7 Ways You May Be Stressing Out Your Pet
Every now and then, we've had a long day at work and our pet's just won't relax! They're running all around the house or won't be quiet when all you want to do is chill, and can sometimes up adding unnecessary stress to our lives.
Now, don't get me wrong, our pet's are in every single way worth that stress. They provide so much joy and activity to our lives, I think us humans can handle a little stress here and there, but did you know that you could also be stressing out your pet? Even when it's involuntary, some behaviors can lead to your pet feeling anxious which can in turn affect their own behavior and your relationship with them. We've identified a few noted actions that can induce apprehension in your cat or dog.
Ways You May Be Stressing Your Cat
Only Using The Kennel For Visits To The Vet
Whether your cat is an indoor cat or outdoor cat, let's be honest, we don't use our cat carriers or kennels very often to take our cat's to places. There aren't cat parks, or a cat beach, and they simply aren't that type of creature and that's okay.
Despite this, we still have to familiarize our kitties with certain spaces so that they don't associate the kennel with experiences they don't like, such as visiting the vet or groomer. You want to make your cat's kennel a safe, comfortable place that the cat is free to go in and out of when it's not in use so that they grow to know it independently of the experiences attached to it.
Relying On Punishment For Training
From venturing through our site, you can probably tell that we aren't very into scolding your cat or dog, even when training them as a kitten or puppy. It isn't an effective method of communication for humans most of the time, why would it be for your pets? Yelling at and punishing your cat will only serve to scar them. Your cat likely won't be able to link their bad behavior to your punishing them and your anger will only appear random. This can cause your cat to become confused and act out over things that seem normal.
Instead try replacing the bad behavior or action with a good one repeatedly until they begin to understand. You can also try reinforcing good behaviors with positive reactions.
Pretending To Scare Your Cat
We've all seen the Instagram and YouTube videos that circulate of people playing tricks on their cats to get an animated reaction out of them. While they may seem funny in the moment, they're like terrifying their poor cats. Repeatedly scaring your cat can lead to odd behavior such as constant wariness and skittishness. They can begin to become uncomfortable venturing into familiar rooms and even more so into new places.
If you scare your cat in a place they're comfortable or an area where they regularly eat or sleep, may lead to them avoiding those areas and not eating or sleeping altogether which can leave to grave health concerns.
Ways You May Be Stressing Out Your Dog
Training Your Dog Inconsistently
Whether you adopted your pet a little later in their life or have raised your puppy from those big baby paws up, consistency is key. If you change the routines or boundaries you've established for your pet often, they're likely to get confused and not be able to tell a good behavior from a bad one. This can lead to you feeling stressed which also makes them feel stressed.
We suggest clearly structuring your system with your pet for things like when they meet someone new, when they are going to go outside for a walk, when they get to interact with other animals. Providing them with uniform actions that they perform every time, and clues to indicate that what they're doing is correct each time is vital for making a stress-free, easy-going doggy.
Improperly Rewarding Your Pet
We realize this sort of ties right back into training but since we know you'll be giving your dog treats for life, we thought this might be a helpful tip, too. When your pet does something requires them to behave well for a long time and exercise a lot of self-restraint, that should be hugely rewarded! You wouldn't go crazy after get a C on a math test like you would if you were to get an A+, so you should recognize your dog in the same manner. Big actions of good behavior deserve bigger treats and rewards.
How does this lead to stress you might ask? It makes it so they don't understand when they've done something good, verses when they've done something supremely good. It does nothing to nurture and support that supremely good behavior, which is something you want to do. That and it's confusing for your pet, especially when they've shown a great amount of self restraint for you.
Never delay giving a treat to your pet either, this way they can directly see the line from their behavior to the treat they got for it.
Pointing or Shaking Your Finger At Them
It's been said that this gesture is a “universal stress inducer for dogs.” Commonly blended with an angry gesture or tone, and a hovering stance. Your pet almost certainly won't be ale to identify what they did to deserve the finger point/shake but whenever they see it they'll know to feel anxious and afraid, something we want to avoid!
Instead, get on their level and speak in a low, commanding voice 'no', to whatever bad behavior they're pursuing and replace it with something positive.
Not Giving Them Enough Exercise
Dogs are hugely active creatures, and depending on their breed, may require a lot of aerobic and cardio activity to ensure they remain healthy. Like humans, your dog requires mental and physical stimulation otherwise they get bored. Bored dogs have a higher tendency to act up, and be destructive which can lead to unnecessary punishment, which can lead to stress for you both.
Pet's aren't capable of binge-watching their favorite new show or hitting the stair-climber at the gym, they rely on you to stay active, fit, and healthy. Introducing more activity into an idle pets routine can help reduce stress and improve health in a major way!
If you've learned of ways to help avoid causing stress for your pet, feel free to shoot us an email. We love hearing from you!