If your favourite feline, cuddly canine or precious parrot displays perfect manners around your household… lucky you! If, at times, however, you feel intensely annoyed, frustrated, embarrassed or downright angry with your animal companion then you are not alone.
Here’s a light hearted look at the pets, and their top 10 problems, who typically make their owner’s lives interesting, at times trying and sometimes even fun…
1. Barking Buddy
Buddy barks when the postman calls, barks when the neighbours get home from work, barks when he hears possums overnight and barks when he wants to go for a walk. The neighbours have complained. The council have given the family an official warning to shut their dog up.
Understand the cause of the barking, solve that and you’ll have a quiet dog. Read more about Barking Problems for tips on solving your barking dog’s problem.
2. Piddling Precious
Precious may be a very affectionate pussycat but she drives her owners to despair with her “mistakes” around the home. Persian rugs, handbags, briefcases, pillows are all scent marked with “eau du chat”, otherwise known as cat spray or urine.
Clean up thoroughly, provide lots of clean litter trays & watch out for anxiety issues and Precious will be a fastidious feline.
Read Cat Toileting Problems for more info
3. Hyperactive Henry
Henry can be canine, feline or avian but, whatever species, he displays extraordinary amounts of energy, usually when his owners would like to sit down and put their feet up. His exuberance for life is matched only by his ability to obtain human attention – stealing items of clothing, digging, chewing and attempting to knock everyone over are favourite pastimes.
Channel your pet’s energy into more appropriate activities. Play games with him when you have time and reward quiet behaviour when you need time out.
4. Terminator Terror
Terror dislikes other dogs… intensely. Every trip to the park becomes a nightmare for his owner who tries, usually unsuccessfully, to recall her dog, rather than let him chase other dogs who are twice his size. In Terror’s mind, he is the Terminator and he is not afraid to use his teeth to show it!
Introduce Terror to dogs that don’t react to his antics. Keep him under control on a leash and give him lots of training – at home, in the streets, in the park.
5. Antisocial Angus
Antisocial Angus may be cat, dog, rabbit, bird, even fish. He may be a newcomer or he may be a long term resident but he is determined not to share his household with any other creature. In fact, he makes their life a misery. Ambushes, attacks or avoidance are all strategies common employed by Antisocial Angus.
Give Angus positive activities, like feeding time, when other animals are present. Monitor his every movement and praise good behaviour.
6. Clawing Cuddles
Cuddles has typical feline attributes… sharp claws and she knows how to use them. While the furniture suffers occasionally, it is generally attacks on human flesh that generate Cuddles the most attention, especially when she leaps out from around the corner and jumps on human ankles! Often she strikes while her human is having an affectionate cuddle with Cuddles!
Learn Cuddles’ body language and back off before you get hurt. Give her lots of appropriate fun and games. Read more about scratching.
7. Angry Apollo
Apollo thinks he is top dog, leader of the pack, top cat, a god! And that deserves respect. He likes to choose where to sit - on the sofa - and where to sleep - on his owner’s bed! He likes to get food and attention on demand. When these rights are not forthcoming, he tends to utter a low “grrrrrr” under his breath or use his weapons - teeth or claws.
Best to seek professional help. Don’t challenge your pet directly but work on your leadership skills.
8. Frightened Freddy
Freddy is afraid of loud noises… children screaming, pots and pans banging, fireworks… all have him reduced to a trembling animal wreck. His owners have tried to comfort him but the problem just seems to get worse. The last time he was left alone during a thunderstorm he wrecked the screen door, the gate and had a $1000 of vet and council bills awaiting his owners!
Read Dog Anxiety or Scaredy Cat problems for more help.
9. Anxious Amber
Anxious Amber hates to be alone. This affectionate canine, feline or bird hates to be alone, as she just loves her owners sooo much. Inevitable her humans have to go out and they typically return home to uprooted plants, chewed clothing, evidence of inappropriate elimination (peeing and pooing anywhere and everywhere), a howling hound. Their loving pet, of course, will be overjoyed to see them!
Let Amber get used to being alone while you are at home and keep it positive by leaving her with something entertaining to do – like finding food. More about Separation Anxiety here.
10. Humble Human
The Humble Human may not strictly be a pet but can still create household havoc. There are two extremes of Humble Humans…
- those who find pet No.s 1-9 above all too difficult to deal with and will typically surrender them to shelters for other humans to deal with
- those who love the above pets sooo much that they are willing to put up with all sorts of unwanted behaviour, from the socially unacceptable to the downright dangerous.
Most Humble Humans fall between the two extremes and will tolerate the occasional annoying or embarrassing behaviour but are willing to seek help when it all gets a little too much. Like us, we realise that pets are not perfect!
The good news is that many unwanted behaviours can be eliminated or at least reduced to a manageable level with time, effort and patience by the owner.
Pet ownership is not all problematic and most of us see the negative side outweighed by the positive… the unconditional friendship, the companionship and the enjoyable side of our pet’s behaviour are the reasons that we share our lives with our animal friends.