From none to one and from one to more, those are the biggest steps we take as a pet owner. Whether it’s buying a puppy or kitten from a pet shop, adopting from a charity, welfare group or clinic, or even acquiring strays from the streets, we are basically doing the same thing, we are bringing a new member to the family.
To us, we are bringing a family member home and taking care of it, but from the pets’ point of view, we are changing everything they have ever known, and altering everything they know about things from this point on. Let’s start with the easier one- when we acquire a puppy or a kitten, it is actually easier to introduce them to our environment. The younger they are, the easier they are to be trained and bonded with. For both dogs and cats, I recommend people to get a cradle, some kind of soft bedding or semi-enveloped place for them to rest and sleep, and a different place should be set up for them to eat and be toilet trained. This gives us as an owner an advantage to train them when a routine is established.
Pets need to feel safe in the cradle or the place you established as their “bed”. And for the very same reason, if you decide to punish or isolate them, they need to be somewhere other than their “bed”. For one, they should not associate unpleasantness with their rest area, and for two, you maybe sending mixed signals to them, after all, they do not understand what we are telling them, they do not know what WE regard as desirable and undesirable behaviour. YOU have to rely on positive and negative reinforcements to let them know how they should behave.
SOUNDS EASY?! Give you an example: many dogs bark when there is a thunder storm, what do most people do? They attend to their dogs, and give them a cuddle or hug. What that does is rewarding the unwanted barking. Another example: many owners have their dog in confine areas like a cage or a room, no matter it is for resting after surgery or isolation from other pets. Many owners tell me that their dog barks all day without stopping and they give up on caging and let the dog out, AGAIN, you are positively rewarding your pet for behaviour you do not desire. Although this may cause your neighbours to complain, you should design a system, so that you train your pets without affecting others, which comes back to a simple solution, START EARLY, or go the hard way and design a system for you to give them feedback.
We as owners not only need to provide food, bed and proper care for our pets but also bond with them and keep them socialized. We should keep our pets happy, and ourselves happy.
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