It is very easy to inadvertently encourage bad habits, dog behavior problems or even make certain behaviors worse. Dogs are creatures of habit and they will do what works for them. They are the masters of reading us; so remember your new puppy or dog picks up on the things we want them to and the things we don’t want them to. Here are a few common mistakes new dog owners make:

  1. Giving your new puppy too much freedom too soon. Yes of course we want our dog to be able to roam the house freely or sleep in our bed with us. BUT, this can come in due time; your dog needs to earn that freedom rather than just be given access to everything.
  2. Not addressing bad or misbehavior; which may allow that behavior to become a habit because it has gone unaddressed – this allows the dog to think that it is acceptable
  3. Letting your dog think he or she is the one in charge. Most of the time this accidently happens. I am sure nobody gets a dog so they can end up with a bratty dog that has all sorts of behavioral problems. But by not establishing boundaries and rules early on you most certainly can end up with a brat on your hands.
  4. Not utilizing a crate because you feel it’s cruel. Crate your dog. Crate your dog. Crate your dog. This is one of the most underutilized training tools on the market because it has such a negative connotation associated with it. Many people feel guilty or bad using one. You shouldn’t. Crate training your dog is essential to establish rules, boundaries, schedule, and housetraining. Sure, you can probably do those things without a cate, but I’m not sure how your furniture, carpet, and other stuff will look afterwards.
  5. Not allowing your dog to explore and experience the world on their own. Instead, being overprotective, carrying the dog around, or always coddling them. This can have huge consequences for your dog. Think of little dogs that you see always being carried around all the time. Sure, they’re easy to pick up, sure it’s cute to have them in a bag, but it doesn’t come without a price and that price is your dog’s confidence. Dogs that are prevented from exploring do not have the opportunity to develop self confidence in new surroundings, new environments, or even at new levels i.e. when they are carried versus being on the ground.

Dogs are a ‘Pack’ animal they need structure and rules, in fact they crave it. By setting rules, limits, and boundaries you are enforcing your pack position. Your dog is going to look to you for leadership and guidance, if they feel that you are not capable of providing it, your dog may try filling that role. By showing your dog what you want, having them on a schedule, and providing proper exercise-you’ll be giving your dog the foundation he or she needs to become the best family dog.

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