When you think about getting a dog, you most likely imagine the fun and excitement of it. You'll have a furry companion to snuggle with, a living alarm system and a playmate. But there's a lot that goes into being a good pack leader; a dog is a huge responsibility and ownership mens being able to commit a significant amount of time and money.
First-time owners who don't spend enough time learning about what they are getting into can find themselves in over their heads and make costly mistakes.
Buying from a pet store instead of adopting: Why does it matter? because dogs that are commercially sold often face extremely poor conditions--buying from those who create these conditions merely serves to reward them for bad practices.
Not considering a dog's energy level: Often people fall in love with adorable, spunky little pups who seem like a lot of fun.. only to later realize that their dog doesn't have an "off" switch and they just can't keep up. It's important that owners are honest with their energy/activity levels and choose a breed that is compatible with that.
Insisting on adopting a puppy: If you plan to adopt a puppy, make sure you do your homework to learn how to raise one properly. Puppies come with many challenges that adult dogs generally do not, especially if you work with an organization like MustLuvBoxers Rescue who will find the best match for you. It's a sad but true fact of like that most dogs are abandoned by their owners between a year and a year-and-a-half years old, which is the point when uncorrected puppy behaviors go from being cute to destructive.
Not spay or neutering: It is vital that you spay or neuter your pet as we have an epidemic of homeless dogs in this country. Do your part, spay and neuter your dog.
Not fulfilling your dog's need for exercise, discipline and affection: Whether your dog is incredibly high-energy or a lump that prefers to lay around, they need structure to stay balanced. what this means can vary from breed to breed and dog to dog, but you always need to provide exercise, discipline and affection--and stay consistent.
Neglecting vet appointments: It's really easy to skip a vet appointment, especially if you're the type of person who isn't all that great at taking care of your own health. But going to the vet regularly can be a life or death matter. Otherwise, your dog can miss out on shots that protect them from a variety of diseases and conditions. Additionally, regular checkups are important for catching potential problems before they become too serious.
Skipping obedience training: If you neglect to teach your dog proper obedience, you're setting ourself up for a world of frustration and might even increase the likelihood that your dog is in put in mortal danger.
Not microchipping: Some dogs can get away from even the most watchful pack leaders, if your dog is microchipped, whoever finds them can have them scanned at a local vet or shelter and have them returned to you WITHOUT a collar tag identification. Be sure to keep your information up to date when you move or change phone numbers.
Feeding human food: It may seem harmless to offer your dog scraps from the table or feed him a portion of what you're eating but it can cause huge problems. First, there are a number of "people" foods that can actually make dogs sick. Second, it's not good for dogs to eat many of the spices and other things we add to our foods.
Failing to consistently exude calm, assertive energy around your pet: When you let your emotions get out of control, it's a signal to your dog that you might not be the calm, assertive pack leader they need. Not only does a freak-out not teach them what you want, it can cause them to assert themselves even more to replace you as the pack leader.