There is no doubt that we love our dogs and would do absolutely anything for them. We care for them when they are sick, feed them when they are hungry and in return they look after us in ways we would most certainly miss if they were not there.
Above all, as dog owners, we pride ourselves on how the care and discipline implemented on our pets in their early years has helped to shape them into our beloved dogs as they grow. But this leads us to wonder if, as responsible dog owners, we could have done more, or perhaps if all along we have been rearing our dogs in ways we shouldn't have.
September Withers spoke to members of her dog owning social circle to uncover the most common naughty dog owner habits and how we can overcome them.
Bad Habit 1: Feeding Too Much
Overfeeding is one of the most common bad habits of pet owners, with an astounding 25% of dogs seen by vets in the UK being overweight or obese. Even though most of us have good intentions when we give our dogs the odd treat, it can in the long run become the cause of many medicinal issues.
Jackie Dalton from Bath Cats and Dogs Home speaks of her concerns about this issue. “Overfeeding our pets with dog food or human snacks on a regular basis will inevitably lead to weight gain, which if un-controlled could result in musculoskeletal problems, diabetes and difficulties with breathing.” It can be a daunting prospect for us as dog owners and even more so for our pets as it’s a sure way to shorten their lifespan, and to shorten the change in your pocket with all the veterinary bills to pay.
However, this doesn’t mean we can’t treat our dogs to some leftover meat every now and then. It’s just a simple case of giving them a balanced diet with plenty of exercise. Should you be concerned that your dog is overweight then a trip to you local vet could be beneficial, as they can recommend a safe, effective weight loss programme that includes a reduced calorie diet.
Taking your dog on long walks, packed with games and activities is also a fun way to help them release their energy, use their muscles and build upon the ever growing relationship you share with each other.
Bad Habit 2: Not Enough Exercise
This brings us to our second top bad habit of dog owners, under exercising. A survey conducted in recent times by a pet insurance company stated that, 80% of UK dogs do not receive the weekly recommended level of exercise, with one in ten dog owners not even knowing how much exercise their breed requires. As a basic figure, your dog should be receiving at least twenty to thirty minutes of exercise a day. However it all depends on the size, age and breed of your dog.
Some people may think that smaller dogs, like a Yorkshire Terrier or a Lhasa Apso will need a lot less exercise than, for example, a Labrador or a Great Dane. This is not necessarily the case. Energy levels vary between all dogs, no matter what their size is. Small dogs, especially terriers, tend to have very high levels of energy, and it’s extremely important for them to have the opportunity to release it.
“Dogs need plenty of exercise, especially puppies.” Jackie comments. “When your dog is young, its metabolism is at its peak, and without enough exercise it will be looking for other ways to release its energy. Chewing can become very common in dogs who are bored, and a change in temperament may begin to surface.”
A daily run is a fantastic way to physically and mentally stimulate your pet. It is also a good way to help control their weight and keep them healthy. If you are unsure as to how much exercise your dog needs, then allocate a thirty minute slot in taking them out for a walk or run. If they are tired within twenty minutes, or if they are still running wild, then this can become a simple guideline as to how much exercise your dog needs a day.
Bad Habit 3: Training Without Consistency
Inconsistent training is a very common bad habit of dog owners, with activities such as begging suffering from a severe lack of discipline. Perhaps the biggest problem with inconsistent training is that it leads to a multitude of other bad habits that we as dog owners are responsible for. Expecting too much from your dog, being impatient with your dog and feeding your dog human snacks and food are three other bad habits that we all do, which fall into this category.
Having a dog is not always easy, it can be incredibly tasking and a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it just to see them grow up into the well loved and groomed dog you always dreamed of having.
Do you agree with our findings? What are the most common bad habits you see other dog owners doing or have you learnt as you've grown with your dog? Let us know - we'd love to hear from you!