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The Right Way To Raise Your New Pet!
Here are 8 tips to raise your new pet to set you both up for a successful lifetime of love!
Bringing home a new dog or cat is an extremely exciting time! Pet parents are always excited to welcome their new fur baby into their homes and are looking forward to the years of love ahead of them. While many people do expect an adjustment period of at least a few weeks while your new fur baby adjusts to his new life, they don’t quite realize how much work goes into raising a new puppy or kitten. That said, putting in the extra work to raise your new pet correctly will make a world of difference in the long run. Here are 8 steps you don’t want to skip the next time it’s time to raise a new fur baby.
Prepare for the adjustment period.
On average, it takes around 3 weeks for a new dog or cat to adjust to its new routine in your home. Depending on the pet’s age and history, it may take more or less time. As your pet adjusts and starts to show his true colors, remember to be patient and kind. It may be easiest to transition your new puppy or kitten into your home by preparing in advance. For example, you can puppy or kitten proof your home by creating barriers to rooms you don’t want your new pet to enter yet and putting away items you don’t want to be chewed. During this time, you will also want to make plans to ensure your pet feels safe when it’s time for bed, and supervise him closely with children until you are sure he can be trusted.
It’s never too early to start training.
There’s a common misconception with pet owners that animals have to be in the home a certain length of time or be a certain age before you can start training. This is not true! In fact, you should start training your new pet from day one! Immediately start teaching your new pet the rules of the house, basic obedience, and potty training. Signing pets up for basic obedience is a great way to train your new furry friend and provide mental stimulation. If you have a dog, you’ll want to start properly socializing him with trips to the dog park or doggie daycare to curb aggressive behaviors from forming later. If you’re not sure where to start, consult with a certified dog trainer or your veterinarian for tips and advice.
Set boundaries and create a routine.
Speaking of training, pets thrive off having a consistent routine to rely on. Therefore, it’s important to quickly start teaching your pet how he fits into your lifestyle and routine, and setting boundaries. When you decide on boundaries or rules you want to set for your new pet, make sure everyone in the household follows them in order to give your pet the structure and consistency he needs to thrive. Some boundaries you may want to set could include keeping certain rooms off limits, not allowing your pet to jump on guests, or teaching your fur baby not to run outside without your express permission.
Be your pet’s advocate.
We’ve already mentioned that having consistent rules for your pet to follow is important for creating structure and consistency. However, you may have to go above and beyond to advocate for your pet when you have house guests or meet strangers to avoid confusion. If a visitor sends your pet mixed signals that contradict your training, your furry friend may become confused and misbehave. Therefore, make sure anyone who encounters your pup will also follow your rules. This will help prevent confusion and training set backs.
Similarly, you know your pet best and you can keep him out of negative situations. For example, if you have a nervous pet you may want to ask guests to resist the urge to hug your dog or cat or avoid getting in his face. While people may simply just think your new fur baby is adorable, your pet may be frightened and will lash out in self defense. Depending on the person and the severity of the attack, you could be facing the stress and hassle of medical bills, lawsuits, and dealing with animal control. While we’re not saying every pet will attack in this situation, we do believe you should advocate for him in order to avoid situations you know will be precarious at best and dangerous at worst.
Have age appropriate rules.
It’s typically best to have strict rules for your pet at the beginning, which you can then relax as your new dog or cat learns their new routine and doesn’t make as many mistakes. However, make sure the rules you set reflect realistic expectations for what your pet can actually deliver. For example, a puppy may need more attention while potty training than a mature dog that is fully grown. Puppies can’t hold their bladders as long as adult dogs, and therefore shouldn’t be held to the same standard. This is simply one example of many. The key takeaway is your pet’s breed, age, and background should all be taken into account when setting appropriate household rules. Doing so will avoid unnecessary frustration.
Encourage PAW-sitive self esteem.
Just like people, pets can suffer from self consciousness and low self esteem. When raising your kitten or puppy, it’s important you interact with them in a way that increases their confidence and promotes good self esteem. When animals are learning something new, give them time to figure it out. For example, if you are teaching a puppy a new command, don’t yank on the leash and yell the command at him because he will get scared. Give him time to process and understand.
Similarly, mistakes will be made during training, and it’s important to respond patiently. Many pet owners get frustrated when a bathroom accident occurs during potty training. But unless you catch your pet in the act, it’s best to calmly clean it up without screaming or shoving the pet’s nose in it. With their short term memory, pets won’t understand unless caught red handed.
Balance bonding with obedience.
While training and setting boundaries are an important part of raising your new puppy and kitten, not all your interactions need to be about obedience or training. You also need to bond with your new pet. Take some time to cuddle and do fun things together, too! While you do need to establish yourself as a leader or master to create structure, don’t forget you brought home this pet to share a relationship filled with friendship, companionship, and love.
Provide space, playtime, and exercise.
Your new pet’s life can’t be all nagging, training, and instructing all the time. They’ll need time to just be a dog or be a cat, and need frequent chances to relax or unwind. As you get to know your pet, you’ll learn what that means to him or her. Some examples mean having a safe space where your dog or cat can relax or rest on their own, such as a den or cat tower. They may also love playing with toys to keep themselves busy in a fun way while you do your own work or run errands. Lastly, make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise, whether that means actively playing at home or going for walks. Ultimately, the ability to play and relax is important to keeping a pup happy, and frequent exercise is associated with feeling more positive and promoting good behavior.
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