Getting a new puppy can be exciting. However, without a basic understanding of raising a puppy, things can get frustrating quickly. Constant barking, destructive chewing, and unsettling behaviors can make you regret bringing a puppy home. Here are eight mistakes to avoid when getting a new puppy.
1. Taking Your Puppy Home Too Soon
A tiny little puppy is adorable. However, for the first eight weeks of your puppy’s life, he is getting nurturing from his mother and learning social skills from the other puppies. Puppies removed from their litter before eight weeks have problems controlling bite inhibition, find it difficult to interact with other dogs, and are aggressive towards people. You can minimize stress by getting a puppy that has been with its litter for at least eight weeks or more.
2. Waiting Too Long to Start Training
Your new puppy is so adorable that you don’t want to chastise it for anything. However, at eight weeks old, a puppy can understand basic commands. Simple obedience skills, like down, come, sit, and stay, should be taught early on. This will give your puppy a sense of focus, making them well-mannered right away.
3. Not Crate Training
Dogs have a natural desire to be in their den. They want tight, safe spots where they can eat and rest. Crates take advantage of your dog’s desire not to want to go potty where they eat or sleep. It is a great idea to feed your puppy in their crate. This allows her to eat in peace. A good crate is long enough for your puppy to turn around in and tall enough for her to stand. You should not leave your dog for more than six hours at night in the crate or four hours during the day.
4. Giving Them Too Much Freedom Quickly
Puppies are curious. However, if they are allowed to roam around unsupervised, they will go potty wherever they want, chew on your shoes, and make a mess. You can minimize a mess in your house by ensuring that your puppy is either with you or in her crate. Tether her to your belt strap with a six-foot leash when she is with you. Little by little, you can increase her independence.
5. Letting Your Puppy Eat When They Want to
If you leave food down all day for your puppy, you can’t create a predictable potty schedule. Your dog will always have food in its system, so it will need to go to the bathroom more frequently. If you have a specific feeding time, you can synchronize her digestive system, making it easier to train her.
Additionally, scheduling feeding means that you know when your puppy is hungry. So why not train the puppy a few minutes before mealtime? Finally, feeding at select times lets you control how much your puppy is eating, making it easier to keep them slim.
6. Not Getting Insurance for Your Dog
Like humans, dogs get sick and injured. You will inevitably need to take your dog to the vet. Puppies have a lot of additional expenses, such as their initial shots and getting them spayed or neutered. If you have gone to the vet without dog insurance, you know that a wellness check and a couple of shots can run you into the hundreds of dollars. This can make having a puppy seem frustrating. However, many monthly plans will cover most medical procedures.
7. Repeating Commands
Once your puppy understands a command, do not repeat it multiple times. If you do, they will get accustomed to waiting for you to say the command several times instead of once. Either the puppy has not learned the behavior well enough, or they ignore you. Walk your puppy to a new spot, and repeat the command. When they obey the first time, give them a treat.
8. Failing to Socialize
You need to socialize your dog within the first 16 weeks of its life. Teach it to play with other puppies and other people. If not, your dog may have an antisocial, aggressive mindset. Try to invite friends and their puppies over regularly.
Enjoy Puppy Ownership
Owning a puppy is a ton of fun. By avoiding these eight mistakes, the entire experience will be more enjoyable.