When Do You Discipline A Cat?

Although a concerned cat caregiver may find occasions when discipline is necessary for a behavioral problem, more often than not, that behavior is the cat’s way of letting its human know that there is a problem with something in the household. Cats are basically pretty well-behaved critters, and rarely “act out” unless there is a problem. For example, a cat will not urinate on your bed because he is “mad” at you, nor scratch the arms of your favorite chair because he is “stubborn.”

Effective correction of a true behavioral problem is a three-fold process:

  1. Determine first, if it is really a behavioral problem
  2. If not, find and correct the real causes of the undesirable behavior
  3. In the rare cases of a true behavioral problem, find and use a correct means of discipline or retraining.

We’ll explore each of those steps more fully with a few common undesirable behaviors. Rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel” I’ll directs you to behavior-specific articles, when indicated.

Litter Box Avoidance
The classic example is a cat who suddenly starts urinating outside the litter box. You’ll need to eliminate the possible causes, starting with the most urgent, which could be a urinary tract infection or blockage.

What NOT to Do
Never, ever rub a cat’s nose in his pee or feces. He has no idea why he is being punished for performing a natural body function, and it teaches him nothing, except perhaps that you are a big bully with nasty manners. For the same reason “spanking” is an ineffective discipline for the above or any other violation.

Inappropriate Scratching
Cats are born to scratch. It provides a means of “sharpening their claws,” which is really the process of removing the grown-out sheath that covers them, and it offers the kind of stretching, pulling exercise that helps build strong muscles, tendons, and joints. (Think isotonic excercise.) A cat who scratches furniture needs a scratching post. If he already has one, he needs another one or two, of different sizes, textures (carpet, wood, or sisal) and configurations (tall, flat, or inclined).

What NOT to Do
Obviously, do not declaw because of property damage. There are many other humane alternatives.

Fighting or Bullying Other Cats
Cats sharing a household will often “play fight.” It’s a way of honing their skills, and is usually harmless fun. However, if one participant is clearly “out of his league,” real damage is being done, or one cat seems to be stalking and bullying another, you need to hone your own investigative skills. It could be something as simple as a strange cat lurking outside a window.

What to Do
First, clap your hands and shout “No!” to get their attention. Next, if possible, remove the cat on the short end of the fight to another location. If the bully seems intent on bloodletting, try throwing a large stuffed toy near him to help him redirect his aggression.

What NOT to Do
Never try to physically separate two cats bent on doing damage to one another. You can be seriously scratched or bitten.

Painful Scratching and Biting (of Humans)
This form of behavior is most often caused because your cat is not in the mood for a belly rub. Learning to read his body signals will go a long way to prevent future “attacks” by your cat.

What NOT to Do
Don’t jerk your hand away or you may be seriously scratched. Never shake a cat, hit or spank him. Shaking can cause internal injuries much like “shaken baby syndrome,” and as one forum member said, “All the cat knows is the human they love hit him, and he doesn’t know why!”

Jumping on Counters (Tables, etc.)
Training a cat to stay off forbidden areas is possible, but will take some patience and creativity on your part. Here are some Countering Counter-Surfing ideas.

What NOT to Do
Never throw a cat off a counter; you could inflict serious injury to him. If he is in immediate danger (close to a gas stove), approach him without alarming him, then pick up up and gently place him on the floor.

Almost all other behavioral problems can be corrected by the three methods discussed at the beginning of this article.

Potty Training Puppies–Essential Success Tips

Who else wants to know the secret to house training your puppy? The secret is that there really is no big secret. Here is how it works: You need patience, you must be persistent, and you must be firm but gentle. House training your puppy properly will set the stage for an unbreakable, loving bond with your puppy.

It may very well be that the idea of house training your puppy makes you shudder and cringe at the thought of yourself sopping up rivers of pee and worse. For many, the mere utterance of the word, “potty training” sends them running for high ground. You don’t have to be among their number if you understand the key elements of housebreaking your puppy.

How long does it take to before you have a potty discipline puppy? Experts say–and my own experience confirms this–that you should see consistent results in two to three weeks. However, professionals also warn that it may take two to three months without the dog eliminating before the job is truly accomplished.

If there is a secret to housebreaking your puppy, if there is one, single fundamental that you must keep in mind, it is this: routine. Dogs are creatures of habit, and a predictable routine helps make your dog feel secure. For that reason, you want to make your training the same and follow an exact, unvarying regimen.

The key basics to house training your puppy include the following: set a routine and do not change it; take your puppy outside to go to the bathroom once every one or two hours; establish a schedule for feeding and do not change it; accompany your puppy outside ten to fifteen minutes after feeding; praise your puppy when it eliminates outside; accidents are bound to happen inside–never show anger when this occurs; and last, thoroughly clean the areas inside where the puppy has made a mess.

These steps alone are key to new puppy training. If you adhere to the house training tips set forth above in a firm and loving manner, you will not only successfully potty train your puppy, you will be well on the way to sound relationship with your pet.

House training your puppy for health and happiness.. How to get the most out of puppy training techniques–start today!

What To Do When Your Dog Begs For Table Scraps

Like most people, dogs love food. They’re willing to sacrifice their dignity in order to obtain it. If food is not given freely, but instead eaten in front of them, they will beg. Some will do so relentlessly.

A begging dog can be particularly frustrating for his owner. He’ll sit and stare longingly at his owner’s plate, hoping to receive a tasty morsel, regardless of size. Unfortunately, many people acquiesce under the pressure, and give their pets table scraps just to send them away. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

Below, we’ll explain the side effects table scraps can have on your canine; you’ll learn the reasons you should avoid providing them. We’ll also describe a few methods you can use to discourage the behavior, so you and your family can eat in peace.

Reasons To Avoid Feeding Your Pet Table Scraps

Commercial brands of dog food are specially formulated with the nutrients your pet needs to stay healthy. The vitamins and minerals contained in these brands are necessary for whatever stage of development your canine is in. Table scraps rarely provide the same level of nutrition. Instead, they usually deliver excess calories, which are likely to cause weight problems for your pet. And that leads to avoidable health issues.

Another reason to avoid giving your dog table scraps is because doing so can lead to digestive problems. Even though your pet will eat anything placed in front of him, his body may be unable to tolerate some types of food.

Also, given a steady diet of people food, your canine may eventually become fussy with his own meals. He’ll essentially acquire a taste for the foods you feed your family. And that’s when his begging will begin to take on a new level of urgency.

Preventing Access To Your Table

This method removes your pet’s opportunity to beg. You can use a couple of different approaches depending on whether you would like your canine to remain in the room in which you’re eating, or to stay out.

If you’d like his company in the room, place a lead and collar on him, and secure him to a nearby chair or other piece of furniture. He should be kept far enough away from the table to minimize the temptation to beg. Consider providing a chew toy to give him something to do while you and your family eat.

You can also bar him from the room, which can be done easily with a pet gate. Confine your dog to a room elsewhere in your home, so he’s unable to watch you eat through the gate. This will prevent him from whining to gain your attention.

Sending Him Elsewhere

This method requires more time and patience since there is training involved. The goal is to give your dog something to do elsewhere in your home without confining him to that particular space. You’ll need to train him to stay in his space while you and your family enjoy meals.

At first, your dog will be tempted to abandon his designated spot, and come looking for table scraps. Over time, however, you can teach him to remain there, thereby preventing him from begging.

This method has the added benefit of being helpful in other circumstances. For example, suppose you’re entertaining guests, and would like to prevent your canine from bothering them. Simply instruct him to go to his designated space while your guests are visiting. As long as he has a few toys to occupy his attention, he’ll be fine.

When your dog begs, he does so because he has an expectation his begging will produce results. This is the reason owners who have given in to their canines in the past find it difficult to curb the behavior. But it’s never too late. Use the methods above to turn your begging pooch into a patient, pleasant companion.

Springer Spaniel: Bundle Of Joy

If you are in search of a dog to join your family as a member, then you will find that there are many different dog breeds available to choose from. This being the case, it is very difficult to find out the right type of dog that would suit your lifestyle, and the best thing that can be done is to go through various avenues that are open to you and find the right dog for yourself. But what happens if the dog you want to adopt is a cute and adorable Springer Spaniel puppy that you were mesmerized by the other day?

It’s simple really. If you haven’t already bonded with the Springer Spaniel puppy, then you will first want to do a few background checks. And if you don’t know the breeder very well (where you saw the Springer Spaniel puppy from to begin with), or you saw the puppy in a pet store, then you will most definitely want to do a little searching as to the validity and the reputation of the breeder or the pet store.

First of all make sure that you are not getting a puppy from a puppy mill and move forward from there. Once all this is clear and decided you can some more searching and try to get more information about how to deal with a Springer Spaniel puppy.

Keeping up with this energetic and playful puppy is not anyone’s ball, and in case you do not have the time or inclination to deal with a puppy that is sometimes willful, but mostly very playful then it is better for you that you keep your options open and look around for other dog breeds that you are interested in.

Another thing that you should know is that these dogs shed constantly, although not everything at once. It would be required by you that you groom their silky coats and brush them at least once daily. They are not suited to those people with dog hair allergies as they are constant shedders.

If you happen to get a Spaniel puppy you would know that they are very responsive and intelligent in nature. They are also very willing to learn new things and are easily trainable. They are basically good natured and are hence considered to be good around children.

However it is advised that if you plan on leaving your Springer Spaniel alone for a long time, you should take extra precautions, or try to leave it alone only for small durations of time. These dogs can be quite willful and you do not want to come back home and see your house trashed by your lonely Springer Puppy.

However all these things should not act as a deterrent and put you off from getting a Springer Spaniel puppy for yourself, as these are very cute and adorable dogs and are very loyal to their owners and have several other good characteristics. A Springer Spaniel is an asset to its owners.

Key Tips To Teaching Your Puppy To Come

One essential key to teaching your dog to come, or doing any basic puppy training routine, is to allow the puppy no alternative but to obey the command. Non-compliance can never be an option. What this means for you is that you must set your dog up for success and when doing any kind of dog training, give it the opportunities it needs to succeed. A common error when teaching “come” or any other command is to use it when you do not really want the dog to perform the action. In the case of “come,” you want to use the word only when you really want to dog to cease any other action and come to you. This also means that you have to learn how to monitor yourself a bit when your puppy is within hearing range.

I’d like to recount one example of how my own dogs picked up a phrase and ran with it and what the consequences were. The phrase in question is, “Let’s go.” My dogs like to ride in the back of my car, and I like to take them out with me. I rather carelessly started saying “Let’s go” before putting them into the car with the result that every time they heard me utter, “Let’s go,” they would leap up and race each other to the door in expectation of a ride. Fortunately, this was not a bit problem–more humorous than anything else–and I was able teach them out of that habit.

With particular respect to the “come” command, it is important to not give your dog the choice of not coming. Thus, a very basic way of starting out is to always have your dog on a leash. I recommend a leash of at least 3 or 4 feet. Attach the leash to the dog’s collar and position him (or her) at one end and you at the other. I also advise that you do not use a choke or pinch collar for this. Say the command, “come” in a firm, civil voice and then very gently tug the leash so as to encourage the dog to approach you. It is important to use only the minimum force necessary. After the dog comes to you, give it lots of praise and a small, tasty treat.

Next, create only positive associations with the word “come.” When you tell your dog to “come,” you want it to want to come. Ideally, this should be something it looks forward to doing for you. For that reason, try to avoid saying, “come,” when the consequence might be something unpleasant, such as grooming or giving the dog a bath. For some reason, my dogs have come to look upon bathing as punishment so I have to be careful with the choice of words I use. However, these days, when they see the shampoo, they put their tales between their legs voluntarily come over to be hosed off and cleaned.

In situations where you discover your dog behaving badly, your first impulse may be to say “come” in a somewhat angry voice to get it to stop misbehaving. If possible, take positive, corrective action, but do not associate “come” with the correction. It is difficult to always remember exactly what to do in stressful situations, but as much as possible, create in your puppy’s mind only positive associations with your command words.

Another effective tip is to always take advantage of times when the puppy happens to be moving toward you. You can leverage this to your training advantage by saying, “come” and then letting the puppy do what it is doing naturally. And of course you give it lots praise. A trick that can work with a young puppy (6 to 8 weeks) is to put it on a leash with plenty of slack. Toll a toy a small distance away and let the puppy run to get it. When the puppy has the toy, tell it to “come” and then gently tug it in your direction, and reward it with generous praise and occasionally with a treat. This is almost as easy as it sounds, and your dog will love learning how to please you!

Learn exactly what you need to know about training your puppy to come! Find out how to make the most of key puppy training techniques right now!