If you have adopted a dog that has come from an undesirable or unstable environment, it will be no surprise that he is fearful of you and most likely, his or her new surroundings. Usually the dog has not been properly socialized and lacks the proper introduction to different people, animals, places and things during his or her prime puppyhood or sometimes adult socialization period. A dog can also be fearful from an early emotional trauma, physical abuse or simply not getting enough social interaction.
Shyness and fear are problematic traits that can lead to aggression and biting so it is best to deal with the situation from the start. And, as loving pet owners, it is our responsibility to help puppies or dogs to become confident, stable dogs.
Below are some tips to help.
Make all learning experiences and situations a positive one
In all situations, it’s important to present a happy persona and tone of voice. Make it clear that even walking the dog, eating his food, and each encounter that is presented to your pup is fun and positive. Each dog has his own set of fears; therefore, make sure to treat each situation as a new one and each positive outcome needs to be rewarded with a loving gesture and/or treat.
Eventually, your dog will show signs of budding confidence. As your dog gains confidence, repeat the practice sessions in other rooms and then outside of the home, i.e. taking him for walks, with you on your daily errands, etc. Gradually expose your pup to new experiences and whenever he or she shows the slightest sign of relaxing or sociability, reward him with very tasty special treats. Carry them with you in a little baggie at all times and or course, lots of verbal praise.
How to deal with a dog who is fearful of people
If your dog is shy around a particular type of person, maybe a man for example, you should have a man prepare your dog's meals. If your dog is fearful of someone in the family, consider the possible reasons. Maybe that family members speaks in a loud voice, makes a lot of noise or sudden movements, or tends to invade the space of your dog. If this is the case, the particular family member should try to tone down his or her behavior with your encouragement.
If your pup’s fear relates to the size or gender or physical traits of a person, work daily to let that person be the one to feed, walk and eventually play with the dog. The objective is to have the dog realize that good things happen with this person, that he must depend on this person for interaction, and that he or she can be trusted and will not hurt him.
During the weeks that you are working on this counter-conditioning of your fearful dog, as hard as it is, try to limit the interaction your dog has with you. You can play with your pup and provide him with a secure feeling, but it is important that you allow the new person the daily interactions. You want this person to be the relied person so your dog realizes that he is dependent on him or her for good things such as food, treats, fun and exercise. Once this is established, you both can now be a part of your dog’s daily life.
Please be patient, and avoid pushing your dog too quickly. It takes time, but this approach nearly always works. The goal is to have your dog realize that other people can be trusted and to learn how to interact with all family members in a positive way and reduce his or her fear.
Your dog is fearful of other dogs
Start off by introducing your fearful dog to a smaller dog who you know is friendly and relatively calm. As your dog begins to get comfortable, gradually introduce him or her to dogs of larger sizes and more active behavior. Try to avoid interactions with rough and tough dogs, or you will have a setback. And you will have setbacks, but that’s OK. Just leave for the day and come back another time.
A good environment for socialization with other dogs, especially puppies, is a carefully supervised puppy or play group. Or if you have a neighborhood dog park where you already know the other dogs, this could be a good way to make introductions. Make sure that your dog and the other dog that are ‘meeting’ are both wearing a leash so you can control the situation if your dog becomes frightened.
While these are just the basics and there might be other situations which causes your dog to be fearful, the key factors to remember are to start slowly, be patient, and always be positive and loving. It could take a few weeks or even months depending on your dog and how fearful he or she is. But, with love, caring and practice, you can help your dog overcome his or her fears and be a happy well- adjusted dog.
With the summer heating up, you might want to transition your outdoor cat to become an indoor cat. Or maybe you found a stray cat that you would like to foster for a while or even make this cat a member of your family. There are many other reasons to bring a cat indoors as it can help reduce fleas or any other issues or ailments that can happen with an outdoor cat.
Transitioning an outdoor cat to become an indoor cat is not difficult but takes a little work at the beginning. An outdoor cat is used to having the vast outdoors as his or her territory so bringing a cat indoors is an initial adjustment. Below are some tips to help with the transition.
Set up a big crate or space that is designated for your outdoor cat.
For the cat who has never been litter box trained, it will be necessary to have your cat in a confined space if only for a little while. This is equally important if you have other indoor cats that might not get along with your outdoor cat. Make sure the area is large enough to have a litter box, resting space, food, water and toys. This should only be for a short time so your kitty can get used to what is hers and how to use the litter box.
After your cat has adjusted to using the litter box, your kitty should be moved to a small room, like a bathroom. After she gets the hang of that, you can increase her space yet again. If she has a lapse, return to the last space the cat kept clean. Don't forget to visit her often and release her for supervised affection during this initial confinement period. Also, once she has earned the free run of your home, make sure she isn't tempted to use your potted plants as a litter box. Cover soil with aluminum foil or marbles around the plant.
Have two liter boxes at the start
Litter box training is the biggest concern for most people. If the cat was ever litter box trained, she will likely fall right back into the habit. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Place one where you want the litter box to permanently be placed and then put another transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house. When your kitty finds that she can't get outside to do her business, he or she will use the litterbox by the door. After that habit is established, slowly move the transitional box closer to the permanent box. Once the litter boxes are side by side, you can remove one of them.
Try to enhance your kitty’s environment indoors
An outdoor cat is used to running around all day and seeing all the outdoor activity. To make the transition smooth, it is important to make sure your kitty has places to look outside and toys to play inside. Window perches allow your indoor cat to keep an eye outside while safely basking in the sun. Toys are a must as are interactive play toys to keep your cat active and interested.
Make sure to have some scratch posts handy
To protect your furniture from a cat who's used to scratching wherever she pleases, offer several kinds of scratching posts to determine her pleasure. Look for posts that are sturdy enough to climb. Cat tree furniture, which usually includes several resting platforms atop natural tree trunks or posts wrapped in sisal, is a kitty favorite. If you can place a tree near a sunny window or patio door, your kitty will feel like he is outdoors! You can even make your own cardboard scratch pads embedded with catnip are inexpensive and can be scattered throughout your home.
Make sure your home is secure from your kitty’s escape
Your kitty is used to staying outdoors so don’t be surprised if he or she tries to escape. Make sure screens fit snugly in windows and cannot be dislodged by a persistent cat. Dissuade door-dashing by drawing your cat away from doorways before entering and departing your home. Roll a toy or toss a treat across the room to focus kitty's attention away from the door.
With a little time and effort, your outdoor kitty will love his new indoor home.
Our poor dogs with their long hair and affinity for being outdoors can be miserable during the long, hot summer months. Our pups don’t have the ability to cool themselves by sweating as we humans do. They might sweat a little through their pads, but the main way a dog cools off is by panting. Unfortunately, panting is not enough when it is extremely hot and humid.
Below are some tips to help your dog stay cool during the hot summer months.
Make sure to take your dogs on shorter walks in early morning or evening
During the hot summer days, the best time to walk your dog is in the early morning or evening. If you can, wait until the sun goes down to give your dog some relief. And, dogs can feel the sun and can get sun burn. Therefore, you need to keep that in mind while outdoors with your dog. If you are heading to the dog park, just let your dogs’ play for a short time. They can’t tell us that they are overheated so it’s best to keep all sun exposure and outdoor time to a minimum.
Keep cool water readily available for your pup
To keep your dogs’ cool in the summer, it is essential that you keep fresh, cool water available to your dog at all times. In hot weather, this is even more crucial. Make sure you keep the water dish in a shady location and change the water frequently. If you want to keep fresh water available outdoors, you might want to look into a watering system that hooks up to a faucet. These systems are designed to provide water as needed and are usually triggered by motion or a specific action.
How about a misting fan?
Misting fans and aerosols that spew water into the air also lower the temperature and can keep your dog’s fur damp. When your dog gest misty, it also helps her or him cool off when the water evaporates. Misters can be placed on the porch, deck or near the puppy playpen and will keep your dog cool.
Make sure your dog has shelter from the sun
Your dog might enjoy a little sunbathing, but she ultimately needs a cool, shady spot to relax. The best thing you can do for your dog is to offer shelter. Shade from trees works, but an actual structure is better. Consider getting an insulated dog house, but make sure it is large and well-ventilated. Alternatively, you might put up an open-air tent or canopy. Of course, the most ideal shelter is in your home with a doggie door to allow indoor access.
Dogs love little kiddie pools
If your dog loves water, then a large tub or kiddie pool (molded plastic, not inflatable) might be a great addition to your yard. You can find tubs or pools at most home stores. Many dogs enjoy playing and lounging in the cool water. Just make sure you supervise your dog at all times. Also, keep the pool in a shady spot and change the water frequently.
Try a cooling dog bed
You might want to try a cooling dog bed where your dog can escape to during the day. While a dog bed is nice and soft, it might also be too warm. However, a cooling dog bed can offer the comfort and softness of a typical dog bed with the coolness your dog craves. Cooling dog beds often use a gel-like material or simply water to keep the bed feeling cool. These beds are especially great for senior dogs as an alternative for hard floors or even carpet. You can find a variety of cooling beds at: pet mountain: (http://www.petmountain.com/
Remember that dogs cool themselves primarily by panting, so cooler air is the best way to prevent and relieve overheating. No matter what you do to keep your dog cool, the best thing you can do is to keep a close eye on your pup. Be sure to contact your vet immediately if you notice signs of heat stroke or if you dog is behaving differently.
If you just brought a kitten into your home, your kitty will take a little time to adjust to the new surroundings. And, as we know, our kittens are a bundle of energy. They will get into places they shouldn’t, scratch where we don’t want them to and find their way around your home. This is all normal behavior. However, if you have a kitten that goes beyond the norm and is always getting into things or where he doesn’t belong, below are some tips to help.
Make sure that your kitten is spayed or neutered
First and foremost, make sure to have your kitten spayed or neutered to see if this helps with the devilish antics. However, even with the neutering, your kitten is probably testing your limits, climbing on forbidden surfaces like the counter or using your body as a cat tree. While it’s cute at first, you need to direct your kitten’s energy away from destructive antics.
Make rules and boundaries
To keep your kitten from being disobedient, you need to define to your kitty what behavior is unacceptable. When he or she jumps on a couch or table, clap your hands loudly, say "no" or spray him with water. When your kitty scratches the couch or your mattress, you should do the same. In fact, when he or she does anything you do not approve of, you need to tell him or her that this behavior is unacceptable.
Don’t ever spank or yell at a disobedient kitty. Kittens and even adult cats don't understand this kind of treatment and it will only cause resentment in your kitten and destroy the bond you've created.
Biting, Clawing and Climbing
If your kitten's naughty behavior includes biting, clawing, or climbing, say ‘ouch’ in a high-pitched voice and put her gently on the floor. After you do this, don't pay attention to her for a few minutes even if she gets back in your lap.
When kittens play, they squeak if the play has gone too far and hurts them. By using a high-pitched voice to express your dismay, you're telling your kitten, in her language, that she has gone too far. Your verbal “ouch” shows her in a gentle and non-abusive way that what she did was painful and that she's not going to get attention if she does things that hurt you.
Distract your kitten
Watch your kitten for signs that she's starting to get over-excited. Usually these signs include a swishing tail and getting ready to pounce. She may start eying an object she wishes to climb. When you see these signs, take out a string or fishing rod toy and get her attention. A few minutes of play will redirect her energy away from climbing your curtains or exploring your counter. In fact, any kind of interactive toy will be good to minimize her overly active behavior.
Play with your kitten before you go to sleep
If your kitten gets excited when you're sleeping or preparing for bed, give her an energetic play session about half an hour before you plan to go to bed. After the play session, give her a small helping of food. Playing will help her lose her excess energy and the food will help her sleep. Please note that if you do feed your kitten before bed, do not give her more food than she's currently eating. Give her the same amount of food but divide it into smaller portions throughout the day.
Make sure your kitty has a well-balanced food
Make sure that your kitten is on a healthy, well-balanced food. Sometimes the over- the- counter variety can cause hyperactivity in cats. You can also talk to your vet about herbal remedies. Sometimes they will recommend an herb that you can put in your kitten’s bed to relax him or her.
While kittens can be a lot of work, if you are patient and try to train your kitty before he gets older, it will help you develop some good habits in the next few years and beyond.
Our dogs are very good eaters and like all type of food. Our cats, however, are sometimes a bit finicky. And cats, for the most part are grazers and like to take their time eating. And, what’s a hungry dog to do? He will usually try to eat the cat’s food! If this is happening in your family of furry members, below are some tips to help keep your dog away from your cat’s food.
What is the difference between cat and dog food?
Both dogs and cats are carnivores; however, cats need more protein in their food for health reasons. This is why cat food often contains fish and extra animal fats which dogs also happen to love. Most cat food has a strong odor that will appeal to a cat; however, this powerful smell can be irresistible to dogs as well. A little cat food won’t harm your dog at all; it’s just not always fair to your kitty.
Try not to ‘free feed’ your cat
It will help to keep your dog away from your cat’s food is you don’t ‘free feed’ your kitty. Instead, feed your cat like clockwork, around the same time each day. Adhering to a schedule will also make your kitty more eager to eat. Then take your cat’s feeding dish away as soon as she has finished eating. Once she realizes that the kibble won’t be sitting out all day, she will be more anxious to eat it at that time. And, obviously, moist cat food is usually eaten faster as it is easier for your cat to eat.
Feed both your cat and dog at the same time
If you feed both pets at the same times every day and put away both bowls after you're done, your dog won’t be able to eat the cat food! Try to get your pets on a schedule so they don't seek food at other times. This will eliminate a lot of the annoyance of the problem. However, cats seldom eat much at any one time, preferring to eat a lot of small meals.
Place your cat’s food in a place where the dog can’t get to.
Put your cat’s food in a place that your dog can not get to, such as high up on a tall cat post, or even in a separate room of your house. You might consider an automatic cat food feeder if you can find a high enough location that’s well out of your dog’s reach. If your cat can jump high enough, you might want to put the food on a high shelf that your dog can’t reach.
It might be worth investing in a pet gate
Another way to keep your dog away from your cat’s food is to purchase a pet gate. This will keep your dog away from your cat’s feeding area (your cat can simply jump over it), reducing your need to watch over your pets. It could even be a gate that you open and close just during feeding time.
If your dog eats your cat’s food, go to the basic commands
If you catch your dog eating your cat's food, go over and use the basic command "bad." Another idea to use in conjunction would be to keep a spray bottle readily available. A good squirt or two should be sufficient enough to stop any dog in his or her tracks. Be sure to only use these methods immediately when your dog is stealing the food. Waiting too long will verbally humiliate your dog even more, as he has probably already forgotten the crime he has committed a bad act and will respond adversely.
It really is all about timing. If you can get your cat and dog’s eating schedule in sync each day, it should help stop your dog from eating your cat’s food.