20 Common Mistakes Made By Dog Owners


Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of sharing their days with a dog knows that being a responsible owner is not all fun and games – though it definitely is one of the most positive life-changing experiences.

While to err is human, there are certain mistakes that dog owners can easily avoid. If you follow these 20 simple guidelines, we guarantee that life will be much easier for both you and your furry friend.


Like humans, animals also need to go on regular check-ups and inoculations in order to stay healthy. Since they can’t speak and tell you that something is wrong, it’s up to you to take notice of any peculiar behavior and take care of your dog’s well-being.

Of course, there’s no need to be paranoid and run to the vet’s office anytime your pooch does something strange, but remember that prevention is better than cure – this is especially true for older dogs who need your support and love more than ever.

Failing to take your pooch to the vet could lead to serious health problems that could have been avoided, of course, but remember not to get carried away and try to remain objective and assess the situation with as little emotion as possible.

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  • Fakeflamadiddle

    GREAT tips. Well-written! I might add, “feeding your dog from the table,”
    as it breeds begging and the expectation that you’ll do it every time you sit down for a meal

  • avatar16

    Not sure about #3. While the nutritional benefit of more expensive foods can be debated, in my experience the cheaper foods have a higher caloric content and therefore you should need less, not more, to feed your dog.

  • Koj

    The vast majority of that is corn, which has no nutrition. Therefore, you dog will want more food due to lack of nutrition.

  • cmuberti

    Wash the dog once a week? I’ve always heard the opposite. I’ve only ever washed my dogs when they were dirty. They know how to clean themselves. That goes for when they break a toenail. They do a much better job cleaning it up than me running after them with a stiptic pen.

  • Julie

    Dog Groomer here, washing your dog once a week can cause dry and itchy skin. Once a month is enough and the secret is in the rinsing. Leaving a smear of soap behind and your dog will scratch himself raw.

  • Kimmer

    One big thing is you should not be buying your dog. Pet stores support puppy mills. You should always adopt from a shelter or from a rescue group. Bathing once a week seems a lot to me and even with specific shampoo for dogs it can dry out their skin which causes itching and possibly creating more issues from that.

  • Marco Luxe

    Bathing once a week? Are there any studies to back up this claim?

  • dbasstij

    back in the day, i used to bathe my boxer mix every week. he suffered from rashes and scratched all the time. i spent a ton on steroids, lotions and all kinds of cures until a groomer recommended cutting back to every month or even two unless he was dirty. rash went away and he never had skin problems after that…

  • Karen Smith

    You need to keep your dog on a leash?? Bull puckey!!! Yes definitely when on the sidewalks of a town, but there are many places quite suitable for a dog to enjoy the freedom of no leash!!

  • Karen Smith

    You need to walk your dog on leash!? Baloney! In town of course! But there are many places suitable for a well trained dog to enjoy the freedom of no leash!!

  • yankee2

    As for “always walking one’s dog on a leash,” did this author ever hear about a “verbal leash?” Not every dog NEEDS to be kept on a physical leash. If it is well-behaved and obedient, and not known to be aggressive, a verbal leash should be sufficient. Of course, the owner is ALWAYS responsible for what his/her dog does, so some will of course feel better using a strong physical leash.

  • yankee2

    As a person who presumably makes a living, or part of a living grooming dogs, advice to do it LESS sounds like honest advice to me! I hardly ever washed my Lab Otto, and he was NEVER dirty (or smelled strongly), either. Of course he DID like to swim, which took care of most of it, most of the time.

  • John Stittgen

    Ahhhhh Petsmart for grooming. And they get to bond with other pets while meeting Brett Michaels in the process.

  • Vivian McKeithan Jenkins

    I agree with all of the above so far, except I believe it is a bit much to bathe your dog once a week. As others mentioned, this will lead to dry, itchy skin and very often rash and certainly infections can occur with skin rash. If you need to bathe with a special shampoo for therapeutic reasons, then once a week might be appropriate.
    Also, I feed my dog a very good food, more expensive, but he does not eat nearly as much as he would a cheaper food. I have a medium size dog, a cocker spaniel, and a
    28 pound bag of feed, which cost $52.00 will last about 3 months.

  • Bridget Brosseau

    I agree with you yankee2, I have a chocolate lab that does not need a leash for the reasons noted EXCEPT she will walk in front of a moving vehicle, so when I’m in an area where there may be cars, I leash her, otherwise she is non aggressive and doesn’t stray too far away from me (20 feet)

  • Tom Sawyer

    HMMM?? Where did the dog at the shelter or rescue come from in the first place?

  • Tom Sawyer

    Definitely agree. Dogs were meant to walk normally in stride. You also don’t want your dogs walking ahead of you. As a pack animal they need to know who is the boss. I used to walk both my boxers without a leash and neither one stepped out in front without a stern “no” and “stay” which promptly led to a dog at my side or the rear.


    The article seems to be stretching a bit to get to 17. We keep our trash picked up because it’s the hygienic thing to do. Open cans, trash all over the place encourages rats and other vermin, and feral cats.

    Expect to wash a dog once a week. Terrible advice! If your dog doesn’t get terribly dirty, a good brushing with a proper pet brush appropriate to the dogs hair or fur is enough. And the article said nothing about what to use when washing–baby shampoo, the kind that doesn’t sting the eyes, is okay, harshness is the key.

    There are inexpensive foods that are good for dogs. I use Kirkland adult dog Lamb & Rice, no corn, no beef or chicken, low cal an bland enough that my dog doesn’t want to scarf it down. Dick Van Patten’s version seems to be about the same stuff, almost no farts, too. About $30 for 40 lb., for my 45 pound Standard Poodle enough for almost 3 months. My experience is that anything in the pet food aisle at the grocery is terrible dreck! Iams, Inova, Science Diet, etc were once good, but got sold out to conglomerates like Proctor & Gamble. Full of corn meal, chicken byproducts, and sprayed with oil to make it palatable, they were the ones recalled in the melamine scare. Learn to read the ingredients list, people, Corn, Beef, Chicken, & Wheat are not good. Fish & Lamb, Rice, and Fruits and Veggies ARE good.

  • swiftsure

    Bathing your dog every week is just nonsense unless they’re dirty.

  • Angela MacLean

    6 & 12 are just plain wrong. There are many places where it is sensible to let your dog off the leash, as long as it has been properly trained. The biggest mistake dog owners make is buying a dog then not taking it to a training class thinking they can solve all the dogs training needs themselves. Which brings me to No. 12, it is not always sensible to buy an adult dog, sometimes a puppy is the right thing for your houses situation. It would be wonderful if everyone could rescue the strays but in some cases rescue centres are too blinkered and refuse good owners pets and in others a rescue dog with the resultant baggage it may come with is not suitable for a novice owner. Research breed and don’t go with your heart go with your head when you decide to purchase your dog… oh yeah… and smaller isn’t always better!

  • JanetS

    Your dog may not need a leash, but after hiking with friends who are afraid of dogs when three of them ran up to them barking which scared them to death, I say when on public land, please be considerate of other people and keep your dog on a leash. Not everyone loves dogs. We have two Saluki breeds which cannot be off leash in a non-fenced area and neither we nor they appreciate other dogs approaching. It’s also been known to happen that a perfectly behaved dog still can’t refuse the temptation to run after a squirrel or such and then you have another potentially dangerous situation on your hands, as well,

  • OJOHN28

    You should never let your dog off its leash anywhere that’s not legal to do so. That may be understood from your comment but IMO is worth noting. Where I live there are people who *think* they can control their dogs in all cases but can’t actually, and anyway it’s illegal for them to have the dog off leash in public, except in dog runs. I care about this a lot because illegally unleashed dogs have come after my dog, and that’s a potentially fatal problem for any dog which does. Needless to say our dog never goes to the dog run, and if in some towns it’s legal to have a dog off leash in public we wouldn’t take her there either. People should follow leash laws, no matter what experts they are or think they are at dog training.

  • kotoc

    That’s pretty much what they said… once a month is usually sufficient unless they’re dirty.

  • Sarah Thomen

    But remember it aint a cat! Clean yer dogs regularly dirty or not. Ever heard o Flea Shampoo?

  • TheRateGetsTheCheese

    “aint”, “yer” and atittude. Please keep your comments to yourself. They are hurting my brain.

  • blackdog

    Who wrote that stuff? ” 5 Not exercising authority ” sounds like a corporate management manual ! Not a word about enrolling in an obedience class, especially a puppy socialization class! Any amateur trainer knows this stuff.

  • SmithWinston6478

    Charging windmills hurts your brain and leaves the impression you’re a lonely shut-in. Rescue a puppy.

  • SmithWinston6478

    Having adopted many canines in my years, it seems to me rescued dogs are more loyal and appreciative of their savior families than pet store victims. That’s been my experience.

  • SmithWinston6478

    How did ‘therate’s’ comment above get through the censors, but my observation that charging windmills is the brain pain issue, and suggesting they change the channel – did not? Are comments being deleted based on the contributor?

  • SmithWinston6478

    A leash is for the dog’s safety, not yours; much like a policeman’s gun.

  • TheRateGetsTheCheese

    lol…as you have 35 comments to the same person deleted and still you keep trying. Who is the lonely shut-in?

    Car + garage + nap = better planet. You should think about it.
    Oh, by the by, I have a rescue, arsehat. lol…

  • Oldilocks

    “Don’t fall into traps of advertisers who present you very cheap but yet very high quality foods for your pet.”

    I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean. (??)

  • Jan Gaylord

    My service dog is white. He is allowed everywhere- furniture, including my bed, church, resteraunts, everywhere I go. He also has a big yard and a pack of friends with whom he plays . He gets dirty. If I bathed him once a month, he’d be dirty 3 weeks/month. He takes a shower with me weekly. He is not itchy; he does not scratch.He seems to like his bath- he jumps right in the tub with me. .

  • Laura

    I disagree that getting a puppy is a “mistake”. Getting a puppy without fully understanding the responsibility, yes. But getting a puppy and properly socializing it, training it, and raising it into a well-adjusted, polite, happy and healthy adult is an extremely rewarding experience. I have a 5 month old Brussels Griffon (a breed that I chose after many months of research, from a breeder who I found after a few more months of research, searching, and intense questioning), and she behaves better than most adult dogs she meets. Mind you, I have spent a significant amount of time studying dog behavior and training, and used to work at a shelter training and correcting behavior problems in dogs. However, to say a puppy is a mistake, period, is ridiculous. Some people just don’t learn what a puppy needs, and THAT is the mistake.

  • Laura

    Calories aren’t the issue. Balanced nutrition is the issue. Cheap dog foods are full of “fillers” like corn. Dogs are omnivorous, yes, but they still consume mostly meat naturally. So their diet should reflect that and be primarily meat, not corn.

  • Henry Owen

    These same mistakes are the ones parents of human children are making (including not using a leash).

  • Jake Carson

    I sure hope that this will be a great opportunity for everyone to see some of “Don’s Scenes” from his productions of his classic hits “Tales From Kutcharitaville”. You know that Rickles and Johnny Carson together produced those comedy hits about their friend “Mr. Kutchie Pelaez” and their wild and crazy exploits of Kutchie’s Key West and The World of Key Lime Pies from the perspective of (Johnny Carson, Don Rickles, Kutchie Pelaez and Steve Martins Eyes!) What a Hoot Those Classic Hits Surely Were. Don’t miss them, be sure to tune-in next month. We Laughed Until We Cried Watching Those Funny Movies. “The Tales From Kutcharitaville”, I Think That They May Still Be Available In A Boxed Set. Maybe Try Amazon. Good Luck.

    You Know, It’s No Wonder That Everyone Calls “Kutchie Pelaez”..The Most Interesting Man In The World! You Know That Kutchie Drinks Those Wonderful Mixed Drinks Named In His Honor Called “Kutcharitas”. Hell Of A Lot Better Than Any Mexican Beers. And Much Stronger To Boot!


  • disqus_T5fj9wlRHc

    i quite like the look of that bitch.

  • Moonwolf Argent

    So, you think that a dog who is trained to walk properly, stand before crossing roads and heel while crossing them, never go after cats, ignore other dogs while walking to the place where they can run and will never, ever leave your side once they are allowed to run because they sense an imminent seizure coming on and will guard you during that seizure should be leashed at all times?
    Obviously you think people are totally inept, my seizure alert dog, a Border Collie, never walks on a lead and he does all the above and more.
    Also, as for exercise, a dog must be allowed off the lead, unless of course you think that you can run at their pace while chasing a ball!
    Oh and one more thing, who do you think trained him?…………………………………….. I did!

  • Crazy Doggie Mamma

    Once a month is not nearly enough for someone whose 5 dogs sleep in bed with them and go swimming in the smelly ocean and rolling in the dirty backyard. I use oatmeal based shampoos and have never had an issue with my dogs skin.

  • Crazy Dog Lady Rescue

    Its not true that you cannot use human intended medications on your pet as long as you know the correct one. My vets (plural as I use a few different with all of my rescues depending on what its for) have said its fine to use human benedryl (NOT childrens) 1mg pr lb…I give my dog a daily dose of glucoseomine supplement and the vet directed there is no difference between the OTC human one and the ones they charge more for marketing it for dogs. Also my vet suggested using head and shoulders for my one dog having dandruff due to the coral dust down here and not only did it help but her coat was silky smooth and soft!

    I do appreciate them suggesting an older dog because I run a dog rescue and get many owner surrenders from people who got a puppy because they wanted it to grow up with their kids etc and it turns out to be too much work for them. The shelters are full of Also the not going off looks to get the cutest one, choosing a dog off of looks vice possible breed and temperament is another reason many dogs are surrendered. Choosing a boxer because its a good looking dog if you have a lazy lifestyle is not going to work out.

    Also, all 5 of my dogs sleep in bed with us and they are still disciplined and well behaved. They don’t get into bed until invited and still know who is in charge so I feel that was bad information.

  • jay

    just love them and feed them, they will give you so much love in return that to me makes a happy pet and happy owner

  • I seldom wash my dog. It has been months. He is clean by nature and avoids water/puddles. I do brush him out daily with a fine toothed comb to remove dander and debris. I also roll a lent roller all over his very short coat. My weird dog loves the lent roller.

    Dogs smell better if you feed them good dog food. Purina is not good dog food. Don’t feed dog food with by-products, that is literally garbage and your dog will smell like it.

  • Janet I actually hike with my dog. He is not leashed on hiking trails. A dog with good training and social skills does not run up and bark at people. My dog has never done that. He stays within 10 feet of me and is closer than some dogs on flexis. He has a lot of recall training and will recall, even if squirrels run across the trail. His prey drive is pretty low and he comes back very quickly. Large animals are thankfully ignored. After training and hiking with him for 5 years, I will make the decision to not leash him.

    It will be a sad day, if a law is passed requiring all dogs to be leashed. Sometimes risks are taken for the greater good. It is a small risk to let my dog off leash and it is worth it for his happiness. People comment on his behavior when I hike with him. They say he is well behaved. He has impressed people who have joined me on hikes.

  • I think they mean food that is marketed as healthy and is not, example Beneful. Purina calls it Beneful and markets it as healthy when in reality it’s cheap crap dyed pretty colors in a fancy bag,

  • Ami

    So you leave the “most important advice of them all” for number 17? I’m curious how many people you expect to click all the way through, and if you were truly concerned about us and our dog’s health, why wouldn’t this be first!!!!

  • Gurg

    My Vet recommended using Selsun Blue shampoo on my lab as well as pouring a large plastic pitcher with a lot of Keratin conditioner stirred into water over him and leaving it in, not rinsing it out. My lab had a dry skin problem using dog shampoos before but now has the most beautiful luxurious coat you will ever see on a lab.

  • Mousey Dung

    The most common mistake dog owners make is owning a dog.

  • Rob Marx

    age of dog depends on owner’s lifestyle I think, I’ve had and raised puppies to full grown, many years ago when I was in my 20s/30s and full of energy myself. I then had a couple of dogs who had belonged to seniors who had passed, these dogs were a couple of the best dogs I’ve had, already trained/housebroken/etc. Now, as I approach 60, I’ll only be rescuing older dogs simply because I know that my lifespan has limitations as well

  • babby660

    who knows? At least with a rescue, you know you’re saving someone’s life!

  • Alice Ramirez

    The author left out one very important mistake: Failure to train your dog not to bark excessively or (a variant) leaving your dog outside 24/7 to bark day and night earning the loathing and contempt of your near neighbors who must suffer from unwanted, OBNOXIOUS noise intruding on their lives. Bad dog neighbors are not only considered trashy by others who must live around them, but create dog-haters.

  • Shannon Alida

    I’ve got 2 more mistakes: buying instead of adopting is a huge mistake, and not spaying or neutering your pet is another gigantic mistake.

  • Jimm

    Get the true story on the issues in this site and many more true stories in the new book “Old Spouse’s Tales About Animals” by a Veterinarian with over 50 years of experience in medical practice, medical research and dog obedience.

  • mepom12

    I quit washing my husky, she is much happier without it and she does not shed or smells at all like she did while she was getting washed. They will be fine without shampoo.

  • pugmom1

    Pashaw on the treating your

  • pugmom1

    Pashaw on treating your dog like a human. My pug acts so human it is uncanny. I did not socialize her this way – she arrived this way. She loves everyone regardless of species, but doesn’t understand when people treat her like a dog a/o/t a small child. She goes everywhere with me, listens to any instruction I may give her, loves pet stores and picks out her own toys (I am not joking on this one – I say “one toy” and she trots down the aisle, picks one, and brings it to me so I can pay for it.) and she loves to dress up (she adores the attention). I used to just buy her cute coordinating harnesses and leashes, but she loves girly dresslike harnesses and she will not go with me on a car ride to anywhere without pulling out what she wants to where from her toy box and carrying it to me in her mouth so I can dress her.

    Now, I would not do this with most species, but every pug owner knows that pugs are the exception to many “dog rules”.

  • joe

    Actually the ADA states that a service animal must be under control using a leash or tether or harness unless it interferes with the disability, Where I am glad you have a service dog to alert you for seizures, you don’t need to leave him unleashed for this, and you are actually violating the law. There are too many people that either try to use their pets as a service animal or abuse the gift the service dog gives them by breaking the rules and laws of having one. I am glad that your dog is trained to your voice, but you still need to leash him by law.

  • Carol McDonald

    Higher caloric content does not mean nutritious or filling – think candy, chips, etc. High calories, no nutrition and not filling unless you eat the whole bag. They need nutrition just as we do. Meat should come first in the ingredients list. There should be veggies and even fruits. Would you eat something made mostly of corn meal? Probably not – neither should your dog or cat.

  • Barbara E. Ward

    I have a Maltese mix (her mother was a King Charles Spaniel). She is house trained so stays inside more than she goes out. Because she does not shed but grows her hair she gets groomed about every 10 weeks. I do not bathe her in between grooming visits and she does not smell. She is on heartworm and flea prevention meds. I give her a dentastick each day and dog biscuit that is formulated to prevent bad breath. And that seems to work for her as no “doggie” breath. She is fed top of the line food, sometimes Fromm’s, Blue Buffalo or Wellness brand. She does not eat a lot as these foods are high in protein and have no fillers or junk parts in them. I never, ever give her any human food. And my vet concurs that you should never feed your pets human food. I also have a cat who is 17 yrs old and shows no signs of aging. She has only ever eaten top of the line cat food.

  • Rod

    Nuts to No. 6. Dog training takes love and patience. Boxers are clowns and notoriously willful. Mine needed to be on a leash for his own safety till he was 5. But even when he was young we walked to an 11-acre field where he was allowed to chase bunnies and run to his heart’s content. Over time he learned to trust me and I learned to trust him. After walking three miles a day six days a week for five years he became thoroughly voice and hand-gesture trained. Nowadays, he follows along (heels) and people marvel at how well he behaves and how mannerly he is. I put him on the lead to soothe the nerves of folks walking their dogs or to pacify cranky animal control cops. Otherwise, he is free to show off our years of good work.

  • Mestranger Toall

    When in my experience i hear of rescues have vets “plural” i see red flags. Why would you need multiple vets unless you have your DVM a ER Vet and maybe dermatologist, ophthalmologist and i guess maybe a vet who prefers natural holistically treatments. Or do you have several DVM’s that you know just who will give you what you want for what it is you are taking them to the vet for.. Now over the counter Rx’s why would you need benedryl at home for not something that would be used generally for every day needs of a dog. In a clinical setting it is used mostly to treat anafalactic shock but this drug alone will not even help that its the combination of certain drugs that treats that benedryl, and prednisone but these are given by injection for a quick recovery and some vets will send benedryl home but its the prednisone that is the real treatment drug. I bring this point up cause dogs dont have a true histamine release to allergens like people do so antihistamines don’t really have medicinal value unless it gives you a false sense of need. On to Glucoseomine there have been studdies that show that the OTC brands for humans are not as good for dogs as the vet industry once thought. Some thing to do with how we metabolize it is differant to how a dog does so cosequin is a good option

  • Mestranger Toall

    Depends on where the higher caloric content comes from cause there are 4 different ways to ingest calories and some are better than others so just because the cheaper brand has the higher caloric content allows feeding less it does not mean its better for them

  • Mestranger Toall

    Very true in fact and many dogs who have food allergies one of them will usually be corn and the other surprising food is poultry

  • Mestranger Toall

    Bingo i have always wondered if anyone would say this and understand it.well thought. We don’t own a living breathing thing we share our life with or live along side of them but ownership is not proper. You own something living they are a slave when you allow them to live with you they are called family

  • Mestranger Toall

    those things can all be done with the adoptive family you dont need special training its common sense living

  • Sam Dunbar

    Well i had two dogs one used to get candy or sweets as we call them in the uk and the oldest loved a bit of gum ,and we gave them chocolate too and both dogs lives to a old ripe age

  • Sara Fulton

    It’s just a silly risk to take with a dog that you depend on so much (or any dog). People place way too much trust in their dogs. Just because he hasn’t run into the street yet does not guarantee he never will. Is it worth having your dog run over just to show off? Also if another dog attacks yours while yours is off leash, you’re automatically 50% liable.

  • John

    Thank you Sir, there are too many abandoned arsehats around today. That you have a rescue arsehat is a huge relief to me. I certainly hope you have had it fixed, and care for it properly

  • john

    There is a private park near me, and I have my dog off leash there. Unless there are others around. He is very well trained, I do not leash him for fear of how he may behave. I leash him because some people are very scared of dogs, and they have every right to enjoy the park without being scared.
    But time and place for all things. he is very good, and wont chase squirrels, cars, cats or even go to play with other dogs. But that does not mean he never will – I always keep a very close eye on him.

  • Mauigirl

    Some good tips but I don’t agree with all of them. I see no problem letting your dogs sleep with you – they prefer it and we prefer it. If they are pack animals – let them act like a pack! The bathing thing is definitely dependent on the dog. Our old dog, a Lab/Pit mix, stunk up the place pretty badly after a month or so, so we washed her very regularly. Our two rescued pitties that we have now have much shorter hair and just don’t seem to need washing as often. One of them is even mostly white, and she washes herself like a cat, and surprisingly keeps pretty clean. We wash them maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I do agree with keeping dogs on leash except in very safe situations. Unless a dog is VERY well trained, you cannot trust a dog not to run after something if it sees it as prey or whatever. A friend of mine lost her dog, a bulldog, when she was walking her around her neighborhood. The dog was usually very phlegmatic and calm, always stayed by her side, so she didn’t use a leash. Some weird guy was across the street and yelled and the dog ran across the street toward him and was hit by a van. 🙁 I learned that lesson through her sad experience – my dogs are only off leash in their own fenced yard or in an enclosed, fenced area elsewhere – and only when I am with them.

  • JustaHoosier

    We have a 10 yr old black lab named lady, my husband takes her for walks without a leash, but then he trained her that way from a pup, she is very obedient…but not all dogs are like that..Ive never seen a dog obey like lady.

  • Billy

    Obviously, your dog does not rub in coon pooh every chance she gets. LOL

  • Dayton Waters

    Both of your comments have an amount of irresponsibility to them. I’ll take issue with the most severe first — spaying and neutering. Animal population control advocates would have you believe that it’s best to neuter your dog in the womb if they could and I have been told that “no age is too early.” That’s an entire load of crap. You can most certainly affect an animal’s development and behavior by spaying/neutering too early. I can spot an early neuter from across the park; under-sized cranium is the tell-tall giveaway. General underdevelopment physically is a consistent consequence of prematurely interrupting hormone production vital to an animal’s healthy development. It also plays a key role in behavior, confidence and evenness (that balanced reaction to various stimuli that we all want our animals to have). Spaying or neutering before mid-adolescence in dogs DOES affect their development and is akin to mutilating your dog. If owners aren’t responsible enough to keep their dog from procreating before early maturity, they aren’t responsible enough to own a dog.

    Buying instead of adopting.. Why is this a mistake? I raise German Shepard Dogs. I have trained professional K-9s. I expect (demand) a certain set of qualities in my animals that I can only obtain through strict screening of their history and family line (hip dysplasia leaps to mind). Even for the casual owner, verifying medical history is important – SHELTER DOGS COST MORE MONEY to raise and maintain because they very often come with a host of genetic or otherwise acquired medical issues. I am an advocate of adoption, but there is a long list of reasons why purchasing may be the better choice than adopting in addition to the ones I listed here.

  • Dayton Waters

    Of course, there are going to be exceptions to these general rules, but I’d like all the readers to remember this: Most of you are reading this because you are already good, responsible pet parents. These guidelines are good for someone who is learning to be a responsible pet owner. Things like “don’t let your dog sleep with you” and “always use a leash” are intended to remind owners that they must be the dominate. You can train a dog to be near perfect off-leash, but in different environments, all responsible handlers leash their highly-trained dogs. The underlying theme everyone with a pet should remember – YOU are the responsible party, not your pet. You must be the adult human and prepare your pet for circumstances they must face. You owe it to them to be the dominate in your relationship. The signs are very clear when your pet regards itself as higher on the family tree – you simply cannot allow that. Domestication doesn’t mean that they CAN live with us, it means REQUIRE us for their survival. Please include more than 10-minute reads online for your handler education — your pet deserves an knowledgeable owner and you will both be much happier the more you learn! Now go pet your dog! 🙂

  • Callmered

    You are stupid and clearly don’t know how to raise/train an animal. Most of your “tips” are rediculous. You can do most of them in moderation but you have to know how to balance yet have control. Have a feeling you shelter your children yet can’t control them….

  • Leo

    I’m going to assume this was an 8th grade writing assignment, and to the author I say good job! I hope you got at least a B. Maybe do some fact checking next time, and consult with animal professionals (veterinarians, trainers, etc.) for some credible and practical information. Don’t worry too much about the grammar, formatting, headers, and general stucture – you will get plenty of help with this when you get to high school and take English Composition. Nice use of photos!

  • redbirds

    about 15. in germany it’s different. if you want to buy a special breed you have to go to a breeder. no pet store in germany sells puppies or kittens. it’s not the law but kind of a gentlemen’s agreement and it prevents puppy mills. or you can go to the local shelter and get a dog or cat there. you have to pay up to 100 $ for a dog. the money is used to care for all the animals in that shelter. no dog or cat can be euthanized if it’s not very ill and suffering. that goes for shelters and owners. you can’t go to the vet and tell him to euthanize your dog because you don’t want it anymore. and if you kill your animal you have committed a crime. we have a lot of organisations who even go to eastern and southern europe to rescue strays. they come to germany, go to the vet for a health check, are sterilized and then go to a shelter where you can adopt one. i hope one day this standard will come to the u.s. sometimes i cry when i think about all the animals that are killed everyday in your country. i’ve once seen kind of a machine (looked like a big dryer) where they put the big dogs in and then gas them. that is so cruel.

  • Shannon Alida

    When did I ever say to get dogs fixed too early? I’m a vet tech and going to vet school. I’m not an idiot, and I agree that getting dogs fixed too early can cause damage, as can getting dogs fixed too late. Around 6 months old is the best time.

    As for your comment regarding buying instead of adopting, you’re just showing your ignorance. Every time someone buys from a breeder or a pet store, that is another dog that will be put down in the shelter because no one came to take him home. Rescue dogs don’t necessarily come with problems. Buying a dog from a breeder, especially a backyard breeder, can result in severe health and behavior issues, not to mention purchasing a pet from a pet store (ever heard of puppy mills?). But of course you will disagree because you make a living by exploiting these animals. Have fun with that.

  • Danika Hyssong

    Janet, that’s just inconsiderate people. I hike with my dog
    off leash but I stay aware of my surroundings and as soon as I see someone else
    on the path I leash him until we are alone again. I agree that dogs should
    never be allowed to approach strange people or dogs without permission.

  • Old Fogey

    Not sure about the veggies being good. I have a Lab/Pointer mix who was having digestive issues. I had been feeding him Beneful because it was supposed to be so good. Well, the vet prescribed an over-the counter ulcer medicine for him, and said it was the Beneful causing his issues, as it has too much vegetables in it. He needed food that had mostly protein. Dogs are, after all, basically carnivores even if they will eat nearly anything.

  • Old Fogey

    Henry, when my kids were toddlers they used to sell harnesses with leashes for small children so they couldn’t get away from you and run into the street! It was for their safety. Now if you put a harness on your child, they’d probably arrest you for child abuse!

  • panzerakc

    There are those of us who buy our dogs, just not from a pet store.

  • sweetnes34

    Beneful is just crap food, that’s what caused the issues. Veggies are fine for dogs, they’re omnivores. Fresh veggies added to their diet is a great weight control helper

  • sweetnes34

    Benadryl is about the only safe OTC drug for dogs…they don’t have histamine reactions? Where did you get that from? They manifest differently then ours, they suffer through their skin while we suffer respiratory wise. Benadryl is used for anaphylaxis yes along with an inj steroid, the combination is the real treatment, but as for control of seasonal allergies it works great in a large amount of dogs.

  • sweetnes34


    Corn is a valuable and nutritious ingredient
    in many of our pet foods. From a single ingredient, corn provides protein and
    amino acids, starch, fat and fatty acids. Let’s look at some of the facts about
    corn and why we choose to use

    corn in our diets.

    · Essential fatty acids – The germ is a source of linoleic acid (omega
    6 fatty acid). It helps promote healthy skin and a luxurious coat.

    · Vitamin A- Involved in healthy vision and skin


    · B complex vitamins- Play a role in many functions of the

    body such as supporting the nervous

    system and the skin

    · Essential amino acids (AA) (such as
    methionine and other sulphur AA) – The gluten part is the source of amino
    acids, the building blocks for protein in the body (muscles, growth and
    immune system). Methionine is a natural urinary acidifier,
    reducing the likelihood of struvite crystal and stone formation.

    · Antioxidants – Beta-carotene, Vitamin E, Lutein and
    Zeaxanthin support eye health.

    Antioxidants reduce damage caused by free
    radicals to cellular membrane

    · Fibre and highly digestible carbohydrates- It is more efficient for the body to use
    carbohydrates as an energy source, thus sparing protein for important
    vital functions. The use of protein for energy also increases protein
    waste product excretion

    Corn Kernel Components requirements by the kidney. Carbohydrates have
    fewer calories/gram than fat and are not converted to fat stores
    as readily as dietary fat

    – Fibre helps with intestinal motility and
    maintains GI health

    · Minerals – Corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium,
    manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. Minerals are required for
    important functions such as zinc for skin integrity and cellular function,
    manganese contributes to quality of bone and cartilage along with proper
    cellular function.

    Here are some common myths about corn:

    1. Corn is not digestible

    This is false. When the kernel is broken by
    grinding, the germ (fat), starch (carbohydrate) and gluten (protein) are
    accessible and readily digestible ( > 90%)

    2. The incidence of food allergy to corn is

    This is not true. Studies on on food allergies
    in dogs suggest that corn is equivalent or less allergenic than other
    proteins such as beef. The

    Small Animal Clinical Nutrition (4th ed)
    referenced a literature review where out of 253 total confirmed veterinary
    cases of food-related allergies, only 6 were confirmed corn
    allergies. Food allergy is diagnosed in less then 1% of all
    dermatological conditions in pets.

    3. Corn is a cheap filler

    Corn is not a “filler” at all. Fillers have no
    nutritional value. Corn has a multitude of components that provide important
    nutritional value.

    4. Carnivores like cats and dogs do not do
    well on a diet high in grains This is false. In fact, “all meat”
    diets are imbalanced and can lead to orthopaedic problems and vitamin/mineral
    excesses or deficiencies.The definition of carnivore is that an animal requires
    some animal protein

    sources in the diet. It does not mean that
    these animals have to subsist solely on meat.”

  • genes

    Over feeding can be the result of well meaning but ignorant politicians or animal control workers. Local ordinance requires dogs left outside have water and food in their dishes at all times.

  • ilr1950

    I dont bathe my dogs very often but they are all short haired. Getting 80 pounds of pit in the tub is a challenge, to put it politely, and if I bathe them outside the firs thing they do is roll in the mud. But I dont seem to be guilty of any of the other ‘mistakes’

  • wolfster

    Sorry to inform you, that such a leash law is already in place in many states.In fact most States have adopted such a law.

  • Neveko

    Exactly. Less people need to own dogs. Not enough people know how to raise a dog right, and since it seems everyone owns one even more uneducated clods seem to think they should have some sort of right to a dog as well.

  • chowman133

    I do understand if your dog has a history of misbehaving and not listening or aggressive impulses why you wouldn’t trust your dog but otherwise I don’t see why you wouldn’t trust them to be the “good boy/girl” you raised them to be. As for other dogs attacking and it being your fault that makes no sense unless like I said your dog is reckless and is prodding the attacking dog which many dogs are trained not to do. That’s like saying being hit by a drunk driver is half your fault because you decided to drive today.

  • J A Shepherd

    There are plenty of good quality shampoos and conditioners out there. I showed dogs for years and my dogs were bathed and groomed before each weekend show. Their coats were beautiful and they had no problems with dry skin. Part of that is in the diet.

  • Dog loving gal

    That is the most insane list of possible food for a dog or any other animal.Common sense would tell a person that. If you studied about wolves you would know they never consumed much of the junk that is dog food or our diets. .My sheppard, doxie and poodle, stray mix have been fed science diet until I found out my Sheppard had anal cancer. so I immediately researched the disease and studied Holistic feeding. Immediately I put my dogs on home cooked beef, chicken, turkey and salmon meals, (never pork) adding carrots, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, sometimes I add zuccini, and yellow squash, I also add some brown rice. They can have a fish meal in the morning and chicken or beef in the evening…. Their teeth are brushed so therefore they dont need chews or bones, My doxie lived to be 17 years, 6 months and 7 days, he passed just a week ago. no need to express how I feel. Our vet of 28 years had just given them all their annual two weeks before and he checked out well, he died from old age. My Sheppard is 12 yrs. 4 mths, who was a stray who chose us on the fourth of July, and my poodle is 7 years 5 months. and our shaggy stray mix is approx 4 yrs 6 mths. this home cooked feeding is really any more expensive than dog foods. just takes more time…….which is nothing if you love them as you should.

  • John Bull

    This is advice for idiots–if you don’t already know these things you should not have either dogs or children,because much of this advice applies to raising kids which it seems is a lost art in America.

  • Wolf

    By-products are not garbage, it’s organ meats like heart, liver and lungs and this trend of demonizing anything that isn’t muscle meat is getting ridiculous. Feed them by-products as long as it’s animals, do NOT feed them grains and vegetables, they are not herbivores or omnivores, they are carnivores. I like to purchase cheap beef hearts at the supermarket and make that into a suitable food source for my babies. They can eat grass and other harmless vegetation in the yard, even looking up vegetation they can eat and giving them access by planting it is good for your pooch. Please don’t buy into this whole “by-product is bad” thing, it really confuses people who have no idea what a “chicken by-product” is, when it’s just things like the guts, eyeballs, ground up parts that humans tend to assume are “disgusting” but are actually packed with more nutrition than the muscles.

  • Robert Thompson

    People say that an adult dog will literally eat itself to death if it has the chance. Mine is weird because he only eats when he’s hungry. I have one of those auto feeders that I fill up about twice a week. His food bowl is always filled, yet he doesn’t sit there and eat all of it at one. People that have seen this are actually amazed, and to be honest, I am too.

  • Not in Colorado. There is not a state wide leash law here. This state is more awesome than others.

  • SomeoneHadToSayIt

    I don’t see what the point is in debating over buying a puppy/dog/kitty from a store versus shelters. I get that stores are involved with puppy mills and whatnot, but that’s a human fault not an animal fault. What do you think happens to those animals if they don’t sell? They probably end up at a shelter or worse. And pets from shelters can be very challenging considering all of the baggage they tend to carry. Not every pet-friendly family is equipped with the time/knowledge to deal with their baggage properly. Telling everyone here not to buy from stores isn’t going to change that by itself. So please, think before you plunge into your next debate over right and wrong, telling people left and right who they should or shouldn’t buy their pets from. At the end of the day you aren’t paying the consequences for the things you say, but some of those store kitties/dogs might; and the same goes for some inexperienced families that are unintentionally biting off more than they can chew with a shelter pet. They ALL need good homes. Period. If you’re really against puppy mills… go do something more proactive about it rather than trying to start a revolution here. It’s not going to happen.

  • makingcomments

    The one about dental care is so true! I used to be really bad at taking care of my Corgi’s teeth. My cousin, who is his vet, had to do a second dental on him, and she said that his blood pressure dropped really low, so she doesn’t want to ever have to do another dental on him again due to the possible results. So, every single day, we have “tooth brushing time,” which he enjoys because the toothpaste is peanut flavored, and I also give him special dental food. It is worth it! My cousin said that his teeth look great!

  • amanda

    i own a husky he is the best dog in the world. have had him since he was a puppy, hes now 6. as i was reading through all of these i started thinking to myself i never followed any of these. copper is perfectly healthy hes the nicest dog ever. has never attacked anybody. i feed him purina dog chow have been for awhile now. he gets human food and has never had a problem with it. i just dont believe alot of the things this article had to say. although it was informative i dont think you should always believe what you read.

  • Charles Adams

    Number 11 is very important, especially when you’re speaking about toddlers! The tamest, most friendly dog in the world is still an animal! Animals, by nature, will snap when their ‘space’ is suddenly violated, i.e. someone suddenly appears just inches away from their face. Toddlers, being new to walking, are frequently unsteady on their feet; they get excited seeing a dog, run towards him, and stumble…suddenly invading their space and all too often getting bit! The dog is not being violent…he’s simply doing what nature tells him to do…defend himself…but the results can be tragic for everyone involved.

  • Tracey Kellum

    A lot of resue pups come from their rescued mothers,abandoned because they are about to give birth an owners dont want to deal with it……..sad but true

  • Cora Brantley

    What???? My dogs are not human? Golly sure hate to tell them they will be so surprised. One of them can communicate and reads my mind. He is going to be very confused when he finds out he not human. I have always had the auto feeder out and they eat as they choose. I think that when dogs fall on their feed bowls they are hungry, have been hungry, or are missing something in their diets. I feed Purina and they thrive on it.

  • Tired of Government

    I live in an apartment and always walked my two dogs on a leash. It was a rule of the apartment complex in order to have a dog. Unfortunately there was a dog that was never on a leash like he was supposed to be and would always come up and try to attack my dog. This made it very difficult for me to walk my dogs. Owners need to follow rules and also be considerate of other dog owners.

  • Rill

    Bahahahaha. Cheap dog food is supplemented with poison. That’s a good one, writer. You really should have carried on just making up random insane BS. Would have made this article a lot more entertaining.

  • GameTime

    Rinsing off a very dirty dog without soap is a solution too. Sorry, but dogs roll in all kinds of stuff out there and bring bacteria into the house with them. Our responsibility is to everyone in the family, not just our dogs. Wetting them down and vigorously rubbing them without using shampoos or soaps all the time, and using friction to eliminate bacteria and germs, is helpful too.

  • GameTime

    Oh yes, she disagrees with all the “experts” here so she should keep her comments to herself? You people suck.

  • GameTime

    Many times its the pollen in the air that causes these hot spots, severe itching, and that leads to the antibiotics, etc. Rising off a dog helps to relieve some of its symptoms. Running all the over the place to find just the right blend of dog food is stupid and obsessive. The problem for most severe cases is pollen, and of course, heat. The histamines that are produced due to an allergic reaction cause the intense itching. All dogs scratch and itch from time-to-time just like we do. We are simply not aware of how many times a day we scratch an itch. Severe cases with your dog might be related to growing seasons, hot climates, and the histamines.

  • GameTime

    So you didn’t wash your dog because he was swimming. Okay. Then don’t tell somebody who’s dog is wallowing in a horse trough and horse field that they should wash their dog less frequently. There are different reasons for washing a dog.

  • lauren

    giving dogs regular chemical flea treatment can actually be really bad for them, there have been many reported cases of dogs dying from poisoning from these kids of treatments, i use a vinegar and water mix which seems to work and leting mine swim regularly, also washing a dog once a week? some of the so called advice on here is pretty lousy

  • Vladlette

    Dogs are not omnivores. Vegetables are just a filler (and cause some doggies to have horrid gas). If given the choice, the average doggy would not choose to eat vegetables over a nice bit of meat.

  • Vladlette

    How are beef and chicken not good for doggies? I get the bit about corn and wheat, because dogs can’t digest them. Rice is just a filler (good for if they need to lose some weight but can’t go for very long without food), but I don’t see how beef and chicken could be bad.

  • Mike

    I wash my pooch twice a week in dawn dishwashing liquid (look it up, the ph is perfect for dogs) mixed with a little baking soda and finish her off with a few drops of lavander oil to repel fleas. Skin is in perfect health (vets opinion, not mine) and coat is beautiful.

  • yorkiemommy

    I don’t know what’s best. I have a tiny 3lb 6y/o Yorkie. I was once told the reason why crate training was effective was b/c dogs don’t like to be in their own poop. MINE is nuts. She poops and hides it in her bed. Or stomps on it. She’s paper trained, and if outside will hold it unless we’re out for hours. LOL (prissy) She has a spot on her bum with out hair from where she was scratching. Took her to the vet, no fleas, no bacteria, no answers why she’s doing this. I bathe her in oatmeal shampoo, and special spray from the vet. She doesn’t bother it anymore BUT I’m afraid to wash her as much as she needs since she likes to hide and seek her poop. Smh any one ever seen this? I need help. Thanx.

  • LisaB99

    BUYING a puppy instead of a dog? Don’t BUY the cutest puppy you see? How about don’t buy at all. Where is the “common mistake” of buying a dog when millions (yes literally millions) are homeless and in rescues/shelters/high kill animal control facilities? As for the bathing it all depends on the type of skin, fur or hair your dog has. I have 2 super short haired pit bull mixes that are out side a lot so once a week, once every 2 weeks works. Those with sensative skin may want to do less, long hair or fur may NEED to be bathed and combed or brushes every week or even less.

  • SmithWinston6478

    Where did the 35 comments come from? If you ever wake up, you’re going to be embarrassed.

    Wisdom comes with age, but sadly, sometimes age comes alone.

  • TheRateGetsTheCheese

    Unfortunately there are laws against having them fixed. One day.

  • TheRateGetsTheCheese

    The service we are using right now keeps a record, slow one & my email service shows the messages were attempted to be posted and deleted by the moderator. That is how I know that you have attempted multiple times to comment.

    Those waves of embarrassment are drowning me. Jeesh, you are sloooow.

    “Stupidity is not a crime, so you’re free to go”

  • TheRateGetsTheCheese

    Not at all. I appreciate differing opinions, but the use of non-words is an automatic disqualifier.

  • DublinIreland

    Saw a lady come off an international plane flight from Europe one day with her two cute kids leashed and close to her. Thought it was one of the smartest things I had ever seen a parent do.

  • aamericannovice

    I buy my shampoo in bulk from amazon.

  • aamericannovice

    You try bathing in dishwasher soap and see how dry your skin becomes. Not to mention the burning of the eyes.

  • Scott Buske

    I have a boxer too. All she cares about is her toys. Nuff said. Go get a rescue boxer. It will be the best dog you ever loved.

  • OldGeezer

    Years ago I thought leashing children was terrible – until I helped with a restless two year old on a busy street – the little guy nearly got away from me several times in the distance of a block. Had I not had both hands available, he might have gotten away and gotten hurt. The wise parents will use this sort of thing when necessary, and let the looks of others be damned. Such parents are taking the best possible care of their children.