What kind of pet owner are you? When I lived out in the country, I would see many dogs chained to a tree. The chain was usually pretty short. Sometimes there was a dog house next to the tree and sometimes not. A lot of the time the dogs looked abused: water bowl dry and no apparent food.
The dogs would eventually turn mean and try to eat you if you got near them. One guy who was into hunting would keep his dogs in the basement for a couple of days in a crate with a tire on top of it. He said that it made them run more when he finally let them out.
The country wasn’t the only place that I’ve seen this kind of cruelty happen. One of our neighbors had several German Shepards. They were allowed to run free in the yard, but they laced their food with red pepper so they were constantly in pain and very mean.
Some people abuse their pets in more subtle ways. In this article we are going to focus mainly on dogs. One problem is that a lot of dog owners treat their pets like humans. They feed them human food, cuddle them, dress them up, and don’t give them enough exercise and discipline. The dog then becomes stressed and misbehaves.
You may think that pampering and spoiling your pet is good for them. It isn’t. Dogs are pack animals. They have a leader, or “alpha dog.” He pretty much sets the rules. In the dog/human relationship you have to become the alpha leader.
If you don’t do this the dog will think that he has to start making the decisions and that’s where the trouble begins. Most of the behavioral problems that owners encounter with their dogs stem from this one issue.
The other big problem is not giving the dog enough exercise. According to Caesar Millan: the priorities that you must show your pet are discipline, exercise, and affection. In that order. You’re not being tough on your dog when you enforce the rules, you’re actually relieving him of stress. He says that dogs learn best when they are in a “calm, submissive” state.
According to WebMD, here are a few other mistakes that dog owners make that may be harmful to the pet as well as to themselves:
Some pet owners, well actually a lot of them, let their dogs walk them. You can see the dog pulling away and the owner struggling to keep up. This results in a lot of trips to the emergency room for the owners who hurt their backs or fall.
The solution to this problem is simple: Place the collar higher on the dog’s neck and when he starts to tug on it simply pull up. Use a little force if you have to, it won’t hurt the dog. If the dog can’t see the ground he won’t pull on the leash.
The other common mistake is to not keeping the dogs immunizations up to date. By not using the preventive medicines that the vet has prescribed and not keeping your appointments with the veterinarian, you are exposing your dog, yourself, and your children to serious health problems. Some of these can be fatal to your pet and yes, some of them (such as ringworm) can be transmitted to humans.
It’s not a good idea to sleep with your pet. One woman’s small dog chewed her toes off while she was sleeping. She had diabetes and couldn’t feel her feet. Even if you don’t have that problem, some diseases can be transmitted by such close contact. The same applies to kissing your dog. His mouth may be cleaner than a human, but not by much.
So just follow a few common sense rules and realize that you pet is different from you. You will have less problems and it’s certain that your pet will be a lot happier.