The top mistakes puppy owners make and how to avoid them

Young Woman cuddles her 12 week old Golden Retriever Puppy
Swerve the pitfalls (Picture: Getty Images)

Getting a puppy is an absolute joy – but it’s also pretty hard work.

You’ve got a lot of chaotic energy to try and keep up with, and you need to put real effort into training your little bud while they’re still young to ensure you both become the best of friends.

Jacob Morgan, co-founder of the Yorkshire Canine Academy, has trained more than 500 dogs and their owners in his time.

In his experience, these are the three most common mistakes people make with their puppies…

Choosing the wrong breed for their lifestyle

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Training is all very well and good, but certain breeds have certain needs regardless of how they’re trained.

Jacob says: ‘One of the most important decisions a dog owner has to make it choosing the right breed of dog for their lifestyle. So many people buy breeds and don’t fulfil their natural instincts, and this causes behavioural problems later down the line.

‘Collies need a focus just like they would on a farm, Huskies need to run and Labradors need to retrieve – it’s in their DNA.

‘Making sure you can dedicate the time every day to meeting those needs by substituting those typical roles of that breed is so important. If you can’t make that commitment, let go of your dream breed and be prepared to choose one that will be happy with you.’

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Photo: Jacob Morgan, founder of Yorkshire Canine Academy, with a hound
Jacob co-founded the Yorkshire Canine Academy in 2020 (Picture: Yorkshire Canine Academy)

Not enough socialisation

Put simply, your puppy needs to get out there and get used to other people and pets.

‘Between eight and 16 weeks is a key developmental time for your puppy and as owners, it’s our job to show them all sorts of experiences, environments and people they may encounter in the future,’ Jacob explains.

‘This helps to keep them from feeling anxious or unsure if they were to be exposed to this situation for the first time when they are older. Try to get out and about with your puppy as much as you can during this time to get them used to different sounds, smells and textures.

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‘If you’re walking them in a busy town you’re probably going to get lots of people trying to stroke them, so this is a great opportunity to reinforce your training to help your puppy focus on you instead of all these distractions. Vets typically recommend waiting a week after second vaccinations before going out, so you can always take them out in a carrier or areas away from other dogs before this.’

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Letting them off the lead

Yes, dogs need to get their energy out, but letting puppies off the lead can be a recipe for disaster.

Jacob says: ‘Puppies can lure us into a false sense of security as their natural instinct is to follow us wherever we go, so many owners let puppies off a lead on walks. But things can take a turn at around six months of age when they develop more confidence and want to go off and explore.

‘This is why we’d recommend keeping them on a long line. You can let it out and take it in as you need to, but it will ensure you have full control of where your pup goes and what it encounters, helping you to keep practising their recall technique in a much more safe environment.’

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Spiked collars were originally fashioned in ancient Greece to protect dogs’ throats from wolf attacks.

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