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Pet Pals: Therapist tells cures for bad behavior


Animal therapists say they see many of the same problems over and over. Here are some of the most common, along with recommended procedures for the dog or cat's owner to take: Gnawing the furniture: Don't punish the puppy or dog. Don't use hands to stop a dog from chewing because biting problems can develop. Do provide good chew toys and give praise when they are used. Separation anxiety: If the dog carries on and damages things after you leave, try this: Take him for a walk before leaving so he can use up some energy and be more calm when you leave.

Don't make a big deal of coming or going. When leaving, toss a toy or a treat behind him and leave while he is paying attention to it. Inappropriate elimination: Never shove a cat or dog's face into his mistake.

Clean it up thoroughly so no smell lingers to encourage him to use the spot again. Take dogs for frequent walks and praise them for going outside.

For cats, make sure their litterbox has

(1) cleanliness,

(2) privacy, away from household activities, and

(3) an escape route.

Cats feel vulnerable in the litterbox and want to be able to leave in more than one direction. Hooded boxes may cause a problem, making a cat feel trapped. If so, that particular animal may be reluctant to use it.

Begging: Train your pet to sit before getting what he wants. He will understand the begging won't be rewarded and that in order to get something from you he has to give something first. Cat's pouncing and attacking: If he stalks your ankles or bats at your legs when you step over him, throw a toy past his face. It triggers the chase instinct and redirects her energy to something else.

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