At Vebo, we come across new puppy owners almost on a daily basis. Over the years, we have answered a LOT of questions from new puppy owners. While we are pleased to see that a lot of them are very well prepared, unfortunately they are some who have not given enough thoughts into pet ownership, in particular, dog ownership.
So here are 5 most common mistakes we have seen:
(1) Lack of research on the dog breed
Before you buy a puppy of a particular breed, it is very important to research about the breed. Things you need to look at are typical temperament for the breed, grooming and exercise requirements, how much room is usually required, how difficult are they to train, how well they get along with other animals and kids etc. Because buying a dog is a long term commitment, you should think about how it could affect your life style. Some factors can be worked around, but some can be real "deal-breakers", for example, if you pick a working breed that requires a lot of exercises but you don't have the room or time for it.
(2) Getting from the wrong place
We generally do not recommend people buying a dog from a pet shop or local classified, because there is a good chance that the dogs come from dodgy "puppy farms". If you are not picky on breed and don't mind an older dog, we always tell people to consider adopting. If you do decide a buy a puppy, at least go to an ethical dog breeder who care about their dogs. These breeders would interview their buyers to make sure the dogs are suitable for them, and they make sure their puppies are healthy and free from inherited health problems through selection of parents. All puppy farms care about is how to pump out as many dogs as as possible.
(3) Bad feeding habits
A lot of people are so worried that their puppies will starve and they make food available for the dog 24/7. New born puppies have a smaller stomach so they do need to eat more frequently, but once they are a little older, most dogs only eat once or twice per day. Leaving food around for them all the time promote bad eating habits (i.e. they have one or two bites then they walk away), or if you have breeds with a huge appetite (e.g. Labs) they will become overweight. If you feed your dog raw food like bones and meat, you would want them to finish it rightaway so it doesn't attract ants and flies.
(4) Inconsistency in training
Many people take their dogs to classes, but not many of them achieve the result that they wanted. Most of the time it comes down to being consistent. One common challenge is that everyone in the house treats the dog different. If your dog gets a mixed reaction to the same behavior (e.g. dad corrects him, mum ignores him, the kids rewards him with play and attention), it really sends a mixed message to the dog. So you need to make sure everyone is on the same page at home.
(5) Fail to address teeth and gum problems early
It is very common for small dogs to have plague build-up which leads to teeth and gum problems, and many people fail to address it early on by adjusting the dog's diet by including food that promote gum exercise. Sometimes they only find out during the annual vet visit, by that time it may be too late or the problem has already escalated.