Tips for A Well-Behaved Puppy

PuppyThe first year of your puppy's life is the most important.  With the proper diet, the right training and regular veterinary visits, you will ensure that your puppy will grow into a wonderful companion.  Your new puppy will adjust quickly if you are patient, consistent and show them lots of love.

Read more: Tips for A Well-Behaved Puppy

When Cat Meets Baby ...

A new baby can bring a lot of joy into the home (and, of course, some stress). The adjustment might take time, but baby and cat can co-exist, even happily. Here are some tips on helping ensure that happens:

  • Use the entire pregnancy to get the cat used to the idea of a little one. Play tapes of baby noises, or rub baby lotion on your hands before engaging in a pleasant activity with your cat. Set up nursery furniture as soon as possible and allow the cat time to investigate it before certain areas (the changing table and crib) are put off-limits. That way the cat knows there’s nothing unusual or scary about those areas.
  • At least one month before the baby arrives, make the surfaces in the nursery unwelcoming. Cut sheets of cardboard to the size of the furniture and put sticky tape on it.
  • If a litter box had been in the soon-to-be nursery, move it a few inches a day to its new location. Give yourself plenty of time to get it moved completely before baby arrives. Consider covering that area with a diaper pail or dresser so the animal isn’t tempted to potty there again.
  • If cat care routines are going to shift from new mother to partner, those routines should be switched one to two months before the birth. The cat needs to get used to the new caregiver's style.
  • When Mom arrives home from the hospital after baby is born, she should peacefully greet the cat without interruption. After they've reconnected, everyone else can come in. The cat will likely flee the hoopla.
  • Place a used receiving blanket or piece of infant clothing in a quiet area where the cat can investigate it.
  • Allow the cat to approach and quietly check things out while Mom is nursing.
  • Don’t allow the cat in the crib.
  • Close the door to the nursery when the baby is napping. If there is no door to close, install a temporary screen door or hang mosquito netting over the crib to keep the cat out.

Source: Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Pick the Perfect Pet for You

Before you pick a pet, keep in mind that the pet is a commitment that you have for its entire life. For large breed dogs, that can mean 10 or more years; for a smaller breed, it can be 15 years or more. Cats may live up to 20 years. Pets require continued daily investment of your attention and energy. Do not acquire a pet of any kind if your decision is based on frivolous needs or spontaneous urges. Put yourself in the animal’s place.

So you decide you do want a pet. Here’s what comes dawg Webnext.

Dog? Cat? Or something else?

Don’t be misled by popular misconceptions that all cats are antisocial toward people or that no one should have a dog unless they own a house with a yard. Neither should you limit your options to a dog or a cat. You might find great companionship in a pet rabbit, bird, or an aquarium of fish. Be open-minded and consider all the options.

Here are some important points to think about:

  • A pet dog requires a bigger investment of time and energy than does a cat. Regardless of size or breed, a dog should be walked on a leash for a minimum of 20 minutes at least twice daily. It is not enough to let it out into the backyard, nor can it be allowed to roam unsupervised in the neighborhood.
  • A dog must be taught acceptable behavior as soon as it enters your home. Puppies should begin obedience training and social interaction (with other pets, children, and adults) from the very start. Obedience training should be practiced daily. Dogs make wonderful pets if they are given ample opportunity for the exercise, play, and social interaction with their owners.
  • If you are a first-time pet owner, a large-breed dog is probably not the best choice. A smaller dog will be easier to manage so that you can perfect your obedience skills and acquire experience.
  • The approaches to raising dogs of any size are identical. Train a small dog the same way you would train a large one. You would not want a Great Dane to jump on your guests, so don’t tolerate this behavior in a Lhasa Apso. Read tips about stopping a dog from jumping.
  • Although most dogs will enjoy playing with people, cats can generally amuse themselves. Most cats enjoy interacting with their owners but are often content to play alone.
  • Though their activities can be more solitary, cats thrive on attention and social contact with their owners. Cats have a very different social nature from dogs. Cats tend to be more discreet and unassertive than dogs, but they can be as attentive and responsive as any dog. A cat’s relatively small size and independent nature make it an attractive candidate for small living quarters and busy households.

PiccoloHiRes WEBMale or female?

  • Male cats and dogs tend to be larger than females and may be more active in general. Females may be easier to training and less destructive. Females may not play as roughly as males, but both sexes are equally playful. Males tend to be more aggressive toward other males in particular, and aggressive behavior may be more easily provoked.
  • Male dogs may be less tolerant of children. Dominance aggression in male dogs is more common. That does not mean that females can’t be aggressive or are always calm and sweet-tempered, nor does this suggest that male cats or dogs are not responsive to their owners.
  • There is probably no difference between the sexes in territorial aggression or the demand for affection. The decision between a male and female is one of your preference. The fundamental guideline is to choose a healthy pet with a good temperament.

Evaluating the litter

  • Avoid selecting a pet that remains extremely shy and intolerant to handling over more than one visit. An overly anxious pup, for example, is most likely to remain so as an adult. The most assertive pup of a litter is likely to become extremely dominant as an adult. If you choose a pet that displays any temperamental extremes, be prepared for lifelong challenges.
  • Testing a puppy’s temperament during the first few months of life can be misleading. Pups go through phases of development that are largely influenced by their environment. A pet’s earliest experiences influence it throughout its lifetime.
  • Look for the pet that has the traits you desire, but in moderation.
  • Have your new pet examined by a veterinarian within seven days after adoption from TCHS.

Checklist for Pet Selection

Before adopting a pet, consider:

  • Motivation (whim or well-planned goal)
  • Financial investment (short-term, long-term)
  • Required changes (removing valuable objects, tolerating occasional accidents, placing screens on windows to prevent escape)
  • Adult size (small, medium, large)
  • Breed characteristics, physical attributes (activity level, hair length)
  • Gender
  • Time and energy for pet’s daily maintenance (exercise, grooming, play, affection)
  • Municipal and state regulations regarding pets
  • Your previous experience (basic obedience training, house training)
  • A secondary caregiver (if you leave on vacation or become ill)

Source: Canine and Feline Behavior Problems, Second Edition

Inappropriate Elimination/Submissive Urination

Housesoiling in adult dogs ranks among the most common complaints of dog owners. Even the most reliably trained dog can have trouble controlling bowel or bladder function during illness or stress. If your dog suddenly loses its house-training manners, take him to your vet immediately to make sure he is not ill. Review recent events that might have made your pet anxious if there is no sign of physical illness.

Dogs may lose desirable habits in response to events that are not immediately obvious to their owners (such as a neighborhood female dog being in heat, arousing tensions in dogs of both senses). There may be changes in the dynamics between your dog and another household pet. Or loss of house-training habits sometimes reflects an owner’s stress because dogs are sensitive to their owners’ moods. Your dog may react to your tensions and withdrawal by reasserting territorial claims with deposits of urine or stool. It may even void in a place that is strongly associated with you (your bed or clothing).

Even if you’re busy, it’s important to keep up your twice-daily walks instead of just letting the dog out in the yard. Spending more quality time together reduces your own stress level and benefits everyone’s sense of well-being. Dogs benefit from structure in their daily routines.

If your dog loses its house-training manners, follow these steps:

  • Prevent accidents by resuming basic house training. Provide frequent opportunities for your dog to eliminate in an appropriate place. Walk it on a leash within a half-hour after each meal (or sooner) and, if possible, every few hours during the day. Reward your dog’s appropriate elimination immediately with abundant praise. Remember that it is not useful to punish a pet for inappropriate elimination. This is especially important when the problem’s underlying cause is psychological or physical stress.
  • Decrease your pet’s desire to return to soiled areas. Odors must be removed because they will attract your pet and maintain objectionable habits long after the initial cause of the misbehavior is gone. Thoroughly disinfect and deodorize the soiled area. Many effective household cleaning productions, such as alternating diluted white vinegar and baking soda, can neutralize or at least dilute the odors that attract your pet to the location. Products containing biological enzymes can be helpful in deodorizing, too. After cleaning, block your pet’s access to the target area with an obstacle such as a piece of furniture. Alternatively, feed your pet at or near this spot or simply place a bowl of water there.

Submissive Urination

Submissive behavior signals a dog’s recognition of its inferior social status toward another dog or a person. Physical clues associated with submission are similar to those displayed by defensive, even fearful animals. These may include ears flattened against the head, head and neck lowered, body arched in a sitting position or crouched low to the ground, and tail held low or between the hind legs. Submissive behavior during greeting may be accompanied by a dribbling of urine. This submissive urination is seen particularly in young dogs and most often in young females. It may persist into adulthood, but it usually resolves as urinary sphincters mature and the pup gains confidence in a stable human family.

Solutions:

  • The key to treating submissive urination is to keep greetings brief and calm. Excited entrances and exits may worsen the problem. Everyone entering or leaving your home, including you, should be calm and controlled.
  • Avoid prolonged direct eye contact when greeting the dog so that it does not feel threatened.
  • Do not pet the dog on its head or back during greeting. This may trigger submissive patterns, including urination, because petting is a subtle form of asserting dominance over the dog. Petting should be avoided during submissive urination so as to avoid unintentionally encourage that behavior.
  • Walk your dog at regular and frequent intervals so that its bladder does not become too full.
  • Crouch or kneel on the floor so that you present a less intimidating figure. Standing over a dog, particularly when it lacks social confidence, can be threatening.
  • Let your dog approach you rather than moving toward your dog. This will be less menacing and will allow your dog to greet you at its own pace.
  • Punishment is not recommended because it only aggravates the problem. Punishment makes your dog more anxious and increases its tendency to urinate submissively. Further, because the urinary (and anal) sphincters may relax during times of stress, the pet may naturally void more out of fear. Your dog may learn to fear and avoid you or to anticipate punishment at social encounters.

Source: "Canine and Feline Behavior Problems"

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