Pets are not perfect, just like people! While most of us love having a feline friend or canine companion in our lives, sometimes living with a cantankerous cat or a digging dog can be frustrating. Understanding why our pets are not perfectly behaved can help us cope, change their behaviour and even improve our relationship.
Pets Behaving Badly?
Our pets tend to behave in ways that are instinctive to their species or that benefit them in the moment. Your dog barks to alert you to neighbourhood disturbances or digs to find a cool spot in the garden. Your cat meows to get your attention or pounces on you to satisfy their hunting drives.
The first step in solving a behaviour problem is to understand just why your pet is doing what it is doing. If it is an instinctive drive then you will need to satisfy your pet’s needs. If the behaviour is a result of their environment, then you will need to address their needs and teach them more appropriate behaviours.
Mental and physical exercise
Pets need exercise and not just pounding pavements on a lead. Dogs and cats can benefit from exercise at home too. Pets love to play with toys but these need to be rotated, to keep them interested. Food-releasing toys keep them occupied when alone. Cats love areas to retreat to or to climb on. All animals enjoy playtime with their owners and even a small amount of training can help keep their minds alert.
Solving behavioural issues
If your pet is physiologically healthy, then changing unwanted behaviour requires patience and lots of rewards. Teach your pet how you would like them to behave by rewarding the behaviours that you do like. Give your dog a treat when they are quiet, if barking is your problem. If your cat wakes you all night long, set up an automated feeder.
Looking for stimulating and innovative ways to satisfy your pets needs and rewarding the desired behaviour are the keys to having a well-behaved, happy pet.