22 January, 2018

Bad Dog or Bad Owner? 25 Things Bad Dog Owners Do

Bad things for dogs that owners should never do

Owning a dog is an exercise in unconditional love. You have a best friend that loves and understands you and asks for very little in return. Yet, according to the ASPCA, 6.5 million companion animals are surrendered to shelters around the country every year with only 50 percent of all dogs surrendered finding homes with other families. Even if you are familiar with all of the “things to know before getting a dog“, it is also important to note these 25 characteristics of bad dog owners.

25. Leave their dog alone in the car

Dog left inside a car

As tempting as it may be to leave your dog in the car while you run into the store, don’t do it. Even in cooler temperatures, cars act like miniature saunas that can cause heat exhaustion and death very quickly. Your dog is also a target for thieves who wouldn’t think twice about selling your pure blooded golden retriever online. Image Source

24. Let their dog and children play unsupervised

Dog and baby playing together

Bad pet owners fail to supervise their children around their animals. Regardless of how well trained your dog is, you never know how they will react to being provoked, mishandled or even threatened. Keep both your dog and children safe by supervising their interactions and teaching both of them how to get along. Image Source

23. Feed their dog the wrong food

Feeding a dog with ice cream

Taking care of a dog seems fairly straightforward. You give them food, water, a place to sleep, and attention. However, feeding them the wrong food can cause itching, shedding, poor health, obesity, and a lack of energy. Consult your vet about the dog food that is right for your pup. Image Source

22. Don’t take care of their dog’s teeth

Upside-down dog showing its teeth

While many people understand the importance of regular check ups at the vet, it is rare to find a first time dog owner guide that talks about proper oral hygiene for your dog. A dog’s teeth should be brushed daily with a child’s sized or fingertip toothbrush using cleaning products designed for pets. Image Source

21. Use physical punishment

Sad Basenji dog

Among the top signs of a bad dog owner are when they use physical punishment to correct their dog’s behavior. Physical harm is among the top bad things for dogs that abusive dog owners do. When you hit a dog, you lose its trust making them more likely to lash out with aggressive behavior. Instead, consult a professional dog trainer for tips and tricks on how to help your dog learn basic commands. Image Source

20. Don’t properly train their dog

Training a dog

While we’re on the subject of training, one of the most important things to know before getting a dog is that you will have to spend time together in school. Obedience training, even if they are an adult dog, will help you bond and communicate. Bad dog owners never take the time to properly train their dog, resulting in abandonment or surrender. Image Source

19. Fail to spay or neuter

Cute dog takes a photo in the grass

There is nothing more heartbreaking than unwanted, abandoned puppies. On the other hand, dogs who are forced to breed multiple times for profit is a sign of bad pet owners. Spaying or neutering your pet not only protects them from unplanned breeding, it also limits the number of dogs that can be surrendered to a shelter. Image Source

18. Spaying or neutering at inappropriate times

Dog peeing on grass

Delaying spaying or neutering your dog can lead to bladder control problems later in life. Nothing causes you to ask, “Am I a bad dog owner?” quite like a dog with health problems that seem to appear out of nowhere. Fortunately, spaying or neutering at the right time and with a competent veterinarian can mitigate this risk. Image Source

17. Make their dog live on a chain

Black dog chained to a gate

Among the bad things to do as a dog owner is making your dog spend all of their time on a chain. They want to be with you, not outside tethered to a 10 foot cable all day. If you do not have a fence, it may be appropriate to allow them to spend short amounts of supervised time on a leash line but the majority of their time should be spent with their person. Image Source

16. Skip regular check ups

Veterinarian carrying a bunny

Yes, vet bills are expensive but caring for a dog with chronic health problems is even more so. Regular check ups with the vet complete with appropriate vaccines and medications can ensure your dog has many healthy years to come. Image Source

15. Neglect their dog’s water

Dog carrying its food bowl

A thirsty dog is often a bad dog! Make it a point to refresh your dog’s water bowl every time you eat a meal. Not only will your dog be healthier, better behaved and more focused you will keep his water dish free from dangerous bacteria, mold and mildew. Image Source

14. Assume their dog doesn’t have feelings

Sad dog sulking on the floor

One of the most important pieces of advice dog owners can receive is to acknowledge their dog’s feelings. Scientists have found that dogs have all of the same brain structures that process emotion that humans do and are capable of experiencing sadness, happiness, frustration, confusion, jealousy, and fear the same way a two-and-a-half year old human can. Image Source

13. Never adopt a routine

Three dogs on a leash

Novice pet owners often say, “I feel like a bad dog owner because we do the same thing every day.” In reality, a predictable routine reduces stress for both you and your dog. Feeding your dog at unpredictable times, walking with them at different times everyday and expecting them to “go with the flow” is a recipe for disaster. Image Source 

12. Not consider their travel habits

Dog sitting next to a metal fence

 

People who love to travel or who travel extensively for work can be successful pet owners. Unfortunately, making travel arrangements for your dog can be difficult and expensive. Bad pet owners won’t consider their travel habits before adopting a dog and will simply leave their dog behind without making proper boarding arrangements after they bring them home. Image Source

11. Skip the self-evaluation phase

Three dogs on the porch

One of the most important things to know before getting a dog is yourself. If you are physically active a low energy breed won’t meet your need for a running companion. If you have a small living space, a large breed will not have the room it needs to run and play. Taking care of a dog is a 10 to 15 year commitment. Before you head to the shelter, take stock of your habits, time constraints and available space. Image Source

10. Adopt the wrong breed

Dog and puppy playing with a soft toy

One of the biggest reasons why people surrender their dogs is that they adopted a breed that was not right for them. Certain breeds have certain characteristics that are a part of their genetic make up. If you want a lap dog, a golden doodle will not suffice no matter how cute they are. A little research into the type of dog you are considering will reveal more than their picture on the shelter’s website. Image Source

9. Fail to exercise their dog properly

Happy dog running on grass

Like humans, dogs need more exercise than they are likely getting. When they don’t get it, dogs tend to become destructive or excessively excitable. Ideally, dogs should walk, run, jump, or play for a minimum of 30 minutes, twice a day, every day. As an added bonus, dog owners are known to walk nearly twice as much as their non-dog owner counterparts. Image Source

8. Unsafely transport their dog

Three labradors on a pickup truck

We’ve all seen the Labrador in the back of a pick up truck traveling down the road at 50 miles per hour. Not only is this habit unsafe for dogs, it creates a hazard to other drivers and pedestrians should your dog decide to bail out of the truck at a stop light. Secure your dog in your vehicle with proper restraints the way you would secure a child. This not only keeps your dog safe in the event of an accident, it also keeps him from distracting you while you drive. Image Source

7. Don’t pick up after their dog

Sign reminding people to pick up after their dogs

It seems like basic courtesy to pick up after your dog when they poop in public areas. Even dog parks expect owners to remove their dog’s excrement the minute they produce it. Yet this basic function of pet ownership escapes many bad dog owners. Keep a roll of poop bags on your leash and you will never be caught off guard. Image Source

6. Force their dog on someone who is fearful

Dog sniffing a woman

Just because you love dogs does not mean there are not others who are legitimately fearful of animals. Rather than attempting to force them to make friends with your dog, show them your dog is well trained, well mannered and properly leashed. This will likely change their opinion far more than forcing them to make friends with your dog. Image Source

5. Ignore leash laws

Four dogs wearing their leash

Many dog owners insist that their dog is well trained enough to forgo the leash. In reality, leash laws are there to protect not only the dog but the owner as well from liability. Should a dog suddenly run away, the owner is responsible for any damage or injury that could result. Unless otherwise specified, dogs should be kept on leashes at all times when they are in public areas. Image Source

4. Avoid the crate at all costs

Cute Welsh Corgi inside a dog crate x

Regardless of how humans feel about crate training, there are times when your dog will have to be in a crate in order to remain safe, be transported from one location to another, be held after grooming, or be boarded. Using a crate as punishment or avoiding it altogether at home will only heighten the stress of your dog when they are placed in one out of necessity. Image Source

3. Accentuate the negative

Black dog running around with a ball in its mouth

While all dogs will make mistakes, one of the signs of a bad dog owner is that they can’t let it go. Rather than accentuating the negative behavior you wish your dog did not have, recognize the good in them and reinforce the behaviors you want to see. If you have difficulty bonding or communicating with your dog, seek professional help from a trainer. Image Source

2. Blame the dog

Two dogs sitting on a metal platform

The old saying, “There are no such thing as bad dogs, only bad dog owners,” is true in most cases. With their higher reasoning power, pet owners are responsible for teaching their dogs how to behave. When things go awry, blaming the dog for their innate behavior is like blaming a newborn for crying – irrational and unreasonable and it’s something that only irresponsible dog owners do. Image Source

1. Give up too quickly

White fluffy dog smiling

One of the most important things to know before getting a dog is that at some point you will want to give up. Adopting a pet is much more difficult than simply falling in love with a face at the shelter. It involves completely changing your life to accommodate something else. While re-homing a dog may be the best option in some instances, bad dog owners will give up at the first sign of trouble missing out on all of the unconditional love and satisfaction of pet ownership. Image Source

How to Report a Bad Dog Owner

Walking a dog

It is important to protect all animals regardless of whose to they are. If you see someone mistreating or endangering their dog, report the behavior to the local non-emergency police line or your local animal control office. Never approach a bad pet owner about how they are treating their dog unless you or your animal are in imminent danger. Instead, lodge a formal complaint and allow authorities to handle the situation. Image Source

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