7 Common Mistakes Dog Owners Make
Do you give your dog treats without reason? Or punish it for an accident hours after it has been made? These are some common mistakes owners make, and there may be more you might be unaware of.
1.Too Much Indoors, Too Little Outdoors
Particularly in Singapore, many dogs are not getting enough time outside. This is largely due to the lack of dog-permitted premises and time. While the situation can’t be helped, it is important to work around your lifestyle and find ways to ensure your pup gets sufficient time outdoors. As animals, they are drawn to nature, and depriving them may lead to behavioural and medical issues. The average pup needs at least 40 minutes of outdoor exercise a day, and it is cruel and irresponsible to deprive them of this basic need.
Read more: Dog-Friendly Parks In Singapore
An untrained dog is often the cause of abandonment, and it’s no one’s fault but the owner’s. Though it may be more natural for us to shower our pups with love and affection, it is important to understand that dogs need rules, boundaries, and orders – much like children do. Training your dog not only improves its quality of life, but also makes your life easier; no more cleaning up after bathroom accidents or restraining it from running onto an oncoming car. If you aren’t able to do the training yourself, seek the help of a professional – this small investment will go a long way.
Read more: Dog Training Tips
3.Misusing The Crate
Crate training is a great way to housebreak your new puppy, but it should never be used as a form of punishment. For crate training to be effective, your pup must feel safe and comfortable in its crate. Never put your dog in the crate to punish it, and don’t leave it inside for too long. Puppies shouldn’t be confined for more than three to four hours, and if you’re housebreaking an adult dog, the maximum you should go is eight hours. The crate should not be used for dogs with separation anxiety either: they will do anything to escape, and may end up hurting themselves.
4.Overlooking The Breed
If you chose your dog’s breed based on its appearance without considering the breed’s needs, you may be needing to make some changes in your daily routine. Dog breeds do not just differ outwardly – different breeds have very different energy levels, health issues and traits. If your pup has behavioural issues, it is advisable to do some in-depth research into its breed, and make sure that you are meeting its needs.
5.Overgenerous With Treats
Many owners are guilty of handing out treats to their dogs without having them work for it. While it makes for a happy dog, this practice causes treats to lose their value as a training tool. Treats should only be given when earned, such as when a command is obeyed or a good behaviour is demonstrated. Use treats to reward and reinforce, so think twice before giving your dog that tasty chew.
If you are living with other people in the house, make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the dos and don’ts for your dog. Contradicting signals are very confusing for your pup, and may lead to behavioural issues. If your pup isn’t allowed in the kitchen, always tell it to go “out” when you catch it sneaking in. Never make exceptions, as dogs don’t understand exceptions and might take it as the go ahead to freely enter the kitchen.
7.Punishing Without Thinking
Contrary to popular belief, punishing a dog for its actions after it has made the “mistake” is ineffective. Instead of correcting the action, it simply instils fear in the dog towards you. Dogs aren’t able to make the connection between an action they did and the “punishment” they receive after. They become confused and fearful and could possibly begin to act out. If you happen to catch your dog mid-action, such as peeing on the floor, you can startle it out of the behaviour with a firm “no”. In this case, your dog will understand that it isn’t supposed to be peeing on the floor and will (hopefully) refrain from doing so again.