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May 13, 2014

Be a better pet parent today

I’ve had dogs my whole life but Eko is my first dog as an adult (using that term very loosely here). He’s the first pup where the responsibilities of care, training and …gulp… vet bills are solely mine. I like to think I got a lot of things right for a first-timer.
I’ve had dogs my whole life but Eko is my first dog as an adult (using that term very loosely here). He’s the first pup where the responsibilities of care, training and …gulp… vet bills are solely mine. I like to think I got a lot of things right for a first-timer.rhodesian ridgeback puppy

Love? Check. Never a shortage there

rhodesian ridgeback puppy

Adventure? Novelty? Socialization? Eko’s had all of these in abundance since day one

I was diligent about crate training and Eko loved his little den

While I think I got a lot right, I know I got a lot wrong. My rookie mistakes included things like leaving Eko alone in a room for “just a quick second” and returning to find utter destruction of a couch or shoe or unplugged wire. There are also persistent mistakes of inconsistency I’m still working to overcome.

rhodesian ridgeback puppy

As a pup, I only brushed Eko’s teeth sporadically. It led to plaque build up which I have spent the past year slowly working away

rhodesian ridgeback puppyLoose leash walking is one of the most important skills for a pup/person to master.  I thought we had it down, but during Eko’s rebellious teenage phase I did not practice/reinforce the skill enough. As a result, our loose leash walking skills became inconsistent and frustrating. Eko’s a good walker now, but I have to remember to always been consistent and patient in training

There’s no undoing yesterday’s mistakes, all we can do is learn from them and make better decisions today. Eko’s first gift to his little sister is a more experienced, prepared and knowledgeable person than Eko ever had as a puppy.

Of course, I’m sure I will make a whole slew of new mistakes, but all I can do is work to be a better pet parent today than I was yesterday. And when I mess up this time at least the pup will have Eko to commiserate with!

If you have any pet parent missteps or training do-overs  to share, please let me know. I’ll be diligently studying them for the next few weeks before the big “exam” begins.

Comments for Be a better pet parent today

  1. I think you pretty much covered them. Although I do regret letting Artemis climb all over me as a puppy. It was so cute I couldn’t say no, and now I forever have a lap dog. It’s not really annoying but I wish I would have put more effort into boundaries.

  2. I know we all made a lot of mistakes, but we made it with love :o) We completely nailed the loose leash walking, but at least the bonesetter gets some wonga from Mark every month :o) But we work to solve the problem, hope we can :o)

  3. meANXIETYme says:

    Wish I had made recall a bigger deal with the first of the two dogs we have at present. We have a huge fenced yard so we didn’t make it a priority…now with two dogs it meant we were often chasing one or the other to get them to come inside. It’s better now because we’ve been working at it, but training the two of them at the same time is harder.
    Training to wait before getting out of the car is another. We don’t take a LOT of rides, but attempting to grab two BIG DOGS as they are trying to launch out of the van is hard.
    Grooming is a big one, too. The older of our dogs loves to be brushed, but hates the sound of the electric clippers (I have to trim the hair between her pads every month or so)…I had resorted to using scissors to trim. Now the new(er) dog hates the brush AND is terrified of the noise from the clippers. Sitting and trimming both dogs feet (all EIGHT of them!) with scissors every month takes forever and is hard on the back. 🙂 We’re still working on acclimating to the noisy trimmers…

  4. when we got Dakota he was 8 mos old. They didn’t work with him with his leash til about a week before we got him. We STILL have on-going, embarrassing issues. Dakota WILL NOT come to us to have his leash put on unless he has to go to the bathroom. You can imagine how awful this is and i have no clue as to how to rectify it!

  5. Stephanie says:

    So far I’m still in puppy stage with my ridgeback. Our biggest mistake so far has been in not watching the pup like a hawk. He eats EVERYTHING. I gave him a little bit of freedom here and there, because watching his face every moment of the day was wearing me out. He ended up somehow ingesting an impossible amount of hair (and a couple of rocks), lost a lot of weight, and almost died of sepsis. He’s now on the healthy side of recovery from the surgery to remove everything from his intestine. The vet had us wait on going in for a couple of days because she thought it was puppy indigestion (we live on an island and have to fly out to see the vet), and gave us a 15% chance of survival for him once she took the xray. Anyway, poor guy is spending a lot more time in his crate in the future if I can’t watch his every move. We could be doing better with consistency. There are so many people that try to give him commands, it’s confusing for him. We’re on a specific route with training, and that is easily derailed by people who want to see what the cute puppy will do for a snack. He is incredibly smart though, and I don’t think this will really be an issue. I see his behavior changes based on the person he’s dealing with. He still listens pretty well with me and his dad, but when he’s around grandma, he’s just crazy. He knows he doesn’t have to be on good behavior for her to treat him to a snack. 😛

  6. raisingdaisy says:

    I would say that inconsistency was the hardest thing to overcome, simply because there were three of us involved in the training and sometimes someone would forget a particular command or allow Daisy to do something the other two were training her not to do. We finally managed to overcome that but there are some things Daisy does now that we can’t break her of because of the confusion. Also if I had a new puppy, I would get it used to foot-holding from the start so we wouldn’t have as much trouble with grooming. No one will ever be a perfect pet parent, but you’re bringing your new little cutie into a very healthy, loving home filled with every activity and type of companionship a pup could want – you can’t go wrong! 🙂

  7. Jeff says:

    I still haven’t been able to figure out the loose leash walking training.

  8. Misaki says:

    Mummy and daddy made loads of mistakes, but they’ve done ok considering. They wished they’d started cutting my nails and generally touching my paws from a young age, I’m not a fan of it at all and it’s something we’re having to work on now.

  9. ThatJenK says:

    Ahh the rebellious teenage years… I remember when Moses went through that… not with fondness. Luckily we had people telling us to be patient and consistent and it would end – which it did!
    I think we all make mistakes, but they’re so specific to our situation. We didn’t get pet insurance right away – a mistake for us that ended up being expensive (since remedied; never again). And I didn’t take enough puppy photos – huge mistake!

  10. You picked two big issues – well behaved leash walking and dental care! I find those are the most overlooked aspects of dog care. Other important things are more geared toward your dogs personality, whether they tend to be anxious and need more time working on social skills or if they are dominant and need to be taught discipline. It’s not easy raising a pup, but man is it worth it!

  11. PigLove says:

    Okay I’m being FORCED to hoof this out while mom is glaring at me over my shoulder. She says to stay on top of food. Okay mom I said it… ppsst – I don’t think you have to though. XOXO – Bacon

  12. My family falls for the “That’s so cute!…the first time” trap. We had our current dog for a year before he “discovered” the sofa, and we thought he was so cute when we saw him curled up there the first time, so we let him stay. Now it takes 10 minutes and a bunch of treats to get him OFF the sofa. Whoops…

  13. Pat Sieloff says:

    At least you realize that you made some new parent mistakes with Eko. Heck, I’ll admit to some parenting mistakes with my two legged kids, and they are quite well adjusted and successful despite those mistakes. Consistency is the key with both 2 legged and 4 legged kids so establish the rules and routine and try to stick with it. The good news is that even the “kids” think you get smarter as THEY get older!

    As an aside, we found that all of our RR’s hated having their teeth brushed so on the advice of a more experienced RR owner, we replaced the brush with frequent
    “bonesicles” (frozen pieces of beef or lamb long bones) and all have been, according to our vets, “poster children for canine dental health.” Even our boy who lived to 13.5 years had sparkly whites and no gingivitis. They eat them outside in nice weather, but we have them trained to eat them on old beds (that we wash from time to time) to keep the mess to a minimum during the winter months. They respond reliably to “take it to your bed” and they know that we do not mean their nice beds scattered around the house. They love the chewing and have almost no plaque or tartar.

  14. I don’t even want to list out the things I’ve done wrong. But, it’s a learning experience and I know better now and that’s what counts right?

  15. Emmadog says:

    Mom says with every dog she gets to be a better parent. Bailie is supposedly the best balanced dog yet, I tend to think it is me, not her…not matter, she loves us and we love Mom and all are happy and have a great home. Can’t wait to see how your new little one grows up!

  16. GreAt post and so true. I’m still learning too and trying to get it right for the next one. You will do just fine.

  17. dogdaz says:

    You are doing a great job from what I see. Accepting that you’ve made mistakes is a great way to improve.

  18. Whee think you are doing, and have done a great job!


  19. mollieandalfie says:

    You have done a brilliant job. If I had blogged when I first Mollie, I would be so much the wiser in training techniques 🙂 xxoxxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  20. I think you’ve done a pretty great job if those are your biggest problems! 🙂

  21. I find that even though they are seniors, when we adopted Maggie, she learned a lot from Jack. I’m sure the new pup will worship her big brother and he will be a good teacher.

  22. Boomdeeadda says:

    I think we got really lucky with our dogs because I know I’m no expert, yet they exceeded my expectations behaviour wise. My cats on the other hand are rotten. Bad behaviour included: on coffee tables, on kitchen counter, night howling, early morning wakeup when food bowl is full. Where did I go wrong, LOL

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