According to a PetFinder.com survey, pet owners aren’t likely to leave their pets with nothing under the Christmas tree. Their poll found 63 percent of dog owners, and 58 percent of cat lovers spend around $5 billion dollars each year on Christmas gifts for their pets. I’m sure non pet people probably think it’s silly to spend money on gifts for dogs and cats, however, most pet owners think of their pet as a cherished member of the family, and it just wouldn’t be right to forget them. With all kinds of squeaky toys, balls, catnip toys, interactive toys and puzzles, beds, cute clothes/coats, you can find a huge selection to choose from. The best gifts, however, won’t cost a dime, and you don’t even have to leave the house to find them. There’s 3 very special Christmas gifts all pets want, and need.
There’s nothing wrong with buying your pet Christmas gifts. I like to treat my furry friends with gifts, too. But, one of the best presents you can give to every member of your family, human and pets, is your time. Not just over the holidays – the entire year. Dogs and cats have no conception of how much their gift cost. A dog doesn’t care if you paid a lot for some spiffy new ball, or it’s just a tennis ball from a canister of three. Playing with a ball is so much more fun when they’re out in the backyard chasing it down after their favorite person tossed it. A cat won’t be nearly as amused with a tight fitting Santa suit or a Rudolph the Reindeer red nose as you may be, but I can guarantee she’ll go bonkers over a string you’re wiggling on the floor in front of her.
After the holidays, it’s back to work, and time to resume the daily routine. Even pets get bored with the same old same old, day in and day out. Adding some mental stimulation into their day can help relieve stress, and burn up excess energy, which can help eliminate some behavior problems. If you don’t walk your dog, consider adding one just around the block so he can see new sights, and find new smells. Hiking is another activity dogs enjoy, and the exercise is good for you, too. Just make sure both of you are ready for the extra workout. Giving your time is special, even if it’s just sitting and talking to your pet, or scratching their ears.
Commitment to training
All dogs need to know basic commands. Training your dog helps you earn his trust, respect, and strengthens your bond. The National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy conducted a study to determine why dogs are surrendered to shelters. One thing the study found was the majority of dogs relinquished had never received any training. Your main job as a dog owner is to be your pet’s leader. It’s up to you to set the rules you expect your dog to follow. Basic commands can keep your dog safe, and gives you the ability to keep him under control. Behavior problems can be dealt with in a responsible matter just by being the leader. Dogs are social pack animals, and look to their leader to guide them. You are indeed giving your pet a very special Christmas gift by committing to his basic training.
Cats may seem more independent or aloof than dogs, but they also look to you to be their leader. And if you have the patience, and determination, cats can also learn how to do things on command. Training a pet can be fun, and it gives you satisfaction in knowing you have a well behaved dog or cat who trusts, and respects you.
As special as giving time is to a pet, giving them your understanding is one of the most important things you can do for them. Puppies will have accidents on the floor if you don’t housebreak them with multiple trips outside, and you have to give them time to mature. A pup’s overall training should begin as soon as you bring him home. Kittens do not automatically know what a litter pan is for unless you help them learn. Dogs and cats can have fears, anxiety, become jealous or stressed out, and need you to be able to recognize when they need help. Couches or chairs may get chewed. Baseboards, trim, and walls may get scratched up. You might come home to garbage strewed all over the kitchen floor once in awhile. Mini blinds will not hold up to an anxious pet worrying about when you’ll get home. Stay calm, and don’t get mad. Behavior issues can be corrected, even aggression, but first, you need to understand why your pet is acting in a specific way in order to deal with any problems that may develop.
Pets end up in shelters because their owner didn’t understand them, give them proper training or spend time building a bond with them. This Christmas, go ahead and buy your pet a gift, but don’t forget about the perfect year round gifts that will mean the most to your dog or cat, and to you. It’s the gift of love.
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Four Lifesaving Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know
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