Are you stressing out your pet? We all adore our pets, but many of us are blissfully unaware that some of our actions can cause them anxiety. Stress can have serious health consequences for people and pets. It’s time for some “human training!” Here is a list of the most common human behaviors that your pets don’t like.

Scolding them for acting like animals. All of our pets are stressed and confused when we punish them for behaving like a dog or cat! Pets dig, chew, steal food, scratch, bark, and get litter on the floor. They should not be punished for these behaviors. Try redirecting their actions with some fun training time or playtime.

Saying no over and over again. Let’s face it; if you say it 20 times a day, it loses all meaning. Redirect your pet and set them up for success. Don’t leave food on the counter and they won’t jump up there. Save “NO” for when you mean it.

Having irregular schedules. Most animals are creatures of habit, and they like it that way. They want to be fed and let out at the same time every day.

Making them share resources. Pets, just like people want their own stuff. So if you have multiple pets make sure they have their own food dishes, their own beds, a littler box for each, and some of their own toys. Of course, pets will share toys but for example, if you have multiple cats when you buy a new toy get one for each cat.

Using varied cues for behaviors. This is so doggone confusing for our pets… “Enough” “Shhhh” “Quiet” may mean the same thing to you, but your pet is just bewildered when you do this. What do you say when your dog jumps up? What do you say when you want them to lay down? If your answer to both is “down,” then your pet wants you to get more human training!

Having inconsistent rules. Do you “shoo” your cat off the counter and then feed them up there? Or scold your dog for getting on the sofa but sometimes call them up to cuddle? You need to pick one, on or off and stick with it.

Saying it’s ok when it’s not ok. We have all done this from time to time, but you’re pets want you to stop. Something bad or scary is coming up, and you say, “it’s ok.” This includes fireworks, a trip to the vet, nail trimming, or a trip to the groomer. If your pet is fearful of these things, they are NOT ok! Our intentions are in the right place, we are trying to calm them down, but pretty soon your pet figures out that “it’s ok” means bad stuff ahead. Ok ends up being a verbal cue for “it’s time to panic.” Instead, when something unsettling is ahead, have a playtime, give them a treat after, snuggle on the sofa, but don’t tell them it’s ok!

There are, of course, a lot of human behaviors stress out your best friend; scaring your pet, waking them up suddenly, forcing them to hug you, strongly scented litter, or assuming they want to sleep all day (they want to play).This year, let’s try and minimize our pets stress level and make our bonds with them even stronger.

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