picking them up. As they get older, you can teach them when they can jump, and who or what they can jump on.
3. Giving your dog food from the dinner table, or giving too many treats without asking them to do something for you. If you give a dog food from the dining table, your dog will start expecting food from you or others at the table. Ask your dog to respond to a command before giving them treats, and try to make it challenging, a “sit” near the kitchen area, is nothing to be impressed by (sorry), try it when a guest comes by or another dog walks by, now I’m impressed. It’s also a good idea not to give strange dogs food without the dog owners permission.
4. Allowing a dog to sleep with you in bed. Yes, dogs are highly social creatures, but the reality is you’re not always going to be available 24/7 as your dog would like. Letting them sleep in bed in the first year of their life is a false sense of attachment, this can lead to separation, control or aggressive issues. They should have their own sleeping spot, preferably next to your bed. When they’re older puppies, You can give them permission to jump up for cuddles. Don’t forget to teach them to jump “Off” the bed.
5. Allowing or encouraging the dog to bark. Dogs are little warning machines, they love to alert you when something is outside. As your dog goes from puppy to adult, that natural instinct to warn you of intruders increases. It’s advisable to teach the command “quiet” from the start using redirection techniques. In some cases teaching a dog to “bark” (or speak) on command also teaches them not to bark. I would consult a professional for this one. Fact: dogs actually thinks they’re the ones that caused the postman to go away?
6. Letting a puppy lick your face excessively. Kinda like giving you their paw… It might be cute but if you encourage it -too much- it can become an obsession problem. Your puppy will want to lick every hand and face of every person you know, and every person you don’t know.
7. Letting a puppy play with your old clothing or other household items. Your dog can’t distinguish between old and new, your child’s stuffed animal, kitchen utensils, old shoes or slippers etc. To be clear to your puppy, they should only have “dog toys” to play with.
8. Just before a walk, getting your dog all excited and saying, “You wanna go for a walk?” Over-time your dog will become too excited and hard to control. Doing this can also cause other behavioral issues.
9. Allowing them to jump in the pool without being asked. It is important to teach a dog where the steps are, so if they fall or jump in, they’ll know how to get out. It’s always a good idea to teach good pool side manners from the start.
10. Teasing them with a lazer pointer, flashlight or garden hose; read my story Warning About Laser Pointers. I also don’t recommend using the garden hose as a spray gamey toy, this can turn into a obsessive problem and can lead to sprinkler destroying.
11. Letting them pull you towards other dogs: Yes you need to socialize them with other dogs at a young age, but if you allow them to pull you towards dogs while on lead, you’re just teaching them to pull you!. There is a proper leash walking and dog greeting formula to follow.
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