Best of the Best
Nadia Crighton investigates how to bring out the very best in your pet in 10 easy steps.
If you’re a first time pet owner, or a person who has many years experience owning pets of all shapes and sizes, one thing is for certain…we all love our pets and want them to have the very best in life.
So how can we ensure that our pets are leading a quality life and how do we bring out the very best in them?
- Research. What breed of pet do you have? Do you have a mixed breed? If you know the breed/s and what were they bred for? This can give you a good list of possible things your pet loves to ‘naturally’ do. For instance; The Jack Russell Terrier breed has its origins from fox hunting. So they love to chase things. The cat breed, Abyssinian, tends to love the water and will play happily with some water entertainment. Researching your ‘breed’ origins and traits allows you to compile fun games that can bring out the best in your pet.
- Training. This goes for cats too…why not give it a go! Training your dog (or cat) will allow them to become well-behaved and adjusted pets. It’s also a great way for you to recognize possible problems quickly. We discovered fairly early at puppy training that one of our dogs simply did not like other dogs. No matter how much training we threw at this issue, or socialization she simply was a snob for anything canine. This was good to know, as we never expected her to do something she simply was not comfortable with. So she was always kept on leash and we avoided other dogs to keep her happy. Knowledge is power!
- Enrichment. The best way to explain boredom in pets is to think about your backyard, or house, as a television show…the same television show on repeat day-in, day-out. Over, and over, and over, and over again. The same noises at the same times, the same dogs barking in the distance or the sound of the rubbish truck. The same smells, sights, birds, bones, toys…BORING! So consider enriching your dog’s (and indoor-cat’s) environment. Move cat scratchers and beds to windows. Rotate your toys weekly. Scatter dog food over your lawn. Consider some boredom busters (like frozen ice-cream containers full of water and some treats in summer or kongs in winter).
- Games. Play with your pet. Teach your pet how to fetch (yes this is even successful with some cat breeds – use a hairband, but ALWAYS remove when you are finished). Consider teaching your dogs some tricks. This one-on-one interaction will enrich your pets life.
- Agility. If you have a super-energetic dog seriously consider joining your local agility club. Dogs simply love this challenge! Plus they get to work with you while also socialising at the same time. Training your dog around major distractions (like other dogs) is a wonderful way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
- Keep Active. This is not only good for you…but super important for your dog. Purchase a waist lead and go for a run or power-walk daily. Think; off leash areas for a good exercise and socialisation (but interact with your dog at the park). Cats also like a good ‘play’ session each day. Consider those long sticks with feathers and get your pet jumping and stalking. Great to keep the weight down and their health up!
- Problems. Abolish those behavioral problems. Seek help. A pet that is suffering from an issue is placing negative pressure on your bond. Solve it or understand the problem instead of making excuses. Seek professional help. There are many top trainers, behaviorist, holistic vets, specialised vets…the list goes on and on. Get to understand your pet’s problem, work with it, and prevent it. Some problems need you to think-outside-the-box.
- Go on adventures together. Find some pet friendly accommodation next to a sprawling park or endless beach. For indoor cats consider leash training or building a cat run so they can experience the world outside.
- Make your own treats…it’s incredibly rewarding for both of you. Plus; you’ll know exactly what your dog / cat is eating and its nutritional content.
- LOVE LOVE LOVE. Lots of cuddles and snuggles. Pet ownership is all about love. No pet is 100% perfect, they all have their quirky and funny habits. Learn to laugh off the doggy or catty behaviour.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, three cats, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy, she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership.