The Six Most Common Mistakes Pet Owners Make
According to the Humane Society, there are 78 million dogs in the U.S., and 94 million cats. And that's just counting pets, not the ones roaming the streets or sitting in the pound.
--Since so many of us own pets, here's a list from "Real Simple" magazine of six things MOST of us are doing wrong . . .
#1.) CHOOSING A PET BECAUSE IT'S CUTE. A lot of people go to an animal shelter and make a choice based on their emotional reaction.
--But you should do some research first. Some cats and dogs are harder on allergies than others, and some have very specific needs. So read up, THEN go to the animal shelter.
#2.) SKIMPING ON EXERCISE. According to "The Dog Whisperer," you're supposed to walk your dog at least twice a day for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. But most people just wait until the dog takes a dump, then head back inside.
--And since you can't walk a cat, you're supposed to give it 10 to 20 minutes of play time twice a day . . . which almost no one does.
#3.) BEING INCONSISTENT WITH THE RULES. Everyone in the house has to enforce the same rules, or your pet won't know what they are.
--For example, you can't expect a dog to know it's only allowed on the couch when YOU'RE on it. It's either allowed on the couch, or it's not.
#4.) PUNISHING YOUR PET AFTER-THE-FACT. You probably know this, but just to make sure EVERYONE does: Yelling at a dog or a cat doesn't do any good unless it's WHILE they're doing something bad.
--In that case, the yelling scares them and they associate whatever they were doing wrong with fear. But if you wait even a few seconds, they won't connect the dots. And PHYSICALLY punishing an animal just teaches them to be afraid of YOU.
#5.) GIVING OUT TOO MANY TREATS. They lose their training value if you give them out for no reason. Your pet stops thinking of them as a reward and starts thinking of them as inevitable.
#6.) LETTING YOUR PET GET BORED. Cats and dogs start causing trouble if they don't have anything to do. That's why it's important to always make sure they have at least one window to look out of.
--And you can keep your dog's mind working by hiding treats around the house before you leave for work. They'll spend all day trying to sniff them out.