Don't Make These 5 New Dog Owner Mistakes

4. They don’t take house-training seriously. One of the most common reasons dogs are given up to shelters is for behavior problems — and one of those problems is pottying in the house. That’s heartbreaking because it’s such a simple problem to prevent. All it takes is scheduling, consistency, praise and rewards. Take your dog out at specific times: first thing after he wakes up, after every meal, after playtime and just before bedtime. During the day, set a timer to go off every two to four hours after the previous potty time to remind you to take him out again. Go out with him. If you don’t, he won’t know why he’s out there because you won’t be there to say “Good potty!” when he does his business. Then let him have a little playtime. He won’t want to pee and poop right away if all you’re going to do is drag him back inside once he’s done.

When he's in the house, prevent accidents. Don’t give a young or new dog the run of the house right away. Keep him where you can watch him. If you can’t watch him, put him in his cozy crate, exercise pen or small dog-proofed room (I like a laundry room or bathroom). As he gets older, he’ll be more physically able to hold his urine and stool for longer periods. He will also have learned that he gets to go out at specific times — and that outside is the place to go.

5. They don’t give weekly baths. You’ve probably heard that bathing a dog too frequently will dry out his skin. Not so! It actually can be good for him and for you. Weekly baths are good for your dog because they help remove allergens and infectious agents such as yeast and bacteria. They also help keep him clean so he’s more welcome in your home and on your furniture. Bathing your dog weekly is good for you because it helps remove allergens that can cause you to sneeze and sniffle when you’re in his presence. That makes him more huggable, and who doesn’t want that?

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