Barking Up the Wrong Tree? 8 Mistakes First-Time Puppy Parents Make


You’ve just purchased yourself a puppy, and you can’t wait to bring them home to enjoy their company. You can’t wait to enjoy their pitter-patter sounds, combined with their gentle snores and playful character— all moments to cherish and yearn for.

However, these lovely moments are not without their fair share of challenges. Despite your best intentions, you might find yourself barking up the wrong tree and earning yourself a trip to the dog house with these eight mistakes first-time puppy parents often make.

While the first days with your furry friend are sure to be a whirlwind of wagging tails, games of fetch, and impromptu trips to the dog park, you can avoid slip-ups with a simple heads-up. Rest assured, your first days with Fido won’t be defined by hair-pulling and leash-tugging stress. Odds are, you’ll love mentoring your puppy into adulthood with the proper precautions in place.

Not putting enough thought into breed pre-purchase

There are many different dog breeds, sizes, and shapes to choose between. As such, it may be a little daunting to settle on a particular breed that you prefer. Sadly, you can’t have it all. So you have to consider your preferences and lifestyle to find the perfect breed.

The best way to find a good breed is through research. For example, bulldogs, Bernese mountain dogs will prove themselves a perfect addition to any family unit, while Vizslas and Labrador Retrievers earn an honorable mention as hunting companions.

Once you’ve browsed yourself to the bone, you can conduct a simple search for your dog breed of choice. If online research isn’t enough to quell anxieties, talk to experienced owners or breeders like Snowy Pines White Labs ( for advice.

Whatever your breed preferences, consider the following factors when choosing a dog:

Fur type


Coat type varies uniquely. Some coat types, like a Pyrenean Mountain Dog’s coat, necessitate committed grooming. Other breeds are more likely to molt than others.


Unfortunately, all pedigree breeds are prone to associated health issues. Make sure you check if your breeder has all certificates confirming veterinarians have checked that they are healthy.

Energy level


An energetic dog without the means to cool off may become destructive, making them less than family-friendly. If you treat yourself to frequent leisure time, opt for low-energy breeds like greyhounds, Great Danes, Bulldogs, or pugs.

Alternatively, some energetic dogs for very active people are like:

Family-friendly breeds

Breeds that tend to be family-friendly include:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Irish Setter
  • Cavalier King
  • Golden Retriever

Too much play, too little rest


After thoughtfully prioritizing your puppy must-haves, take the strategic approach to daily exercise. Puppies are playful, and these bundles of energy also need exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Yet, most people fail to realize that puppies need as much rest as they play.

An overly tired puppy is easily irritable, aggressive, or hyperactive. Puppies under five months should sleep early, latest at 8 p.m. Also, two quality naps in a calm place help the puppy rest. As they grow, you’ll want to cultivate healthy sleeping habits before your furry friend takes a turn for the worse.


If your puppy resembles a Tasmanian devil, the risk for broken valuables in your home will skyrocket. For this reason, first-time owners may find themselves yelling or scolding the puppy.

Although cracks in your priceless antiques can stir frustration, understand that it was an accident. Moreso, the puppy won’t be able to make sense of your angry tirades and is likely to be confused by your tone.

Yelling at the pup may feel relieving for you. However, it is not effective in any way to prevent that from happening again. It would be best if you used positive reinforcement to train your dog for good behavior.

Also, you could learn to anticipate your puppy’s behavior. This way, you can establish a code of communication when they are up to no good. For instance, you distract them with a command they respond to, which will require a practice-makes-perfect mentality.

Unhappy car rides


Most dog owners limit their pup’s time spent in the passenger seat. In most cases, four-wheeled adventures usually mean trips to the veterinarian. Because veterinarian visits tend to touch a nerve and even traumatize those more skittish breeds, your dog will associate car rides with vaccines and invasive check-ups.

Therefore, ensure your pup doesn’t link your vehicle with discomfort. To do so, carve out time for leisurely drives around the neighborhood as well.

Repeating commands

Repeating commands is common amongst first-time dog trainers. For example, they may repeat a command until the puppy agrees to do it due to boredom. Sadly, this trains them to respond to commands when they are repeated. If the puppy does not respond, do not repeat the command. Take them elsewhere and try again, this time with a reward.

Over-relying on treats


Yes, treats are a gentle way to train your dog, but using them often may train your dogs only to respond to commands when offered a dog biscuit. You probably won’t always have savory snacks on your person, meaning your training efforts could go south in a hurry.

To avoid this, mix positive affirmations, toys, claps, or play into your training routine. That way, you can train your dog to respond to compliments by combining your approval with gifts.

Paying them no attention

The first two or so months of your puppy’s life are spent with other young pups, meaning they’ll have one or two companions from birth to the ten-week mark. But after you take them home, you may be engrossed in your work or too tired even to remember you have a furry friend who needs your love.

Remember, you have been away for the better part of the day, and the pup is glad to see you. If you do not have a social life with them, the puppy may develop an antisocial mindset. Consequently, this mishap may lead to aggression.

To keep your pup socialized and satisfied, have a friend over often, schedule sleepovers for your furry friend, or commit to weekly trips to the dog park. If you’re too busy, technology can help take care of your pup.

Inconsistent training


Your eight-week-old puppy is ready to learn basic obedience commands. Surprisingly, most dog owners are unaware of this and wrongfully assume that training is an age-specific practice. For optimal consistency, start early and ensure house rules are enforced strictly among your family unit.

After all, mixed messages can leave your pup lost and confused when mom allows them on the bed, but dad doesn’t. Decide on your training objectives and be precise on how you’d want your canine friend to behave. As a final precaution, don’t forget to inform everyone in your home.

Before you go

What your puppy learns while they’re young sticks for life. With the impressionability of your dog in mind, you’ll need to get the hang of training quickly if you want to bring up a happy, confidence, and loveable adult dog.