10 Steps to a Stress Less Pet
Jill Goldman, Ph.D., CAAB
1. Treat your pet as an individual. No two pets are the same, even if they come from the same parents. Your pet’s a living creature with unique skills and limitations.
2. Keep your expectations realistic. Not everyone is an Albert Einstein or Mark Spitz. Expect more from yourself than you do from your pet.
3. Be patient, consistent, and clear when teaching your pet. Changing old habits and learning new skills take time and practice. Think how long it takes to lose those extra pounds.
4. Be prudent with punishment. Punishing your pet for unwanted behavior teaches them what you don’t want. Have you taught them what you do want? Living on eggshells is nerve wracking.
5. Give your pet regular physical exercise to suit their age and health. Supervised sustained aerobic activity allows your pet to release energy in a proactive positive fashion rather than one that is reactive, negative, or destructive.
6. Enrich your pet’s environment so they are not bored to tears or stressed out while you’re out and about. One of the easiest ways is to feed them their meals in puzzle toys. Give your pet something to do, or you may find their choice of activity unsuitable.
7. Understand what your pet is telling you. Moving away from something means no thank you. Forcing your pet to face their fears, may result in aggression.
8. Expose your pet to new situations gradually and make them enjoyable, not just tolerable. Not all of us are fearless social butterflies; some of us get defensive and aggressive when scared. Indulge your pet with special rewards for courage.
9. Designate a cozy quiet safe place your pet can call “their own” to be alone AND put up a Do Not Disturb sign. We all need a safe getaway to decompress and relax.
10. Prevention, early detection, and education are the best ways to pave a road to a harmonious relationship between you and your pet. Contact Dr. Jill for an accurate pet analysis and find out exactly what you and your pet need for a stress less life.