Bringing a new puppy home is very exciting. Katie Pottenger, pet nutrition expert and CEO of Parker’s, A Natural Dog & Cat Market, lists some common mistakes to avoid.
1) Putting Off Vaccinations
Without a doubt, seeing a vet and planning the immunization shot schedule is the most important task for a new puppy owner. The three booster shots have a sensitive time frame and are extremely important to follow, as they will set a puppy up for a lifetime of good health.
2) Socializing Puppies Too Early
Play dates are one of the premier joys of owning a puppy. However, a common mistake that many new owners will make is letting a new pup play with other dogs too early. Without the booster shots, puppies can contract just about everything from anything. As much as possible, owners should try to avoid having their dog around others until he or she has received all of the critical shots. Until then, skip the dog park.
Consistency is of great importance during the training phases. Just like a child, the mind of a puppy is exceptionally malleable. This is a double-edged sword; whatever a dog learns in their youth will be almost impossible to change in the future. Implementing and consistently enforcing house rules will yield a well-behaved companion for life. Neglecting to be consistent will leave room for bad habits to grow.
4) Encouraging Poor Potty Habits
Puppies have a knack for making houses a little damper than they should be. For instance, a three-month-old dog will need to relieve itself every three hours. Start to use commands such as, “Do you have to potty,” before leaving. Then using phrases such as “Good Potty” or “Good Boy/Girl” along with a treat will let your dog know that the grass is preferable to the carpet. For longer trips away from home, remove the water bowl half an hour before taking the dog out and putting him in the crate.
Tip: Never reprimand your pup for going to the bathroom in the house unless you saw it happen. Your dog will get confused and no longer understand commands if the potty mistake had been made a while before the punishment.
5) Forgetting to Puppy Proof
Do you have young children? Do you leave chocolate out on the table? Are the cords for your electronics covered? Puppies are fickle creatures and will get into anything they can get their paws on. Small toys, harmful food, and bare wires are just a few of the hazards that can harm your pup. If your dog can access a room, every inch of that room needs to be safe.
Avoiding these five mistakes will help keep your new family member happy and healthy.