With nearly 50 million households owning dogs, there's a good chance many owners are committing one or more blunders. Sometimes, the mistakes have little to no long-term impact. An occasional missed meal or training opportunity is unlikely to have far-reaching effects. Other times, mistakes that are perpetuated over and over can heavily influence the relationship shared between a canine and his owner.
With this in mind, we'll take a look at four blunders dog owners make. These gaffes can have a lasting effect on the relationship you share with your pooch.
Tip 1 - Neglecting Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition for your canine is important to maintain his health over the long run. Besides an ample and ever-present supply of water, he needs food that contains the right blend of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The food you purchase for him should have a healthy supply of fats and proteins. He also needs carbohydrates for energy.
Ask your veterinarian for nutritional recommendations given your pooch's size, weight, and normal activity level. By providing him with the right nutrition, you'll help him keep diseases, joint problems, and even obesity, at bay.
Tip 2 - Neglecting Veterinary Care
Annual examinations by a veterinarian are critical to your canine's health. The vet can identify potential problems early so they can be addressed before they worsen. For example, if your pooch develops glaucoma, he must receive treatment within a couple of days (and even within hours) to avoid permanently losing his vision.
From arthritis and respiratory problems, to skin conditions and kidney infections, the veterinarian is trained to recognize early warning signs. The sooner conditions can be diagnosed and treated, the less likely they'll have a permanent effect on your dog's health.
Tip 3 - Not Enrolling Into Professional Training Classes
Many owners take it upon themselves to train their canines. If your pooch is mild-mannered and was socialized as a puppy, you may be able to train him on your own. Otherwise, consider enrolling him into professional obedience classes. Not only will the trainer help prevent bad habits from forming, but the classes will give your canine a chance to socialize with other pets and their owners. That's important to help him become a more pleasant companion.
Tip 4 - Punishing Rather Than Praising
Despite their love for their dogs, many people react negatively to their canines' bad behavior rather than praising their good behavior. For example, if a puppy defecates on the carpet, his owner might punish him by yelling and rubbing his nose in the mess. Punishment rarely yields a sociable, pleasant pooch. Instead, it trains a dog to fear the person who is delivering the punishment.
Use praise to encourage acceptable behavior in your pooch. Not only will he do everything he can to please you, but praise will dramatically improve the relationship and bond you share with each other.
Owning a dog is a deeply rewarding experience that will last for years. Avoid the four mistakes above and you'll be more likely to raise a canine companion who is healthy, happy, and loyal.