With more people realizing that puppy parenting is superior to human parenting, we are seeing an outbreak of puppy fever. Though we love the fact that everyone loves dogs, we are also noticing that people have unfair expectations for their pups, hindering their ability to train the dogs properly.
Here are the top 10 expectations dog owners need to let go of.
1. Quick and Easy Training
Training a puppy is never easy. Filled with frustration, exhaustion, repetition, and downright grossness, training a puppy will be the single most trying time in your relationship with your dog.
The expectation that training a puppy will be quick and painless is one that parents seriously need to let go of. Think of your new puppy as if he were a baby and the oldest he’ll ever be is a toddler.
2. All Dogs Learn The Same Way
Much like human children, all dogs learn and retain information differently. Some dogs learn better via positive reinforcement and rewards based training, and others are more focussed during strict exercises. If we expect all dogs to learn the same, then we are setting a lot of them up for failure.
Catering your training techniques to your dog and his abilities will ensure a much more profitable experience for both you and your pooch.
3. All Dogs Will Get Along
This expectation needs to be thrown right out the window. Do you like every single person you have ever met? No. Does everyone you’ve met like you? No.
Dogs have feelings and personalities, and not all of them will mesh well. Certain dogs are more hyper and like to get in other dogs’ faces, while some dogs prefer to walk around and sniff things, while maintaining their personal space. We can almost guarantee, those dogs won’t be friends.
This doesn’t mean that we should expect all dogs to fight. It just means we shouldn’t expect them to be besties and plan doggy dates.
4. Altering A Dog’s Personality
If you don’t like your dog’s personality and expect to change it, we wish you the best of luck. Not really though.
Each dog is born with and develops a unique personality throughout their life. Though you may be able to change their behavior, you can never alter their personality to what you desire.
If you are truly concerned about having a dog with the right personality, do some serious breed research and meet-and-greets before you bring your furry friend home.
5. All Dogs Do Well In Group Settings
No. Just no.
Dogs experience social anxieties the same way people do. This means that not all dogs will enjoy interacting in large group settings. Even in the wild, packs of dogs consist of tightly knit groups, who do not interact with strangers. It is uncommon for strange dogs to be allowed into an already formed pack. Therefore, it is against a dog’s nature to feel comfortable surrounded by complete strangers.
If you notice that your dog is experiencing social anxiety in group settings, smaller play dates may be a better option.
6. All Dogs Love The Same Activities
Expecting all dogs to love playing fetch is the same as expecting all children to love soccer. Every dog will have a different idea of “fun,” and it’s up to you as a pet parent to discover what that is.
If your dog isn’t enjoying sticks, try switching to balls, or another activity altogether. There are a lot of great things you can do with your dog!
7. Maximum Reward For Minimal Effort
If you have the expectation that your dog will learn things on his own, you might not be ready for puppy parenting. Dogs require a lot of time and effort to train properly, and it is unfair to expect them to learn behaviors on their own.
While training your dog, think of how hard moms work to potty train their human children, and compare the effort you are putting in. You’ll quickly realize that it’s not all fun and games.
Be patient with your dog, and make sure that you are trying just as hard as he is.
8. All Dogs Like The Same Rewards
Dogs have preference, whether it’s playtime or snacks. Not all dogs will enjoy or react to the same rewards. Some dogs are more food motivated, while others will be motivated by play or praise.
Find out what makes your dog tick before training. We guarantee you will have a much more rewarding experience!
9. Anyone Will Make A Good Pup Parent
Raising a dog is hard work! Just like having children, owning a dog is a tough job that many people are not cut out for. Caring for a dog is not easy, and is a commitment that should not be taken lightly.
There are millions of dogs surrendered to shelters every year, due to parents not being able to care for them properly.
If you are considering adopting a dog, make sure that it is the right choice for you.
10. All Expectations
As pup parents, we need to remember that we are raising animals. Though these animals have been domesticated for thousands of years, we can’t expect them to go against nature and instinct. We like to believe that dogs can understand what we are saying, but they only understand the commands attached to words. Maybe one day we will be able to communicate fully with our dogs, but until then we need to be patient and give clear instructions. Most importantly, we need to get rid of our incredibly high standards for dog behavior.
This does not mean you should let your dog do whatever they want, but it does mean that you can’t expect your dog to be as well behaved as another on his own. What you can do, is work hard to train your dog and teach him how to be a good boy. Use step by step behavior modification and training, and make sure he fully grasps the concept before moving on to the next.
Be kind, be fair, and be forgiving.