Having a pet is rewarding, always exciting, and irresistibly fun. But the role of pet parent also comes with a ton of responsibility. You can spend plenty of time playing, hitting the pavement for walks, and curled up cuddling at home — but pets of any kind also require understanding, patience, and constant care.
And plenty of us love spoiling our pets in countless ways to show our love and affection. But here’s something you likely never thought about: are you showing your pet love in a way they actually understand?
Although we have our pets’ best interests at heart, we often do things to our pets that they absolutely hate. In fact, some of the most common behaviors pet owners use with their cats, dogs, or other animals are actually interpreted as aggression, anger, or an uncomfortable way of breaking personal space boundaries.
Are you guilty of doing any of these bad behaviors around your pets? Read on to find out.
Being Inconsistent With Rules
No pet owner enjoys disciplining their animals. Sure, they can have some moments or exhibit bad habits or behaviors, but it can be tough to discipline, or even say no to, your favorite furry friend. That’s often why pet owners struggle to set consistent, firm rules with their pets. So your cat climbed up on the dinner table once or twice — that’s probably okay, right? And maybe your dog has a bad habit of barking for no reason, but you don’t have to always correct that behavior, right?
Well, being inconsistent with your rules can actually confuse your pets. If you waffle between reprimanding your pets for bad behavior and letting things slide, or if different members of the family don’t always enforce the rules for pets, it can send your animals mixed messages. And that can cause your pets to become stressed out, which means they may be less able to follow any rules or commands.
Punishing Pets Long After a Crime Was Committed
When pets do misbehave, they don’t always do it right in front of their owners. Who hasn’t caught their dog digging up a flower bed or stealing scraps from the dinner table behind their back? Or maybe your cats have a habit of scratching furniture when you aren’t looking.
If you notice a pet’s bad behavior long after they actually committed the crime, it’s common to punish them immediately. But yelling at your pet for peeing on the carpet yesterday just confuses them. If you begin reprimanding your pets for behavior that happened hours — or days — ago, your pets aren’t going to understand what you’re so mad about.
Pets forget that they actually committed these “long ago” crimes. Unless you catch them in the act, don’t bother trying to fix or punish their behavior for something that’s already happened.