Dog lovers adore their dogs and want nothing but the best for them. But responsible owners know that there is much more to dog ownership than the emotional attachment that they have to their pets.
Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility. Here are some mistakes owners make most:
1. Choosing the Wrong Dog
One mistake that contributes to shelter overcrowding is well-meaning people choosing the wrong dog. In other words, they base their choice of a pet on looks rather than compatibility. Lifestyle considerations should always be the most important factor when choosing a dog.
Although there are exceptions, for the most part, dogs like German shepherds do best in a home with a yard where they have room to run. They also need an active owner who is willing to take the time to train, exercise, and play with them every day.
For people with only a little time and space to share with a dog, a working breed is probably not the best choice. A smaller dog that requires less exercise and mental stimulation would most likely be a better choice. It is always best to research the characteristics of each breed to make sure they fit into your lifestyle before adding a dog to your family.
2. Getting a Dog on Impulse
Dogs are irresistible and it can be tempting to want to take one home. But unless you’re ready to make a commitment that will last the lifetime of the animal, it’s better to take a step back and consider your decision.
Although it can be hard to do, especially when a dog needs a home, making a rational rather than emotional decision will ensure the dog goes to the best home. If you’re not sure you’re ready, volunteering at a shelter or fostering a dog can also be an effective way to test the waters of dog ownership.
3. Not Thinking about the Realty of Dog Ownership Through
Like getting a dog on impulse is deciding to get a dog but not thinking all the ramifications through. Before adding a pet to your life, some considerations should be made. Some of the common questions to ask yourself include:
How will taking the dog out during the day fit into your schedule?
How will feeding times and potty breaks be handled?
Who will clean up after the dog?
Who will train, play with, and walk the dog?
Where will the dog sleep?
Is the house and yard dog safe?
Are you willing to put up with the shedding, potty training, and chewing stages?
Is the dog the right size and breed for you?
Do you have time for more responsibility?
Can you afford a dog right now?
4. Expecting too Much from New Pets
Whether it’s a puppy or an adult dog, pets need time to adjust to their new home. Expecting them to know the rules, not have accidents in the house, be comfortable with routines, or to know what is expected of them is not fair and a recipe for disappointment.
It takes lots of time and energy to train a puppy. It can take an adult dog that’s been rehomed for several months to come out of their shell and let their true personality shine. New homes are stressful for both puppies and adult dogs, so patience and understanding are the keys to a great future relationship.
5. Not Socializing the Dog
German shepherds are naturally protective and standoffish toward strangers. Socializing a German shepherd from puppyhood is not an optional step in raising one. To raise a confident dog that can go anywhere and is a joy to live with, they must be exposed to many people, places, things, and other animals.
That doesn’t mean you have to raise your German shepherd to be best friends with every person and animal they meet. But it does mean they need to learn how to behave in public, around people, and that they look to you for guidance in new situations without reacting inappropriately.
6. Preventing Problem Behaviors
German shepherds are super smart and eager to please. They are also working dogs who will make decisions for themselves and get into mischief without guidance. Not putting in the time to train them puts them at a disadvantage in life.
For them to grow up confident and well-behaved, they need training so that they understand what is expected of them. Training also strengthens the bond between dog and owner and provides them with the mental stimulation they crave while preventing problem behaviors from developing.
If you want a dog that is fun to take for walks, knows the house rules, performs behaviors on command, comes reliably when they’re called, knows how to greet people, and can go anywhere with you, you must invest the time to train them.
7. Skipping Exercise
German shepherds are very active and need a physical outlet for all their energy or they can get destructive. Exercising them is not optional, especially for young dogs. Providing them with enough exercise can come in many forms but skipping it will result in an anxious dog prone to behavior problems.
German shepherds need more than a walk around the block. While they do enjoy walks, they also need to run and play. Some exercises that they enjoy are fetch, hiking, agility, dog sports, swimming, and other outdoor activities.
Whatever form of exercise you choose, plan to provide it every day of the week, rain, or shine. When the weather is hot or cold, they will still need to burn off some steam and will need an outlet for their energy.
8. Avoiding the Vet
To ensure a dog is healthy and to provide a wellness baseline, they should see the vet at least once a year. Some people only call the vet when their pet is sick but being proactive with a dog’s health can save you a lot of heartache and money because health issues may be identified before they blow up into huge problems.
Routine visits to the vet will also help the vet get to know what is normal for the dog so that when something is amiss, it is easier to identify. Since dogs are masters at hiding illness and pain, one simple way to get ahead of problems is to identify them when they’re small. Routine visits also help dogs feel more comfortable so visits to the vet when they’re injured or ill are less stressful.
9. Not Getting Tags or a Microchip
No one likes to think that their dog will get lost but everyday dogs are found with no tags and no microchips. Having current tags and/or a microchip will help ensure that if a dog does get lost, there is a quick, easy, and affordable solution that leads to a happy reunion.
10. Not Using Pest Preventions
Avoiding fleas, ticks and worms are easy with monthly preventions. Avoiding preventions can lead to parasite-borne illnesses and deadly heartworms. Eventually, it’s much cheaper to use monthly preventions than treat illnesses that parasites can cause. It’s also much easier to prevent fleas than rid a house or yard of infestation.
11. Lack of Financial Planning
There is nothing more stressful or heartbreaking than not being able to provide medical care for your sick or injured pet. Vet bills can quickly mount in the face of a serious health issue. A pet savings account, Care Credit, and pet insurance are important parts of pet ownership.
Setting aside money each month for your dog, keeping a credit card with a zero balance for emergencies, or investing in pet insurance can help ensure that you can pay for the unexpected expenses and health emergencies associated with pet ownership.
We hope you enjoyed this article. If you know someone who could benefit from some of the tips here, please feel free to share.
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