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You know, Pets are supposed to be a pleasure, not an inconvenience – it’s supposed to be this mutually beneficial situation where the animal is cared for, given a great life and a good home and the person involved gets companionship, lower stress, and a longer life. For many people, however, it seems like pets are nothing but stress: The animals misbehave, destroy things, go to the bathroom where they shouldn’t, and are always at the Vet’s racking up huge bills. While every pet-human relationship is different, cursory investigation into many problematic pet homes reveals one simple fact: A lot of common pet behaviour issues can be traced directly to attempts to stop pets from behaving like … pets.
It sounds simplistic, but pets are animals and they don’t have the capacity for the higher thoughts that humans possess. They have no sense of wrong and right – they only know instinct and consequences. So if they behave a certain way and receive a tasty treat, they’ll keep trying to repeat the behaviour in hopes of repeating the treat.
As a result, your pets do not understand punishment, either. When your dog goes to the bathroom on the rug and later you yell and chase them out into the garden, they have no idea that they misbehaved and that you are angry about it. They only know instinctual fear from someone they are supposed to trust. This is why punishments for animals do not work. If your pet is misbehaving in some way, the first step is to ask yourself if you are reacting in anger and punishing your pets for their actions – this can create a cycle of bad behaviour due to the psychological toll taken on the animal.
Something else to understand is that many common animals kept as pets – especially dogs, but also cats and other animals – are imitative. If your dog observes you digging in your garden, there is a good chance they will try their paw at it too, in imitation of you. So when you come home to find your dog has dug up all of your careful plantings, this may be the reason!
The simple fact of the matter is that you cannot control or change pet behaviour without consistent negative consequences. Negative consequences need to be non-harmful (a water bottle to spray on the offender is popular and harmless) and, most importantly, they have to be unleashed in the precise moment. Even a few seconds separating a behaviour and the negative consequences can confuse the issue for your pet, leaving them stressed and afraid with no idea why. This in turn leads to more negative behaviour in the aforementioned cycle.
The first step when contemplating taking a pet into your home is to remind yourself that you cannot guarantee their behaviour, and you shouldn’t try. If you value your furniture, floors, and other possessions more than their happiness and health, you should reconsider taking in a pet. It wouldn’t be fair to you – or them.
If you do feel ready to take on a puppy then you can check out our labradoodle puppies available. And if you need more advice or tips, here at Tora’s we are always happy to help