While we love our dogs, it can be easy to let a bad habit or two slip as a dog owner, especially if we don't know it's wrong! Here are some tips on habits that you should avoid.
While we tend to get pretty angry when our pups do something wrong, yelling shouldn't be our first reaction. It's simply because our dogs really don't understand what we're yelling about. If you dog understands the word "no" by now, a firm "no" when they're in the middle of doing something bad, or "drop it" will suffice. But yelling after they've done something bad doesn't do much good because dogs can't make the connection between the yelling and the deed.
Forgetting Your Dog's Teeth
Just as we brush our teeth, our dog's teeth need to be brushed, too. Not as often as ours, but it's good to try to brush your dog's teeth at least once a week. Forgetting about their teeth is an easy mistake to make, so you'll want to add a doggy toothbrush and doggy toothpaste to your shopping list if you don't already have them!
Relying on Words
While your dog might be very intelligent and understand "sit," "stay", and more, it doesn't mean that you should rely solely on your words to communicate with your pup. Dogs respond much better to physical communication, such as gestures and hand signals. Body language works much better for pups and they can easily remember commands and how they connect to their actions.
Keeping a Tight Leash
While you want to be able to control your dog on walks, keeping you leash too tight isn't great for your pup. It can cause them both stress and anxiety and can be counterproductive. Instead, train your dog to walk on a looser leash. By training them to have a loose leash but still walk beside you, it will be less stressful and more beneficial for them in the long run.
Teasing might seem good-natured to you, but it doesn't come off that way to your dog. Don't pull on your dog's tail or fake bark at them - it can lead to both trust and behavioral issues in the long wrong. Obviously, avoid this with other dogs, but also avoid it with your own dog - even if you don't think they're bothered by it.
The biggest thing you can do for your pup is show them love! Give them attention, play with them, walk them, and avoid the annoying (and potentially harmful) habits above.