Guest Blog Post: 7 Puppy Raising Mistakes to Avoid

Written By: Steffi Trott, a professional dog trainer and the owner of SpiritDog Training. She specializes in providing game-based, bonding training to dog owners. In her free time, she competes in dog agility with her own four dogs.
New puppies are a wonderful addition to every family. Are you about to get a wrinkly little Bulldog pup, a sweet Labrador or a teeny-tiny Chihuahua? Cute, full of energy and curiosity they take our hearts by storm. In order to ensure your pup grows up to be a great companion and family member, you should start to train and work with him on day #1.

A study recently found that nearly 75 % of dogs can exhibit behavioral problems. The good news is that many of these can be prevented by raising your puppy the right way and avoiding certain mistakes.
Today, we are teaming up with Steffi from SpiritDog Training to share with you what you should not do when raising a puppy!
#1 Not training a puppy from the start
Many owners believe that their puppies should not be trained while they are very young. This could not be further from the truth! Of course, any kind of puppy training needs to be gentle and positive. Just like the puppy’s mom taught him rules and manners from the first day, so should you. Carry a pocket full of treats and reward your puppy every time he does something right: Sitting for attention, coming when called, doing his business outside … the more opportunities you find to reinforce good behavior, the faster he will learn. Puppy training should start the day you bring your puppy home!
#2 Having changing rules for the puppy

Many owners do not like their grown-up dogs to be on the couch and bed, and that is completely ok. But if you want to teach your dog to not get up on furniture, you need to implement this rule from the beginning. If you have changing rules depending on your puppy’s age, he will never learn what to do. If your future 90 pound Bernedoodle shouldn’t be on the couch, then your 15 pound Bernedoodle puppy shouldn’t be allowed on there either. 

By changing the rules based on your puppy’s size, you are confusing him and making it impossible for him to understand them.

#3 Not enough supervision

Little puppies are like toddlers - they get into everything, they put everything into their mouths and will quickly take apart your home if you do not watch them!

You cannot supervise your puppy too much. If you think there is even a slight chance that he may chew or break something - he probably will. You need to absolutely watch him closely and have him in a safe enclosed space if you cannot supervise. An exercise pen is perfect for this.

#4 Incorrect socializing

Most puppy owners know of the importance of socializing their puppies. But this needs to be done right! Socializing should always be a positive and pleasant experience. If you put your pup into a social situation that overwhelms him - such as taking him to a busy farmers market or a large party - he may get scared and actually learn that other people and dogs are bad. 

Always base your social outing on your puppy’s comfort level. Some dogs need to start out with short outings in less busy places. It is much better to have frequent and brief social outings than to have one long and exhausting outing once a month. The more often your puppy experiences other people and dogs in a positive setting, the faster he will become socialized.

#5 No grooming practice

If you have a puppy of a short-coated breed such as a Pitbull or Greyhound, you will never have to worry about brushing your dog a lot. As an owner of a long-coated breed however, you need to get your dog used to being brushed early on. 

The puppy coat of all breeds is easily managed even without a lot of combing. This leads many owners to neglecting grooming when the pup is young. Do not make this mistake! The later you start, the more your pup may fight it.

You should start to brush your puppy as soon as he gets home. Even if there are no tangles yet that need to be combed out, he needs to get used to brushing and being groomed. 

The same goes for toe nails: Toe nails of young pups wear down easily. You should still trim them once a week to get your puppy used to it.

#6 Getting bored of training

Training your puppy should be a daily task for at least the first year of his life. It does not need to be for long - just 5-10 minutes of puppy training will make a big difference. Or schedule a 30-minute session with a dog trainer near you! Do not make the mistake to be bored of daily puppy training once your pup has been with you for a few months. If you give up on consistently working with him, he will regress and form bad habits.

This especially applies to highly important skills such as leash walking and coming when called. You should practice these every single day for a few minutes.

#7 Not taking enough pictures

This is not a true puppy training mistake - but many owners regret not having taken more pictures of their little puppy once he is grown up. While the puppy stage may seem endless when you are cleaning up yet another potty accident or finding another shoe your pup has chewed, he will really grow up in the blink of an eye. 

You should document his growth - for example by taking a picture next to the same toy every month. Your puppy will not be a little puppy anymore soon - enjoy the time as much as you can.

The Bottom Line on Avoiding These 7 Puppy Raising Mistakes

You should strive to set your puppy up for success in life. This means teaching him all-important skills as soon as he joins your family. From being groomed over walking nicely on leash, staying off furniture to behaving well in social situations, the earlier you train him, the better. 

Supervision is important to prevent your puppy from ingesting something dangerous - and destroying your house.

Start working with your puppy as soon as he comes home, and you will raise a wonderful companion for you and your family!