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 ARTICLES > TTouch > BEHAVIOUR: Things You Do That Annoy Your Pet
  TTouch  Article:
Article By: Dr Becker        Publish Date: 2011-07-13

When it comes to living and interacting with our pets, irritation is a two-way street. But most pet owners tend to believe it‘s only their precious pup or kitty that has annoying habits.

Just in case you think your dog or cat loves every little thing you do, think again!

Some of the things pet parents do can cause kitty hiss-y fits or make a dog howling mad.

Dr. Becker’s Comments:

Observing the behavior of your dog or cat can give you valuable clues as to what you might be doing inadvertently to drive your furry friend right up the wall.

Things You Might Be Doing That Really Annoy Your Cat

Lack of proper attention to the powder room. Cats have individual preferences when it comes to the type of litter they like, and also the size and location of the litter box. They tend to be very annoyed by a dirty box, or when there are not enough boxes for the number of kitties using them.

Take some time to discover what your own kitty’s toileting preferences are, and provide the right litter, in the right size litter box, located in an area of your home that provides some security and privacy.

Sleeping in or arriving home at all hours. Remember: your kitty enjoys an established routine. If something in her environment changes – like mealtime – she’ll feel a loss of control, which is quite stressful for her. Your cat doesn’t understand your urge to get a little extra shuteye now and then, which is why she creates such a commotion when breakfast isn’t served at the appointed time.

Some folks owned by kitties have figured out how to work around this problem. They use an automatic feeder with a bit of kibble or a dry treat in it, set to dispense a pre-breakfast or pre-dinner snack. This can potentially accomplish two things – 1) keep Fluffy quiet a little longer in the morning, and 2) reduce pre-meal vomiting in cats prone to the behavior.

Growing the family unit. Kitties don’t appreciate changes in their environment, and one of the most stressful disruptions for them is the addition of a new four-legged family member.

A new dog can be both frightening and annoying, and a new kitty even more so. Suddenly Garfield is sharing meals, toys, his favorite napping spot and his litter box with a total stranger. He’s even expected to share you, his very own human. When introducing a new pet into the family, manage everyone’s stress by preparing in advance for the new arrival.

How You Might Be Irritating Your Dog

Allowing housebreaking failures. Most dogs prefer to do their business outdoors, and most dogs want to succeed at being potty trained. Housebreaking success can only be achieved if you are consistently doing your job as teacher.

Give your pup every opportunity to succeed. Offer regular trips outside at logical times, crate him when you can’t supervise him, and reward good behavior. Resist the urge to punish your dog for accidents. Anger is not helpful, nor is yelling, spanking or rubbing his nose in his mistake.

Considering her an outside dog. It’s true dogs love the outdoors, but your pup is a pack animal designed by nature to spend most of her time with her family, wherever her family spends most of its time. It is extremely hard on a dog made to live apart from her humans, only catching glimpses of those she loves through the window.

Dogs confined to the backyard, garage or an outdoor dog run quickly become lonely and bored, which can lead to destructive and aggressive behavior. It’s really no life for a canine, so if you’re not planning to treat your dog like a member of the family, it’s better to acquire a pet you’re comfortable having indoors.

Ignoring his attempts to communicate. Your dog barks to send messages. He may be sounding an alarm, showing excitement, expressing boredom, or communicating for some other reason. When you ignore or misinterpret his barks, it confuses and frustrates your pup.

Learning what your dog’s barks mean and how to respond appropriately can make the bond you share even stronger.

As your pet’s guardian, it’s your responsibility to learn how to live in harmony with your four-legged companion. Observing your pet’s behavior and learning what it all means is a great way to smooth out the rough edges in your relationship.

Chances are, the less often you exasperate your dog or cat, the less often you’ll find yourself annoyed by their behavior!

HEALTH: Sleeps With Dogs! By Suzanne & Dan

By now, you‘ve probably heard the brouhaha about the reported dangers of sleeping with your pets. In their article, Drs. Bruno Chomel and Ben Sun from the University of California at Davis conclude that public health risks can be associated with this practice. The relatively modest conclusions from this article seem to have been blown out of proportion.

Just a few of the headlines on the web that reported on this article are:

―sleeping with your pooch bad for health

―national study says those who sleep with pets are sick more often

It‘s not surprising that‘s NOT what the research article says. The authors quote several incidents of people – primarily children and immune compromised individuals – contracting serious diseases as a result of close contact with pets, including sleeping with them.

The article also provides a review of eight different diseases that can be transmitted from pets to people. Interestingly, although the title of the article is ―Zoonoses in the Bedroom‖ many of the cases of disease transmission the authors cite occurred from being licked by pets, or kissing them, unrelated to whether they sleep with their owners or not.

Given that more than half of U.S. pet owners sleep with their pets, the evidence indicates that the frequency of occurrence of serious diseases or illnesses among healthy individuals resulting from the practice is small. In a number of examples reported in the Chomel and Sun paper, the pets were already known to be ill when they were allowed to sleep in their owners‘ beds.

Other examples involved people who were already ill or were at risk due to recent surgery or open wounds. And in fact the few correlations between ONLY sleeping on the bed and disease occurrence among U.S. pet owners reported in the article barely rose to statistical significance.

The anecdotal cases of out of the ordinary examples don‘t seem to be representative of the typical U.S. pet household where healthy people choose to share their bed with healthy, well cared for pets.

In interviews, a number of veterinarians have been quick to point out that the potential risk of pet ownership are far less than the benefits, at least for healthy individuals. And from the pet side of things, a 2003 study found that dogs that sleep in or near their owners‘ beds were more likely to stay in the home rather than surrendered to an animal shelter, than those that slept elsewhere or were not allowed to sleep in the house (Duxbury, M. et al, 2003, JAVMA 223 (1): 61-66). Woof woof!

Most telling, even Chomel and Sun do not make a ―blanket recommendation (we couldn‘t resist!) to ban pets from the bedroom. Instead the article concludes with ―pet owners should seek regular veterinary care for their pets. Denver veterinarian Dr. Apryl Steele and others advise pet owners to ―use common sense.

In our house, we’ll continue to give our Irish setter Coral kisses on her cute little nose, allow her to shower us with sloppy dog kisses in return, and she will continue to occupy her preferred place on our bed, as our dogs and cats before her have done.

Our personal preferences differ from those of Dr. Chomel, who although he currently doesn‘t have any pets, was quoted as saying "There are private places in the household, and I think our pets should not go beyond next to the bed," and that his cat ―…knew this was not the room for her. Wonder how she figured that out?

Members of our BehaviorEducationNetwork site will find a link to the complete Chomel and Sun article in BEN.

With permission from Suzanne Hetts & Dan ……. More interesting articles can be found at www.animalbehaviorassociates.com

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