Sunday, January 9, 2011

6 Strategies to Deal with Pet Problems

Socialization and the creation of a proper living environment are key factors to avoiding problems. Try to imagine all of the elements of his life with humans that he will need to accept to be comfortable with us such as being bathed, walking on streets, vacuum cleaners, etc. Teach your dog that such things are not scary by slowly introducing him using treats, toys and praise.
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats: Over 1,000 Solutions to Your Pet's Problems - From Top Vets, Trainers, Breeders, and Other Animal Experts
Another key prevention is to create a means of communication through training. Once you’ve taught the dog that calm behavior is frequently rewarded and that you control access to all of his favorite things, you have made a big step towards solving any problems that may come your way in the future.
Keep the dog’s environment appropriate for him. Think about the amount of exercise he’s getting, whether his intellect is being challenged, or if he has enough opportunities to socialize with other dogs and people. Make
sure his diet is good and his health is well maintained. Let him feel the confidence that comes from working for a living and the security or having a strong leader. Ask him for a behavior before giving his access to good stuff like the couch or his dinner. 

Finding Solutions:
Many problems reported by dog owners are with behaviors that are instinctual to the dog such as barking, digging, pulling, jumping up, nipping, chewing etc. Others are things that we have accidentally trained into the dog such as barking for attention. It helps to try to understand what is the dog’s motivation for his behavior? For example, why won’t your dog come to you when he’s playing with other dogs even though he “knows” what “come” means? If your dog chooses not to come to you sometimes it is probably because coming to you is not more rewarding than what he is currently doing. To help change that, when you call him, be sure you have a good treat and often times let him continue playing. Begin your practice with short distances.
Below are some helpful steps to follow when trying to decide how to help your dog through any problem behavior:

1. Consider his environment and health. Is he getting enough exercise - both mental and physical, a good diet, enough sleep, etc? Could the misbehavior be due to a medical problem?

2. Prevent the misbehavior until you’ve had time to teach him what you want him to do.

3. Make sure that you are not accidentally rewarding the misbehavior. Hint: Any response could be interpreted by your dog as a reward! Ignore the misbehavior or give him a 5 minute time out in a safe but boring area.

4. Think of something that you could reward that would replace the misbehavior. For example, teach your dog to sit instead of jumping up to receive affection. Do your best to ask him for and reward the behavior you
want before your dog begins to misbehave. Make sure your reward is of more value to your dog than the misbehavior. Practice the replacement behavior and reward the correct response, ignoring mistakes. Begin with challenges that are easy for him and then gradually increase the difficulty.

5. If your dog’s misbehavior is caused by fear, try to change his dog’s mind about the “scary thing” by pairing it with something he loves. For example: If your dog has a problem with the mail carrier, teach him that the mail carrier’s visit is followed by a super treat. He will soon begin to look forward to the mail carriers visits. This technique works best if you also work to prevent him from getting so “worked up”.

6. Compromise and be patient!

Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

Ongoing socialization is extremely important to prevent behavior problems. Socialization is especially important before the age of 6 months, but should also throughout your dog’s lifetime. Gentle socialization plays a huge role in preventing aggression and fearful behavior. Lack of socialization can lead to hyperactive behavior, barking, shyness and aggression. The younger you begin socializing your dog, the better, but all dogs can be gradually brought into new and even initially fearful situations and learn to enjoy them. Socialization is a lifelong process. For example, if your dog does not see any dogs for months or years at a time, you would expect his behavior to change around them when he does finally see them again.
SOCIALIZING YOUR PUPPY DVD! Start your Dog on the Right Paw! Canine Fundamentals Training Video How to expose your dog to something new or something he is wary of:
• Make sure that you remain calm and up-beat and keep his leash loose, if he is wearing one.
• Expose him gradually to what he is fearful of, never forcing him. Allow him to retreat if he wants too.
• Reward him for being calm or for exploring the new situation.
Try to expose your dog regularly to all of the things and situations you would like him to be able to cope with
calmly in the future. Progress slowly enough so that it is easy for your dog to enjoy the sessions. It will seem
like a lot of time to spend at first, but it will pay off with a well-behaved dog! Below are some examples, but is
not an exhaustive list:
• Meeting new people of all types, including children, men, crowds, people wearing hats, disabled, etc.
• Meeting new dogs (due to disease risk, do not bring your pup to areas with lots of dogs until after 4 months
– unless it’s a well-run puppy kindergarten). Positive training classes are great for this.
• Exposure to other pets such as cats, horses, birds
• Teach him to enjoy his crate
• Riding in the car (be sure to restrain him using a secured crate or dog seatbelt for safety).
• Being held, touched all over and in different ways, being bathed and groomed.
• Visiting the veterinarian’s office, groomer, daycare, boarding kennel.
• Exposure to loud noises and strange objects (ex. umbrella opening).
• Exposure to traffic, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, joggers.
• Getting him used to being left alone for a few hours at a time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Training Your Pet Bird

Some birds can be trained to do tricks and even to talk. A well-trained bird repeats words, throws a ball into a cup, and bows its head when you clap. You can use books, Web sites, and magazines to find out how to train your bird. Remember, the most important rule is always to be gentle and patient with your bird.

Although birds are usually very healthy, sometimes they can get sick. For example, if a bird is sneezing and keeping its feathers ruffled, it may have a cold. If it is scratching itself, it may have mites. If your bird is acting different from the way it usually acts, talk to a veterinarian. Every year, usually in the summer, birds molt. This means that they shed their old feathers and grow new ones.
Parrot Training: A Guide to Taming and Gentling Your Avian Companion (Pets)If your bird is molting, you do not need to worry or take it to the vet. If you keep your pet bird clean, warm, and well fed; talk to it and play with it every day; and take it to the vet if it becomes sick, you will have a healthy happy pet for a very long time!

Loving Your Pet Bird

It is very important to meet your pet bird’s physical needs. It is just as important to let your bird know that you
love it and that it can trust you. Birds can become sick from stress. This usually happens when a bird is a new pet. Your bird must adjust to its new surroundings and get to know you.

Your bird needs quiet time when you first bring it home. Do not try to pet or handle your bird right away. Keep your bird in its cage. Don’t let it fly around the house for the first few weeks. Your bird needs to relax and get used to its new home.Speak gently and quietly to your bird. Do not make any loud, sudden noises that will frighten it.
Like their owners, birds have feelings. Most birds are very smart and have good
memories. If they are treated badly, they will remember it and start to behave badly.
Always be gentle and kind to your pet bird. Never hit it or yell at it. Hitting or yelling will scare your bird. It may even try to bite you. Some people think it’s cute to dress
their pet birds in doll clothes. This is not a good idea. It will confuse your bird and
may make it feel foolish.
Birds can also get lonely. In the wild, most birds live in flocks with many other birds. If you have a lot of time to give to your bird, it will be happy living alone in its cage. If you are gone most of the day, it may be a good idea to get more than one bird. But first make sure that your bird will get along well with another bird.

Keeping Your Pet Bird Warm

It is important to keep your bird warm. Most birds are from warm climates and don’t like cold. This is especially important when you first bring your bird home. For the first few days, try to keep the room where your bird is kept slightly warmer than usual. Make sure there are no cold drafts near the cage so that your bird will not get chilly.
It is also important that your bird gets sunlight. But never put it in hot, direct sunlight for a long time. Birds can become overheated easily. A good solution may be to get a special light, called a full-spectrum bird light. This light is good for your bird, but it is not dangerous.At night you should cover your bird’s cage with a sheet or a towel. Your bird should have ten to twelve hours of total quiet and darkness each day.

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