Thanks to AAHA for this helpful advice. These are a few examples of the wealth of information you can find on the AAHA website www.healthypet.com . For further information on any of these topics feel free to ask your veterinarian.
Dominance aggression and defensive behaviors should be dealt with as early as possible. Supervision and leashed activities along with verbal command training will help deter undesirable behavior. Avoid physical punishment with bad behavior and instead reward with food, toys and praise when your dog is being good. Get your dog used to being handled. This will be both beneficial to you and to your vet. Behavioral difficulties can be discussed with your vet and/or a behavior specialist.
Destructive Doggies/Home Alone:
Excessive energy and/or anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors. Offering a variety of toys and rotating them can help deter inappropriate chewing. Confining your dog to a small area or a crate can help them feel safe and secure and protect your home from damage. Crate training is an excellent way to avoid damaged homes and inappropriate bathroom behaviors. Practicing short term departures can help in avoiding separation anxiety. Sometimes adding a second pet can help give them an outlet for play and companionship, though it can also add double your trouble! Leaving the house for very short periods, a minute or less, can help your dog with anxiety triggers. Desensitizing them to the acts that may stress them; grabbing a purse, keys or your coat, can be very important. This can take time and training.
Puppies can often receive an inadequate amount of socialization when young, or have an unpleasant experience with people growing up. A number of things can cause your dog to be fearful. Gradually introducing new people and having them act as non-threatening as possible will help. Sitting or squatting, avoiding eye contact and keeping your hands to yourself while maintaining a soft tone of voice will help encourage the fearful dog to approach. Forceful introductions can have a negative impact on what you’re trying to accomplish. Introductions in a familiar setting with toys and treats can help make it a positive experience for your fearful pet.
Many situations can lead to excessive barking. It can be one of the most challenging behavioral issues to correct. Early socialization to different sights, sounds and people can help reduce anxieties as the dog grows. Correcting barking problems on command can be accomplished with lure-reward techniques, disruption, or head halter and leash training. Bark-activated products are the most practical to deter inappropriate barking. Citronella-spraying collars are one of the most effective as they release a strongly scented puff of air that is non-harmful to interrupt your dog’s barking.
It’s normal for puppies to use their mouths during play and social interactions. It can be difficult to not encourage mouthy behavior because any attention can reinforce it. Initiating play sessions and channeling that crazy puppy energy can help deter biting you to biting toys instead. Give your puppy frequent opportunities to play with other puppies. The more energy he uses for play, the less he will use for inappropriate behavior. Take control of the situation early. Puppy socialization is important in teaching your puppy how to act with others. As with many other behaviors using commands can help take control of your dog while physical punishment should be avoided.
Most cats can be trained to use the litter box and if possible you should obtain a kitten that has already been trained. If they have previously used litter, try to use the same type. Place the litter box in a relatively quiet, private area away from food and water. There should be at least one litter box per cat in the household. Daily cleaning will also help encourage your cat to use the box. If mistakes occur thoroughly clean the area with an odor neutralizer so the cat doesn’t make a habit of going in that spot. Spraying is usually solved by neutering. If this does not fix the problem consult your veterinarian for further advice. If your cat is continually having accidents outside the box, seems uncomfortable when urinating, or showing any other unusual litter box behavior please bring them in to your vet as soon as possible as they may have an infection or blockage.
Most cats and especially young kittens have a strong desire to play and explore. Providing a variety of toys and perches can help deter inappropriate play. Providing a scratching post is essential for cats, as it’s a normal behavior for marking territory and stretching. Keeping your cats nails trimmed can be very helpful and should be something you desensitize them to early on. To prevent destructive behaviors a deterrent such as a water sprayer or loud noise can help interrupt the act. Remember that physical punishment can lead to your cat fearing you or even rougher play.
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