Top 10 List on How to Mess Up Your Dog!

#10 Get a dog on a Whim.  Bringing a dog or puppy into your home is a huge life style change.  I would compare this next to having a baby.  The difference is you can’t leave the baby in a kennel when you leave the house.  There are a lot of things to consider when getting a dog.  If it’s a puppy someone needs to be home to help potty train.  Don’t expect to have an easy time potty training a puppy is he’s left home alone while you work.   You will also need training time with the dog.  Whether you get a puppy, rescue, or find an adult dog in the paper who, “is a good dog but needs a home because we are moving”.  People will not tell you issues they have with their dog.   You will find out behavioral problems on your own.  You will need to spend time with the dog to correct these issues.  Dogs can have varied degrees of separation anxiety, house training, obsessive barking, and other forms of anxiety.  All dogs need training, exercise, and affection.  Also consider the cost of owning a dog.  Make sure to budget for Veterinary care (plus emergencies), toys, kennels, beds, and a professional trainer.  Prepare for the worst hope for the best.    If you are not prepared to spend the time and money to care for your dog, wait until your lifestyle is ready for a pet.

#9 Buy a Shock Collar and Start Shocking your Dog.  Punishment is not training, and punishment has no place in training.  Ever see a dog who acts scared and is hand shy?  Dogs who look sad when doing obedience are suffering from compulsion training.  I use remote collars in my training regimen, but the levels used are so low people can barely feel the stimulation.  If you are interested using a remote collar with your dog, hire a professional to teach you how to use the device properly.  I love remote collar training because it’s like always having a leash on your dog.  You will be amazed at the control you can have with your dog.  They can run free and be a dog while you still have control.

#8   Abusive Potty Training.  We do not rub the dog’s nose in his urine.  Dogs naturally sniff poop and pee.  It’s how they learn about one another.  You will confuse the heck out of your dog by rubbing his nose in his own bodily fluids and it’s abusive.  All you will be teaching the dog is to be afraid of you.   If you need help with the correct way to house break your dog, contact a professional.  Any reputable puppy training class will give you direction on potty training.   Again, if someone is not going to be home during the day to house break, hold off on getting a puppy.

#7 You can solve your Dog’s Aggression Issues by Feeding Him.   I had a prospective client come for an evaluation with a very large powerful dog with severe aggression issues.  She was attempting to use marker training to solve her dog’s aggression.  I explained the dog was dangerous and she would need to leave him with me for Board and Train.  I also believed Marker Training alone was not going to solve this dog’s issues.  She disagreed and told me she found a behaviorist on the internet in Florida (1200 miles away) who told her differently.  At one point the dog growled at me and she marked the behavior by feeding him.  I pointed out that she just marked the aggression.   No wonder her dog had issues!   I advised whatever trainer she hires, most likely will need to take her dog for an extended period of time for Board and Train and it would not be cheap.  I also made her aware that the average award for a Dog Bite is over $200,000.  Using this comparison the board and train is a more economical way to go.

#6 Too Proud to Hire a Professional.  I have had clients who said this is their third dog and they have never had issues until now.  As long as you have a low energy, submissive dog, generally you will not have control problems.  However, issues arise when you have a high energy dominant dog.  Dogs are stronger, faster, and acute at reading our emotions.  If a dog is faster, stronger, smarter than us, why should they listen?  They are in charge!  Many dogs end up in the dog pound and rescues because their owner have given up and cannot control or correct unwanted issues.  Be prepared to hire a trainer, if needed.  You will be amazed with just a little guidance and time working with your dog, how they can come around and be a happy, loyal, balanced part of the family.

#5. Leave the Dog Tied up or unattended outdoors.  Dogs get bored.  Your back yard, no matter how large, is nothing but a kennel in your dog’s mind.  They will get bored and find unwanted destructive things to do.  Police Dog Trainers build dog aggression by tethering the dog to a post and teasing them with tug toys.   If your dog is tied out or fenced in, they reward themselves by seeing people, dogs, and squirrels run buy your property.  Your dog barks and the people or whatever goes away.  This self- rewarding circumstances repeats itself over and over until you have a dog with aggression issues.   Next they get lose and someone gets bit.  Then police arrive and your dog is being quarantined.   You will be facing both criminal charges and civil liability.

#4 Provide No Exercise for your Dog.  If you don’t give your dog the exercise they need he will find his own way to burn off his excessive energy.   This may include, chewing, barking, digging, running away, etc.  Dogs need exercise.  Some dogs more than others.  I don’t care if you own 10 acres of property; it’s nothing more than a kennel to your dog.  Walk, run, or bike your dog.  If you are not physically capable of walking your dog invest in a Treadmill.  If you have a dog with high energy find a dog sport you both enjoy.  Some examples of dog sports are Frisbee, freestyle obedience, agility, fly-ball, dock jumping, and protection sports.  Doggy Day Care is another nice way to burn off excessive energy and allow your dog to socialize.

#3 Yell at Your Dog.  While you’re at it smack him with a newspaper and curse at him any time he is pestering you.  Negativity is not the way to give your dog the quality of life they deserve.  Dogs cannot divorce you.  They are stuck with you and want to live a happy and relaxed life.  If you are at your wits end with your dog’s behavior, hire a trainer to help you.  The money spent on a quality dog trainer will result in years of happiness and joy with your dog in the long run.  If you are not happy, your dog isn’t happy.

#2 Enforce no rules, boundaries, or limitations.   If you do not set rules your dog, he will.  If your dog sets the rules, he will be out of control and you will be visiting me in no time.  Dogs thrive on rules and schedules.  With a dog there is no gray area.  They only see black and white.  All dogs need to work for a living.  If they have no job and set the rules, you will be in for long frustrating life with your dog.

And the #1 No- No is Affection, Affection, Affection!  All affection, pared with no exercise or discipline and you will have an out of control spoiled dog.  Your dog will think it’s his house, his couch, his bed and he lets you sleep in it with him because he likes you.  You will cater to his needs every time he barks and whines.  When he barks you will jump up and play the game, “do you want a treat, do you want outdoors, he doesn’t like the neighbor, do you want to watch your favorite show?”   Affection is part of a healthy relationship with your dog, but only after he is taught your rules, and has been exercised.  Balance is the Key.  A balanced dog is a happy dog.  People mistakenly try to use people psychology on dogs.  Dogs are not people, you cannot reason with them.   There are several books on the topic on dog behavior.  Pick a couple up and stick to their guidelines.  If you happen to have a problem child, find a trainer in your area with a good reputation and I’m sure they will have you and your dog squared away in no time.

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