Any pet owner can tell you that, inevitable, problems will arise at some point in the life of a cat or dog. Whether it’s as mundane as clawing the furniture or as serious as worms or infections, there are several easily recognizable and easily treatable conditions that you are likely to encounter as a pet owner. This guide can help you learn to handle whatever your cat or dog may throw your way.
Common Behavior Problems for Dogs
Training a dog is an involved, but necessary, process. Without the proper training, your dog will invariably experience several of these behavior problems. Aside from the obvious solution of professional training for dogs, there are some easily accessible methods of rectifying behavioral issues in your pet.
Going in the House
Potty training is an important issue amongst pets. If your dog wets the house, consider purchasing padded mats that are scented to trigger dogs to use them. This way, they will know where the appropriate areas for urinating are. Often, dogs will urinate because of behavior problems such as anxiety, attention-seeking, or territorial marking, all of which may need to be modified by professionals.
Chewing Furniture or Important Items
Chewing is a natural action, but can become problematic when your dog chews on household furniture. Providing plenty of chew toys for your dog and keeping personal items away from him may help stop the inappropriate chewing. You may also wish to keep your dog crated while you are not home.
Excessive barking can be controlled by plenty of exercise. This helps avoid pent-up energy, which causes excitement. Avoid leaving your dog alone or outside for long periods of time. Do not discipline your dog by yelling, or encourage it by petting, hugging, or feeding it during an outburst.
Begging is unfortunately often encouraged unknowingly by many dog owners, which will lead to obesity and digestive issues. If your dog begs for table scraps, do not encourage him. Before you sit down to eat, tell your dog to stay, and, if necessary, confine her to another room. Only treat her to food after you and your family are done eating so she will know that she cannot beg for food while you are at the table.
Dogs often jump to seek attention, so the best solution to this problem is ignoring your dog completely. Do not make eye contact, speak, or touch your dog when he jumps. When he finally relaxes, calmly reward him until he gets the message.
Other Behavioral Issues
Some behavior problems, such as biting, aggression, and growling will require the help of a professional vet. It may stem from a health problem or past violent or abusive history, so a vet may need to engage in serious behavior altering training in order to rid your dog of this habit.
Common Behavior Problems for Cats
Going in the House
House soiling is the most common behavior problem in cats. This includes urination, spraying, or defecation outside the litter box. Your cat may have an aversion to its litter box, so consider cleaning it to rid any unpleasant odors, changing the brand or scent of the litter, moving it to a more pleasant area, or buying a litter box with lower sides.
For unwanted scratching, provide a specified scratching post for your cat. Issue a firm “No!” to a cat when he is scratching inappropriate items, and reward a cat for using the approved material. Pepper or specialty sprays can be administered on areas that you want your cat to avoid. Cats can be fairly easily trained with a light hit, a firm command, or a spray of water.
Escaping the House
House cats will often try to escape. The best way to prevent escape attempts is to never let the cat succeed. After repeated failed attempts, the cat will stop trying to escape. Block the door whenever entering or exiting the house or use a spray bottle to punish cats who try to escape.
Waking Early in the AM
Cats are notorious for waking up early. Sometimes, this may mean they are hungry and in need of food, while other times the cat may just want to play. In order to break your cat of this habit, refrain from feeding it, playing with it, or doing anything to reinforce its behaviors. As hard as it may be, if you ignore your cat, he will eventually get the message.