Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Caring for Your Dog

Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Caring for Your Dog

Whether you have a puppy, a new dog, or a 10-year-old dog, correcting these mistakes will help you and your dog a lot in the long run.

1: Your dog isn't getting enough exercise.

This page is primarily about German Shepherds, but we welcome all dog owners and the basics of dog training and husbandry and pretty much the same across the board. Most dogs do not get enough exercise. That is a factual statement. But German Shepherds are built to trot at speed all day to act as a living fence to keep sheep in one area.

That means they are built from the ground up to go for hikes, jogs, and long, long walks. If you want your dog to be in peak health, live longer, and be happy, exercise your dog more.

2: Bad weight management.

This can be helped by exercising your dog more. But there are dogs that are overweight and well-exercised. If a dog exercises, it builds stamina for exercise. But that doesn't mean that eating two times more food than they need won't make them overweight.

Overweight dogs do not live as long. That is a proven fact. They also are going to age more rapidly and be more likely to have joint pain from a full life of carrying extra weight on their frame. You are the sole source of food for your dog. If they're overweight, it isn't something they're doing wrong.

If you want to spend more time with your canine companion and you want them to be healthier for longer ... don't show love with extra food. Show it by spending time and exercising with your dog. It is good for both of you.

3: Dental care.

I know this one will catch a few people by surprise but, a dog's dental hygiene is very important. Most dogs these days eat commercial diets. But a dog's teeth were meant to eat edible bone and chew through hide and muscle and sinew. When you watch documentaries about wolves, you often see a mouth full of pearly whites, free of tartar.

Well, most dogs aren't eating the things that naturally clean teeth, so you'll have to do it via brushing. If tartar builds up, most vets will do a cleaning or refer you to someone who can.

Now you may be thinking why this point is such a big deal, so I'll spill the beans. Inflamed gums, infections from periodontal disease and the like can permanently damage organs. Heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease as the bacteria gets into the bloodstream from the gums and wreaks havoc in the body. If you're not brushing your dog's teeth regularly, start. If you notice buildup, contact your vet for a cleaning.

4: Not understanding pack structure.

I'm sure you've heard people saying things like "You have to show your dog who is alpha." That's not what pack structure is all about. Pack structure is about you providing everything your dog needs, but also making sure your dog respects boundaries and rules. A lot of people just get a puppy, raise the puppy, do a little training, and put no thought into pack structure at all. Never have, never will. And that works out fine sometimes.

The other times, it does not work out very well at all. It mostly depends on the dog's character and personality and how their owner behaves towards the dog. Some people are just good leaders naturally and accidentally create an environment in their home where there is a fairly solid pack structure. Others end up calling professional trainers after being bitten by their own dogs. The most unlucky ones end up in newspapers and people sometimes assume they must've abused the dog that did it. But that usually is not the case. Most of the time it was a dog that was a fearful dog with no direction or structure in its life that learned that aggression gets it what it wants.

Learning about and building solid pack structure in your home is very important as the bond you create with your dog because they go hand in hand.

5: Getting a professional trainer.

Not puppy classes, not the local pet store training classes. I mean getting into contact with a true professional trainer. One who either competes or used to compete in obedience trials, or a protection sport like IGP, IPO, Schutzhund, Mondio Ring, French Ring, etc. If you can afford it, go train with them. You aren't paying to have your dog trained. You're paying to learn how to train and handle dogs.

You can always throw money at a problem. And in this case, throwing money at a problem would be sending off a dog to board and be trained and have the dog sent back. You'll have a dog with great obedience who formed a great bond ... with the person who actually trained them. What you won't have is timing, understanding body language, the subtle cues to look for when training a dog, and the subtle cues to reading a dog. You will be too late with a reward, too early with corrections, and all other forms confusing to your dog.

If you don't have time to train your own dog, or simply don't particularly enjoy training, that's fine. Later on, you can send every dog you'll ever have in the future off to be trained. But we're talking about mistakes you're currently making. So with this dog, take the one you have now and train with a professional trainer.

Learn about timing rewards and corrections. Learn the subtle cues. Ask questions. Learn the lingo dog trainers use. Your dog will be happier because you yourself will be better at handling him. You will be happier because you'll know how to handle your dog better. You will bond with your dog. There is only one downside and that is that no one teaches skills for free when they can get paid to teach. So yes, it will cost a bit of money. But if you've got it, use it on a professional trainer and learn everything you can.

These have been 5 mistakes that you're making with your dog, and luckily, most of these are easy fixes. Getting these things squared away will make your and your dog's lives better, easier, and safer. If you enjoyed this article, please hit like and share and tell us in the comments which of these 5 things you think you have together, and which you think you need to work on. Thank you!

You may also like: 10 Ways You Can Read Your German Shepherd’s Mind

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