15 Common Mistakes New Dog Parents Make and How you can avoid them


It's not unusual to see a puppy and fall in love at first sight or find a dog in a rescue shelter that looks so pitiful you just want to scoop them up and whisk them away to their new forever home with you.

However, even with the best of intentions, you may unknowingly be doing things that aren't that good for your dog.

When it comes to being a dog guardian, you have to start making decisions and choices before you even bring your new pup home.

Common Mistakes New Dog Owners Can Avoid

To ensure your Shih Tzu and you have a long and happy life together, make sure you avoid these 15 common mistakes that new dog owners make.

1. Making Hasty Decisions 

One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is bringing home a new pup before they've even decided if they can handle a dog.

Raising a dog is a big responsibility, and you should never enter into dog guardianship without carefully considering all of the different factors involved.

For example, if your job requires you to travel often and work long hours away from home, a dog might not be the best pet for you.

If you're never going to be around to give your dog attention or play with your pup, then getting a dog ends up being a pretty selfish act.

2. Not Considering Your Budget

Sometimes you can think everything through, know that you have all the time in the world to devote to your new pup, but forget about your budget.

The fact is, dogs cost money.

Many dog parents jump into bringing a dog home without fully grasping all of the expenses that come with it.

Make sure you have enough money in your budget to cover your dog's basic needs like food, grooming, and regular vet check-ups.

You also need to think about the initial supplies like toys, a collar, a leash, a dog bed, etc. You don't want to end up living paycheck-to-paycheck due to being overwhelmed with these expenses.

3. Neglecting Early Socialization

Once again, a dog comes with great responsibility, and a big part of having a dog is making sure your pup is properly socialized.

As soon as you bring home a new dog, you should work with her in various situations and expose her to several different people and experiences.

A sheltered puppy often becomes an unhappy, nervous, mischief-making dog.

As your pup's primary caretaker, it's your responsibility to introduce her to many things as soon as possible. This way, she can grow into a confident, happy, healthy, well-rounded pooch.

4. Not Training Your Dog

In addition to proper socialization, proper training is also critical.

When a dog is trained, she is more likely to stay safe and behave well in public.

Before you start training your dog, make sure you understand the basic techniques of positive reinforcement training and ensure that you have set aside the appropriate amount of time to train your dog consistently.

If you feel like you can't handle training your pup yourself, then it is your responsibility to seek out an obedience class or a private trainer that can work with your dog.

5. Assuming Things Will Work Themselves Out 

Many dog owners seem to think things will just work out when it comes to their dogs.

You might assume that you can take your dog for a walk, and he'll perfectly behave even though you've never trained him how to walk on a leash.

Or, if your dog is acting funny, you might think he's going through a phase instead of consulting with your vet for a potential health issue.

Make sense? If your dog is having some sort of trouble, don't assume it will all work out. Address the problem as soon as possible, and see your vet if necessary.

6. Not Doing the Right Research

All dogs are different, so before you decide what type of dog you want to add to your family, make sure you do your research.

For example, if you have children at home, look into different breeds known to be a good match for homes with kids.

Likewise, if you already have other animals, don't fall for a breed that prefers to be an only dog home.

It's also essential to research any potential health issues that a particular breed might be prone to, where your specific pup is from, and to learn all you can in general about dogs. The more you know, the better the pup parent you can be.

7. Letting Your Pup Rule the Roost

Of course, many of us joke about how our dogs are the kings and queens of our households, but it's essential to make sure your dog knows you are the boss.

If your dog truthfully runs the show, and it shows in the fact that you have torn up furniture, chewed on baseboards, and an aggressive pup, then you're not doing your pup or yourself any favors.

It's vital to establish your role as the dominant alpha dog from the very beginning, set clear expectations for your dog, and develop a trusting relationship and bond with your pet.

8. Using the Wrong Dog Supplies

When it comes to dog supplies, not all products are created equal.

For example, certain chew toys and other items are designed for small dogs, while others are specifically for larger dogs.

Therefore, you don't want to give a bone intended for a puppy to your Labrador because, ultimately, you're giving your dog a significant choking hazard.

No matter whether you're purchasing grooming supplies, dog food, toys, or a dog bed, it's important to choose the correct product for your canine companion.

9. Guessing When It Comes To Feeding Your Dog

Many dogs end up underfed or overfed because their owner simply throws a handful of food in a dish or keeps filling a bowl whenever it is empty.

The fact is, how much food your dog needs depends on a lot of factors like your dog's weight, age, activity level, and any special needs your dog might have.

Read the label carefully on any dog foods you get for your pup to make sure you're following the appropriate feeding instructions.

If you have any questions or doubts about how much food your pup needs daily, you must discuss this with your vet to ensure your dog is getting adequate nutrition.

10. Not Supervising Your Dog in Public Spaces

Have you ever gone to a dog park with your pup, only to have someone else's dog on top of you the entire time? It's not fun, is it?

When you bring your dog into any public space, you must supervise her properly, even in places designed explicitly for pups.

Just because an area is dog friendly doesn't mean you can let your dog run amok while doing your own thing.

If you don't keep an eye on your dog, she could hurt herself or someone else, get loose and run off, or damage property.

11. Not Picking Up After Your Pooch

Hopefully, this one speaks for itself, but you might be surprised at how many people just don't pick up their dog's poop.

Or if your dog makes any kind of a mess, it's just common courtesy to clean up after your pet.

Remember, your pet is your responsibility, which means so is their mess.

12. Neglecting Basic Care

While you might take your pup to the vet if she is sick, it's also essential to take your dog to the vet for regular well-checks.

Many dog guardians think as long as their pups get the proper vaccinations, that's all that's needed.

In truth, while vaccinations are important, it's also critical to make sure your dog has regular vet check-ups, teeth cleanings and that you keep up with your pup's personal care.

This means that you attend to your dog's grooming needs, clip her nails, brush her coat as often as needed, and make sure she has all of the basic essentials.

13. Forgetting About the Temperature

Dogs feel temperature just like humans, so make sure you stay aware of your pup's environment.

If your dog is outside in the heat, make sure she has adequate shade and full-time access to cold, fresh water.

Likewise, if you're going to be out with your dog in frigid weather, make sure she has adequate protection against the cold.

Exposing your dog to extreme temperatures without proper precautions can lead to significant health issues and even death.

14. Not Washing Your Pup's Food and Water Dishes 

After we use a dish, we wash it, so why do many dog owners think that their dogs can eat and drink out of the same bowl for days without cleaning them?

Make sure to give your pup's bowls a good wash with hot soapy water.

If your dog eats dry dog food, once a week is probably sufficient; however, if your puppy eats wet food, you really should wash the dish every day.

Don't forget to wash their water bowl too. Washing your dog's water bowl every day limits the number of bacteria that can develop.

15. Getting Too Many Dogs

If you're a dog parent, then undoubtedly, you love dogs. The problem is that when we love dogs so much, we tend to want to get more.

This is especially true with smaller dogs like the Shih Tzu.

While having multiple dogs is excellent; if you have the time and money to take care of them properly.

Many dog parents do well with one dog and decide to add another to the mix, then another ending up in over their heads.

Don't get more dogs than you can reasonably handle, both financially and time.

Final thoughts

Being a dog guardian can be one of the most meaningful things in your life, but it can also cause many problems if you're not careful.

Before you enter into dog guardianship, make sure you know exactly what you're getting into and ready to take on the fantastic challenge.

Being aware of these common mistakes that dog owners make can help you avoid them in the future.

This way, you can give your canine pal the very best and ensure that they live a long, happy, and healthy life with you. 

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