The Top 10 Mistakes Pet Owners Make

  1. Buying a Pet on a Whim:  Potential pet owners should take their time researching what kind of pet and which breed works best for their lifestyle. Attributes to consider are size, activity level, age, grooming needs and more. A good match is important to avoid owner frustration and to keep more animals from ending up in shelters.
  2. Not Opting for Obedience Training:  Saving some dough by skipping training classes may not be worth the headaches over chewed up furniture or inappropriate barking. Not very many of us are blessed with the natural knowhow to properly train a dog, so some professional advice is probably worth the investment.
  3. Not Sticking to the Rules: You can’t blame a puppy for being confused if one day he is allowed to sit on the couch and the next he is being yelled at for it! It’s best to set boundaries right away and stick to them.
  4. Handing out too Many Treats: Make Fido work for his goodies. The occasional yummy snack is okay, but most of the time, treats should represent a reward for good behavior.  
  5. Neglecting to Socialize Fido: Socialization at a young age is key to avoiding behavior issues. Dogs should be exposed to people, other dogs, and the outside world in general. Exposure to different situations from an early age helps alleviate anxiety and deters aggressive behavior.
  6. Skimping on Exercise: Canine and feline obesity is becoming an epidemic in this country, don’t let your lovable companion become a statistic. Overweight dogs and cats are susceptible to more health problems than pets who maintain a healthy weight. In order to have as many healthy years with your pet as possible and maybe avoid some costly vet bills, it’s best keep your pet active.
  7. Not Providing Enough Mental Stimulation: A bored pet can mean a destructive pet. Make sure your cat or dog is provided with a variety of toys. For kitty, you can even place a bird feeder outside the window to keep her alert while watching the birds.
  8. Not Puppy-Proofing your Home: This goes for cats too. Before bringing a new furry friend home, always remove dangerous household items from reach. Also make sure they have easy access to necessities, a cat that can’t get to her litter box will learn to just use the carpet.
  9. Too Much Alone Time: Too much time spent alone can cause separation anxiety and destructive behavior for some dogs. For dogs in homes where too much alone time is a daily occurrence, hiring a dog walker or considering doggy daycare might be a good option.
  10. Relying on Punishment: Physical punishment is inhumane and also ineffective, your pet will simply learn to fear you instead of learning appropriate behavior.  Yelling should only be used if your pet is caught in the act, in which case a firm “no” may help deter future incidents. The emphasis should be on training to prevent bad behavior, not on punishment after the fact.
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