by Krystal Torres

Mistake 1: Buying a Pet Spontaneously

Why this is a mistake: that puppy might be the biggest cutie pie on earth, but he may not be the best fit for you or your family. For example, you might prefer to relax in your recliner, but if your pooch prefers a more active lifestyle it will cause behavioral problems you might otherwise not have if the two of you were a better match.

How to avoid it: do your research. Some cats or dogs might exhibit behavior specific to their breed – Terriers tend to dig; Abyssinians explore and climb (but remember every dog is an individual. So he or she could be complete different in character than what most breeds “tend to be”). Talk to other pet owners. Check out the American Kennel Club’s website (; or that of the Cat Fanciers Association ( And lastly spend some time with your potential new pet. Find out about their history, current health, and temperament.

Mistake 2: Skipping Obedience Training

Why this is a mistake: trying to break bad habits is usually not a fun time.

How to avoid it: before your dog receives formal training you can teach simple commands such as sit or stay. Don’t punish bad behavior but instead focus on their good deeds. When your pet demonstrates the correct action for a commands, reward her with treats or a belly rub. To help your dog stick with good behaviors, every few years take him or her to a refresher course. You can find one in your area at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at

Mistake 3: Neglecting to Socialize Your Pet

Why this is a mistake: failure to expose your pet to people of all ages and several different types of animals can result in behavioral issues with your pets like fear or aggression.

How to avoid it: the sooner you socialize your pet the better. For cats, this is best done in the first 2 to 8 weeks of life and for dogs you want to shoot for in the first 3 to 12 weeks of life. Take your pet to different places. Introduce him or her to all sorts of different animals and people. This way, your best four legged friend will take new situations in stride.

Mistake 4: Being Inconsistent With the Rules

Why this is a mistake: if one person in your home punishes your dog for laying on the sofa, but another always let him snuggle up, Fido will get confused leading to behavioral issues.

How to avoid it: Pets, much like children, thrive when there is a sense of order. Discuss with your family beforehand when he or she will be given treats, meal times, and when they will get exercise.

Mistake 5: Dispensing Too Many Free Treats

Why this is a mistake: Treats lose their training value if your pet gets them for no reason.

How to avoid it: “Think of treats as currency given to a pet to reward good behavior,” says Marty Becker, a veterinarian and a coeditor of Assign each type of treat a value, and pay according to how well your pet behaves. Kibble is worth a dollar; a chicken strip, five; bologna, 10. “But it’s important to not pay off the good behavior all the time,” Becker says. “That way, your dog will always hope he might get that piece of bologna, and he’ll eventually perform without seeing a treat.” (


For other ways you can help your dog or cat become the best pet ever you can check out the following links: