Dog and Cat Behavioral Training Tips
Counseling and Treatment Options
When bringing in a new puppy or kitten or an adult or senior pet, the acclimation process can be fraught with frustration and growing pains. Maybe other pets need to get used to the new kid on the block, or maybe you need to better house train your adult pet. Cleaning up after your cat or dog, or trying to keep the peace between pets who are determining pack order is anything but fun. Sometimes older pets develop behavioral problems associated with aging brain dysfunction (cognitive dysfunction syndrome) which can be treated with medication to improve the quality of both you and your pet. We recognize how remedying negative behavior can be difficult because pet behavioral cues can be confusing. Therefore, we offer counseling and treatment options for a variety of issues to help owners in Decatur and surrounding areas better train their canine and feline friends.
How to Calm Separation Anxiety in Your Pet
If your pet grows anxious as your departure becomes imminent, engages in destructive behavior, or yowls loud enough for neighbors to hear while you’re away, they likely suffer from separation anxiety. Since desensitizing a pet who experiences separation anxiety can be lengthy, it’s best to take steps to remedy the issue right away. Things you can do to eliminate anxiety in your pet:
- If you’re beginning a desensitization process, it may be best to hire a sitter or board your pet.
- Crate-training and anti-anxiety medication may help in certain instances.
- As your departure approaches, refrain from giving your pet attention when they act needy.
- Engage in departure behavior, like gathering keys or brushing teeth, when you’re not actually leaving.
- Distract your pet with special toys and treats when you leave your home.
How to Ease Noise Phobias in Your Pet
The Fourth of July is notorious for causing missing pets and area animal shelters might say July 5th is their busiest day of the year. The reason is clear; pretty fireworks and the accompanying noise may be entertaining to humans, but those loud booms can frighten even the most stoic watchdog. Thunder and lightning storms are very similar to fireworks and can elicit the same type of panic. It’s important to address phobias to keep your pet safe and please remember to have them microchipped. Try feeding your pet a few hours before a loud event and keep the following in mind when dealing with fearful behavior:
- Sedatives or anti-anxiety medication may help when it’s taken before an event.
- Ignore anxious behavior. Attention rewards and punishment confirms fearfulness.
- Use commands and reward-training to distract them during a storm.
- If possible, invite another less-fearful pet over during an event.
- Use heavy curtains or blankets to block out flashing lights.
- Distract your pet with their favorite toys or treats.
Curtailing House-Soiling in Your Cat or Dog
Perhaps you need to house-train a new puppy or kitten, or a pet’s house-training fell short at some point. In the former case, persistence and patience may be all you need, but the latter may take investigative work. If your cat or dog is house-soiling, medical problems, natural-instinct, or separation anxiety could be the culprit. Some points to keep in mind when you’re trying to curtail house-soiling:
- If you suspect your pet is not fully house-trained, take steps to fully train them with constant supervision.
- Gratuitously reward your pet when they relieve themselves correctly.
- Never leave your dog alone in areas where they previously house-soiled.
- Schedule a wellness visit with us to rule out contributing medical issues.
- If separation anxiety is to blame, corrective measures including training and anxiety medication may be needed.
- Pets never defecate out of spite. Cats who relieve themselves on inappropriate places often have anxiety and want to be closer to their owners.
Please schedule a visit with us at Fairview Hospital for the Animals, so we can further discuss behavioral training tips and treatment options. Sometimes the source of destructive behavior, house-soiling and general separation anxiety can stem from multiple causes, like lack of stimulation to over-attachment to owners. To create a better environment for both you and your pet, we’re happy to help at Fairview Hospital for Animals.