National Pet Month
May is National Pet Month, which aims to:
Before you adopt a dog, here are some things to consider:
The Business of Pets Doing Their Business
HousetrainingIt takes time to housetrain a puppy and your most important tools are patience, patience, patience!
To be successful at housetraining your puppy, you need to invest quality time with him or her. You must supervise your puppy closely, use confinement to teach, and lots of encouragement.
A Place to GoYou are in charge of teaching your puppy where you want it to go to the bathroom. So choose a spot in the yard that's appropriate and easy for the puppy to get to. Then, every time puppy goes outdoors, go with him or her. Praise him or her when sniffing around. And when he or she finally DOES go, praise enthusiastically and warmly!
Time to GoMuch like human babies, puppies thrive on a schedule. He or she will learn how to control their urges if you schedule a potty visit:
Lead the WayUntil your puppy is housetrained, you must provide constant supervision to help him or her learn not to go to the bathroom indoors.
When you can't be there to watch your puppy, keeping him or her in a confined space can help. Choose a safe, comfortable place, and play with him or her there when you're home to help it associate good things with the space.
For overnight, you can use a crate or kennel. If you're going to be gone for a long time, use a small room or exercise pen. Your puppy should have enough space to eliminate if needed. Put paper where he or she goes to the bathroom; make sure it is a few feet away from where he or she rests or plays.
Keep Your CoolMistakes are inevitable. Remember, a puppy is a BABY dog; he or she is learning to control its bladder. And anything you do more than a few seconds after the mishap is useless.
IF you catch your puppy IN THE ACT, make a mild, startling distraction and take him or her immediately out to their "toilet" in the yard.
Punishment is the least effective way to housetrain. Never rub your puppy's nose in the pile or puddle; it won't do anything but confuse and frighten the puppy. It may make your puppy afraid to go to the bathroom in front of you, negating all your efforts.
Preventing RelapsesPuppies will continue to visit previously soiled areas for the same reason they'll use the "toilet" area in the yard—they smell the urine or fecal odor.
Love That Litter BoxStart with the right litter box and potty training your cat should be relatively easy. Most kittens automatically naturally prefer litter (except maybe plant soil; keep them out of reach) over other surfaces.
The right litter box is easy to clean, with low enough sides so that the kitten can climb in and out easily. A plastic litter pan, with unscented or clumping litter (some cats don't like scented litter) is a good place to start.
Cats like privacy, so keep the litter box in a quiet place, near where the kitten sleeps. If you have other cats, be sure each new kitten has a new box.
Kitten TrainingKeep an eye on your kitten to make sure it is using the litter box. Place him or her in it when the kitten wakes up, after meals, or if he or she suddenly stops playing and starts sniffing around. When he or she goes potty in the box, praise him or her extravagantly.
If you'll be at work or otherwise gone for a while, place the kitten in a safe area with the litter box. It should only take about two weeks for your kitten to learn to use it regularly.
The Usual SuspectsIf your kitten begins using the bathroom in any other spot than his or her litter box, try to identify the problem and correct it immediately. He or she probably doesn't like something you've done:
Preventing RelapsesKeep your kitten from revisiting a previously soiled area by covering it with some two-sided tape, a piece of plastic carpet runner, or a spritz of perfume.
If odor is a problem, you can use a covered litter box. If your kitten balks, help him or her adjust by putting a very large cardboard box over the litter pan. Use progressively smaller sized boxes until it's about the size of a covered box; then switch to the covered one.
Remember, punishment is the least effective way to train your kitty. Don't rub their nose in anything or swat them. Keep an eye on your kitten, keep the litter pan clean, and use positive reinforcement with treats or special toys.
Keep Spraying at BayThis form of territorial marking usually stops after neutering, but it can persist. If it continues, talk to your vet.
Additional Dog Training
Help your dog learn to behave properly in different situations by spending time training together. You will become the pack leader and it can help you and your new friend bond.
Speak.Different tones of voice mean different things to your puppy. Use them appropriately and you're on your way to some meaningful communication.
Eye contact is important; a good, long stare after a scold lets her know you mean business. A loving look into his eyes will be returned during more relaxed times.
Getting SocialA friendly, well-adjusted dog starts by exposing your puppy to the sights and sounds of the outside world as soon as your vet says it's ok. Between 8 and 11 weeks is probably too young; phobias can develop at this age. Don’t stress out your little pup with large crowds or very loud noises.
More About Cats
To keep your kitten's interest, make training sessions a game. Cats love games, and positive reinforcement with a treat or special toy goes far.
Cats in the movies and on TV often are clicker trained, in conjunction with tiny treats. The clicking sound signals the cat he's done something right and the treat reinforces the behavior. Eventually, the cat responds just to the clicker.
Sensitive TypesEveryone talks about being allergic to cats, but often we don't realize they have pretty delicate systems and they can be allergic to:
Talk to your veterinarian if your cat shows any signs of sensitivity like sneezing or scratching.
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