10) Shouting at the dog

Dogs should learn to obey commands given in a normal volume, without shouting. Unfortunately, people often learn that by yelling at a dog, they can momentarily interrupt bad behavior. But this is a temporary fix, not a long-term solution. Frightening a dog breaks down the owner’s relationship with the dog, so fear should never be part of a training program. A well-trained dog obeys commands given in a normal volume.


9) Removing a puppy from a litter at too early an age.

Puppies need to remain with the litter until 7 to 10 weeks. Most toy breeds need to stay with the litter until the age of 10-12 weeks. Even if the mother dies, the litter should remain together until at least 7 weeks of age so that they can learn from each other. Puppies learn bite inhibition, den cleanliness, following leadership and much more from their early experiences in the litter. Some of our most challenging cases involve dogs who have been removed from the litter before the age of 7 weeks.


8) Hitting the dog.

Believe it or not, in spite of a mountain of information to the contrary, many people still feel it’s ok to hit their dogs. There is no valid justification for hitting a dog. It is never a solution to any dog training or behavior problem – in fact, it creates more problems than it solves.


7) (TIE) a) Putting the dog’s nose in its mess after a house training accident.  b) Using paper or puppy pads for housebreaking.


a) Never, never take your dog back to an accident and stick his nose in the mess. This can lead to stool eating, aggression, fear, shyness and more. It’s also a sure fire way to make the process of house training take a whole lot longer.


b) Do not use paper or puppy pads during housebreaking. Teach the dog early on that the bathroom is outside. Using paper or pads inside the home confuses the dog and retards the housebreaking process.


6) Rolling a dog over on its back and holding it down to show “dominance”.

This outdated technique (called the “Alpha Rollover”) is based on flawed science and it does nothing to establish leadership. To the contrary, it can break down the bond between you and your dog and can lead to aggression.


5) Getting a dog for protection

Protection trained dogs do best in military, police or security work, not as family pets.   “Amateur protection training” done at home often has disastrous consequences. If you want protection get an alarm system, not a dog.


4) Choosing the wrong breed for the family’s lifestyle.

There a number of breed selector quizzes available online. Take several of them and narrow your search to the breed that matches your family. Decide what you want in a pet dog – a jogging partner or a couch potato? A long lustrous coat or a coat that sheds less? Some breeds need a “job” – for example, a border collie is better suited for a herding job on a farm rather than living in a city apartment.


3) Adopting or purchasing 2 dogs from the same litter.

Sometimes this can work out fine, but more often it makes training, socialization and development more difficult. Look at it this way – if you visited a foreign country without an interpreter, you would learn to speak their language a lot faster. Similarly, one puppy will bond with the family faster, and learn things much more easily, than two puppies from the same litter. Two puppies from the same litter will often focus more on each other than on their new family.


2) Getting a second dog to keep the first dog company.

Dogs need HUMAN companionship and leadership. If you don’t have time for one dog, getting a second dog makes no sense.


#1 Mistake Made by Pet Dog Owners:

Getting a dog when you don’t have time for a dog.

Dogs require lots of time and attention. Behavior problems, housebreaking problems, poor socialization, destructiveness, boredom, obsessive behaviors like tail and light chasing, excessive barking, self-mutilation, excessive licking, choking on toys left in the crate all day, digging, yard escaping, fear, shyness, lack of exercise, insufficient play and mental stimulation are only a few of the challenges which arise when people don’t have time for their dogs. Excessive crating, locking a dog in a room or tying it out all day, free-feeding the dog or installing a doggy door so the dog can fend for itself will make things worse. Not to mention lack of time and attention for training and veterinary needs. A dog is not a goldfish. A dog is a pack animal with clearly defined social and developmental needs. Don’t get a dog unless you have time for a dog.

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