Training Your Pet
Once your pet has settled into your home it is a good idea to think about training. Training your pet can help ensure that the behaviors that they exhibit are primarily desirable ones. Dogs, in particular, like to please their owners and doing so will help retain a lifelong bond between you.
Training your Dog
Whilst dogs have earned a reputation as ‘man’s best friend’ thanks to their loyal and affectionate nature, just like the human counterparts they can sometimes possess annoying habits or personality traits that make them difficult to live with.
Training your dog will be hugely beneficial to your dog learning to live harmoniously alongside his human family. It will strengthen the bond between you and ensure his safety when out and about. Many dogs also find training to be a fun activity.
What is the best method to train my dog?
There are many different schools of thought as to how best to train a dog. Some owners prefer strict training with punishments for non-compliance, whilst others prefer to praise positive behavior and ignore undesirable reactions. Studies have shown that as a general rule the latter method works best, but however, you decide to train your dog, in order to do so effectively you need to consistently control the consequences of your dogs’ behavior.
Dogs cannot relate events that are separated by time and so the consequences to behavior need to be immediate. You cannot praise your dog several minutes after returning to you when called as he will not understand why he is receiving it. The easiest way to train a dog is to reward the behaviors that you like and not reward those that you don’t.
If your dog likes the consequence you give them they will be more likely to repeat that behavior so they get the consequence again i.e. love, attention, and praise.
If they dislike the consequences then they will do the behavior less often.
It really is that simple, but being consistent is vital otherwise you will send mixed messages to your pet. For example, if you do not want your pet to jump up at you (which they do to get your attention) then ignore them until they calm down. Praise and make a fuss of them as soon as they have returned to calm behavior. They will then learn that this is the way that you prefer them to behave. It may take several days or weeks of doing this, but your dog will soon learn the correct behavior to exhibit.
What are Ticks?
Ticks are arachnids that belong to the same family as spiders and mites. They are parasitic and feed on the blood of host animals. They are visible to the naked eye, but the start of around the size of a pinhead before swelling with blood as they feast.
Animals living in the Southern States or near heavily wooded areas will have increased exposure to ticks which like to live in thick long grass, as it allows them to attach to host animals as they walk by. They are most active during the late spring and summer months and they are not fussy which breeds of animals they feed on. However, animals that spend a lot of time outdoors will be more susceptible to ticks.
Symptoms of Ticks
Animals with few ticks can present with little or no symptoms and it is often not until there is a larger infestation or infection from the bites that signs become apparent. If and when symptoms do materialize they can include itching, scratching and visible red or inflamed irritations on the skin.
Ticks can transmit a number of diseases including Babesia, Cytauxzoonosis, Lyme disease and Mycoplasma. Some animals can also have allergic reactions to tick bites which result in infections. Symptoms from these reactions or diseases can include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and pain and can last for several days or several weeks. If you are concerned that your pet has developed illness from a tick bite, consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Feeding Your Pet
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for a healthy and happy pet. Not only will it provide your pet with enough energy for his day to day activities, but it is also vital for proper brain function. An adequate diet is also particularly important for animals in the early stages of their development.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to feeding your pet is to feed them by ‘life-stage’. Different animals, and in particular cats and dogs, require different nutrition at different stages of their lives. For example, puppies around 12 weeks of age will require around 3 meals a day and it is not until they reach around 6 months of age that this amount should be reduced. That said, your animal may prefer smaller and more frequent meals. The key to feeding your pet properly is understanding what works best for them.
Methods of Feeding
A popular method of feeding is known as ‘free-feeding’. This is where a bowl of food is left out so that a pet can eat as much or as little and as frequently as they prefer. This works best for dry foods since they do not spoil as quickly as the wet variety. Some studies show that this method results in over-eating and subsequent pet obesity. However, it may be the best option for you if you cannot stick to a feeding schedule.
Scheduled portioned feeding requires a strict routine that you need to be able to guarantee to stick to. Your pet will know when meal times are and ensure that they are ready for them, with cats coming indoors specifically at these times. This method limits the amount that your pet eats either by portion size or by time as some pet owners prefer to give their animals a specific time frame in which they must eat. This method also works well if you have pets that require medication to be mixed with their food, or have an animal on a calorie-controlled diet.
If you are unsure which method is right for your pet, consult with your veterinarian who will be more than happy to provide advice.
General Feeding Advice
Do NOT offer home-cooked meals. These may not meet the complex nutritional needs of your pet. Instead, stick to especially formulated pet foods.