Different pets, different personalities

I have been doing this over 2 years now and every family, every situation is different. One thing I know that both my clients and myself have in common is a love for all these wonderful animals. I hear different stories every day and it amazes me how many animals are the same and yet so different at the same time.

So many of the dogs I have watched have unfortunately come from bad beginnings. My clients from around Lexington have rescued some amazing dogs and cats and thank GOD for them! This can lead to more work to get them to adjust to people, situations, other animals, etc. and takes some extra work to get these dogs comfortable. When a dog is skiddish, scared, seemingly angry, etc. I never blame the dog. Underneath that growl or that scared face is likely a history. So many of these pets are rescued and it never ceases to amaze me what kind of stories I hear. We don’t give enough credit to pet owners who have rescued animals and thus saving these precious babies from death or a lifetime of misery.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of understanding a breed. If I come across a difficult pet that needs a little extra TLC, I put my research hat on (I was previously a Research Editor lol) and look into what I am dealing with. Knowing a breed and the background will likely help me solve the puzzle of why the pet won’t do ________.

A few tricks that work for me. This applies mainly to dogs but occasionally I have to pull out my hat of tricks for cats too.

Repetition is huge in what I do. If a dog doesn’t want to come to me and thus not going outside to walk/potty as needed I have to take some extra time with that dog. I’ve spent extra time just sitting next to cages talking to dogs until that level of trust is established. I let the dog come on their terms without any force. Sometimes this takes treats or a little coercing. But if a dog is scared or worried by it’s nature, then you don’t want to play into that. You need to establish a firm, loving, and dominant role for the dog. They need to look at you and know they must obey but also know you won’t harm them. If you are scared a dog will bite you they can sense that. You need to be confident in what you are doing. With some dogs if I back off when I’m putting a leash on the collar it has scared them and they go back into attack mode. If I put the leash on without hesitation then the process moves more quickly.

I talk the whole time I am doing this so they get to know my voice and associate it with the things they like.

Some dogs aren’t aggressive but just very hyper. The dominant role comes into play with these dogs just so they listen and don’t get too out of control. I am not their owner but I am responsible for them and they need to mind me just like I would expect they would for their owner. We go to a lot of public places where my hyper doggies need to be on their best behavior for everyone’s safety. I try to get these dogs to stay focused and move forward on their walks. They seem to do best if they have a “job” when out. Whether going potty or minding me to go around the block. IF we establish that then we get the hyperness out in a constructive way and don’t risk getting too excited when a new person or animal appears.

And can’t leave those silly cats out! If you have ever had a cat you know how funny they can be! I can’t tell you how many clients have had to change their “litter” arrangements because their cat has changed it’s mind on what’s acceptable. My thoughts- whatever works! A cat is a little more independently minded and harder to train. If the cat want’s it’s own litter box- then you are probably going to have to get that cat it’s own litter box! Sometimes I watch cats that I can hold like babies for an hour. Other cats are nocturnal and you won’t see them during a whole weekend pet sit. But they eat and potty on cue so at least we know they are there.

What is your pet’s personality? And what adjustments have you had to make in your life because of it?

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