Etiquette is the way in which we conduct ourselves around others. There are rules for how to act at a dinner table, at a party, at school, and even when conversing with strangers. There are also rules for how to be a good dog owner. These focus not only on how we tend to our dog’s needs, but how we present our dog to the rest of the world. Being a dog owner means taking responsibility for our pet’s actions and making sure that these actions do not disrespect or inconvenience others. Here are four basic dog etiquette rules that you should be familiar with.
Clean Up After Your Dog
As you well know, dogs cannot always be held accountable for when and where they relieve themselves. As a dog owner, you can train your pup to wait or to go outside, but eventually nature’s call will come around, and your dog will answer it. Essentially the rule goes: your dog’s mess is your own mess. When messes occur on your own property, not much harm has been done. However, when you and your dog are out and about, any messes that occur in public should be handled by you and you alone, especially when they occur on another’s property.
Imagine the fury of your neighbors as they accidentally step in a mess your dog made. Imagine how you would feel in a similar situation. This is why, as an owner, you should always have doggie bags on hand to clean up after your dog. Solid waste should always be handled and disposed of immediately.
Keep Your Dog Contained
The next rule to keep in mind is to respect that others you encounter on the street may not wish to interact with your dog. Not everyone can be expected to be a dog person, and having a dog jump up on you unexpectedly as you walk along the street can be very startling. To avoid encroaching on the space of your neighbors, keep your dog nearby on a leash and only let him interact with others if they express an explicit desire to do so.
Maintain the Peace
There comes a time in the evening when families arrive back at home and begin settling down. During this time, it expected that there be a relative peace and quiet in the neighborhood. As a dog owner, your responsibility in part is to maintain this peace by keeping your own pet quiet during the evening hours. Some breeds are more inclined to bark than others, but whether your dog is a Yorkie or a retriever, you should keep him as quiet as possible.
Finally, it is always important to respect what isn’t yours. While it may be obvious to you where your property line ends and your neighbor’s begins, your own dog will not be so astute. Therefore, you should find other means to ensure that your dog will respect the boundaries of his territory. Typically, a fence works fine, but it’s usually best to hire a pro to take care of installing one. Go online to find the best wood fence installers near you.
Dog owners should keep in mind that their dog is a reflection of themselves. If a dog leaves a mess on the sidewalk, barks wildly into the night, or chases after the neighbor’s cat, then the owner should bear just as much of the blame. As an owner, you must take the appropriate steps to ensure that you, your dog, and your neighborhood coexist in harmony.
Here’s another article from our friends at Healthcare for Pets, a blog dedicated to your pet’s health. It covers seven bad habits cats have and how to deal with them. It could be said that bad cats existsbecause they were bad kittens. But there are behaviors that can developed in the best of conditions.
Does your cat have some bad habits, such as destroying the furniture or meowing at all hours of the night? Have you tried the usual “cat deterrents” such as messy essential oils, sprinkling cayenne pepper or outright yelling at your cat to no avail? Don’t despair: a combination of accommodating your cat’s natural instincts and changing the environment can help with common cat behavior problems and restore peace in your household.
What Doesn’t Work: Punishment
Confrontations with your cat will never end well. Even when you win, the negative feelings generated can come back to bite you even if your cat doesn’t. The problem with punishment is that unless you get the timing exactly right (during the unwanted behavior), your cat will associate the punishment with you. This is almost impossible to get right, so most of the time, punishment is a lost cause. You may have some success with clapping your hands loudly the instant you catch them doing something wrong, but unless you manage to catch them 90% of the time, the association will still be weak.
1. Litter Box Issues
Has your cat suddenly started having litter box accidents — outside the litter box — after years of being tidy and fastidious? They could be experiencing pain while relieving themselves, and avoiding the litter box as a result. Cat logic: it hurts to pee here, so I’m going to pee somewhere else! Make sure what you’re dealing with is not bladders stones, crystals in the urine or a UTI. Your vet can handle these.
Perhaps your cat is letting you know that the litter box needs a cleaning, or if you have more than one cat sharing a box, maybe it’s time to think about individual boxes. Somebody could be feeling crowded and wanting some personal space.
Sometimes cats are drawn to mark certain objects with their scent by spraying: the bed, shoes, and laundry are common targets. Wash these items with an enzyme cleaner and remove your cat’s access to these items.
There are a few possible reasons for this behavior. She may be sharpening her claws, playing or working off some excess energy. Just buying the first scratching post you see at the store is unlikely to solve this problem.
Wondering how to stop cats from scratching? Start with spraying the scratched areas thoroughly with an enzyme cleaner to remove the scent that encourages your cat to keep scratching the area. Once dry, take steps to protect the area from your cat. A spray of cat deterrent or a little bit of sticky paper is unlikely to do the trick. A quick method to stop cats from scratching the furniture would be to cover it entirely in a throw blanket or if it’s possible, moving it to a room your cat cannot get into. For carpeted stairs, clear packing tape regularly reapplied to the edges can help.
Keep your cat’s claws trimmed. If you’re hesitant to trim them yourself, you can ask your vet.
Provide a stable scratching post covered in a texture you know your cat will enjoy, in an area of the house they prefer, and with enough height for them to fully stretch while scratching. Entice them with catnip and praise to reinforce the new behavior of using the post.
Wondering how to calm an aggressive cat? Is this a new behavior? The first step is to check for any physical causes. If you get a clean bill of health from the vet, think about other possibilities.
Aggression can result for a number of different reasons. Maybe your cat is sick or feeling crowded by other pets in the house. Perhaps your mama cat feels like she must protect her kittens from real or imagined dangers.
An unneutered male can get pretty aggressive. The solution here is simple: get him fixed.
Make sure your cat’s needs are being met. If you have multiple pets, make sure everyone has enough space, enough food, comfortable sleeping spots.
To break up a cat attack, use a spray bottle to squirt them both with, or make a loud sudden noise. Don’t get physically involved.
4. Interrupting Your Sleep
Is your cat meowing at night? If you can tire your cat out before bedtime this might help. Often, your cat is just plain bored and looking for stimulation. Providing them with an enriched environment and taking time to play with them before bedtime can go a long way to curbing this behavior. It might sound strange, but cats are reassured by routine. Playing with them at the same time each evening (perhaps after dinner) will help soothe a demanding cat.
A timed feeder will also help to keep your cat’s attention on the food bowl and away from you during the night. Many couples report that their cats will only bother one of them to be fed in the morning, and leave the heavier sleeper alone because they know their efforts won’t work. Once your cat figures out that the food comes from the feeder and not from you, they will stop bothering you for food.
5. Cat Playing Rough
This is almost always caused by how the cat was raised as a kitten. Kittens need to be taught that human hands are not playthings, but older cats can also learn this as well. When playing with your cat, use a toy as an intermediary: wiggle a stick, not your finger, under a crinkle mat, or dangle a feather toy from a string rather than holding it. When your cat attacks, scratches or bites you, playtime is immediately over. Withdrawing attention will teach your cat the rules for keeping the fun going longer.
6. Caterwauling Kitty
Is your cat noisier than usual?
If she’s in heat, there are only two ways of stopping the noise. One is another cat, and the other is a trip for spaying at the vet’s office.
Other reasons for a cat to be complaining a lot include problems/unmet needs such as flea bites, empty food/water bowls or dirty litter boxes.
Is your cat howling at night? Elderly cats may begin to cry at night as they become confused and their senses decline. Other cats may yowl to express loneliness or anxiety. They often respond well to a Feliway diffuser which you plug into an electrical socket and it has a pheromone that it heats up and aerosolizes in your home. It has a calming effect on cats. If the behavior is well ingrained and they don’t respond to this, your vet may suggest a trial of anti-anxiety medication.
7. Destroying Houseplants
Interested in how to stop a cat from eating plants? Everyone will have their own suggestions: citrus peels on the soil, cayenne pepper, or bitter apple sprays from the pet store. The real bitter truth is, many cats will barely take notice of these so-called deterrents and happily continue to chew on your plants or dig through the soil. The only effective solutions are to put appealing plants out of reach, to select plants that are unappealing to chew on, and to cover the exposed soil if they like to dig. Your mileage may vary, but plants with leathery leaves such as mother in law’s tongue, succulents or cacti are the least likely to attract your cat’s attention.