As pet owners, we only want what’s best for our fur babies. Of course, there are moments when we unintentionally get things wrong and cause our four-legged friends unnecessary stress. So, let’s make sure we’re all on the right path, and take a look at a few things that you should never do when it comes to caring for your pet:
- Don’t label and punish – If you’ve labeled your dog as stubborn, hyper, dumb or out of control, don’t punish them for a behavior or characteristic that you’ve put on them. This is one of the worst things a guardian can do. Most pets who are labeled bad or have behavioral problems are usually pets who haven’t had the time put in with proper training and exercise. Unwanted behaviors are a direct result of the owner’s lack of attention and dedication to proper education. When these acts happen, they’re simply expressing anxiety and frustration the only way that they know how, and you can’t punish them for not knowing otherwise. You must take the time to teach them and grow a solid relationship built on trust.
- Don’t tether – While some dog owners may tie their pet to a post or some other stationary object when going into public places (or even at home), like a store or even a park, this isn’t a good habit. In fact, you should avoid doing this at all costs, as dogs can easily wrap themselves in the leash. When this happens, and a dog feels that they can’t get free, they may start to chew through the tether, and once free, they can easily run away and get lost, taken, attacked or worse. Many dogs already feel anxious when left alone in public, so don’t make things worse for you, your pet or for a trusting passerby.
- Don’t have unsupervised playdates – Playdates are a necessary part of socialization, but as pet owners, it’s our job to make sure that that play is healthy, fair and safe. You want these interactions to be positive experiences that your pup looks forward to. You can’t simply drop them off for a few hours and leave.
- Don’t altogether remove toys – Does your dog destroy every toy that you give them? Well, that’s totally normal behavior! So, don’t punish them by taking away toys altogether; they need these to chew without taking their natural habits on everything else in your home. They need this mental and physical stimulation. When you leave them without their own devices, they just get bored, and bored dogs generally develop unwanted behaviors.
- Don’t confuse a crate for training – While a crate can be a wonderful training tool, it’s not a replacement for teaching manners. Sure, a crate is convenient, but putting dogs in a crate just to keep them out of the way does a huge disservice to them. Besides, if you just crate them, they’ll never learn manners. Remember, they want to be a part of the action too, so take the time to teach them proper behavioral habits.
- Don’t neglect annual checkups – Even if your pet is as healthy as they come, it’s important to stick to your yearly veterinary examinations. This includes staying up to date on blood tests and vaccinations. Remember, maintaining health is all about taking those preventive measures, so make your pet’s well-being a priority.
Our pets, much like us, have emotions and need guidance to help them navigate their everyday lives. So, don’t discount these basic needs, and keep your pet happy and healthy by ensuring that they have all of the tools that they need to live their best lives.