Paws up how many of you were Christmas present puppies and kittens?? Many people get upset about giving animals as presents but I think it is less about the time you get a new family member and more about the love and life you have with them. Me, I was purchased just before Christmas, but as I was still really little I didn’t arrive until Australia Day with a long flight from Queensland to sunny WA with my sister.
For those of you that are really young still and in your furrever home hopefully your humans read Elley’s blog on introducing new pets before you arrived, if not they can find that on our website at https://www.west-coast.com.au/2015/11/introducing-new-pets-into-home/, but what do they need to remember now that you have arrived?
First thing is to ensure they follow health advice, when do you need to be vaccinated and wormed, what is the best food for you atm and do you have any specific concerns they need to be aware of?
Secondly, you need to ensure they are concerned with your mental health. Are you booked in for training, are they preparing you for what you will encounter for the rest of your life, do you have somewhere quiet to go to when you need to rest .. let’s face it, at this stage you will be sleeping A LOT! Not your fault, just your bodies way of coping with the energy required to grow because you will be getting big very quickly (well as big as your breed and species gets anyway 😛 for me that was quite big, but for my friend Navara she’s slightly larger than my head)
Third point to remember is at this age you will need regular meals, toilet breaks and short periods of play only. Tired puppies and kittens end up being grumpy puppies and kittens, so try not to allow your humans to engage you in more play than you can handle.
They should also be teaching you what you can and can’t be doing. Remind them that you are going to get bigger, what is cute for a 8kg puppy isn’t so cute when a 45kg adult does it in many circumstances, therefore it will be easier for all of you if they teach you now, while you are little, able to learn quickly and have no bad habits what they want you to do when you are all grown up.
This includes bad behaviours like biting, jumping up and barking as well as general good manners like where to sleep, not begging for food, and not racing through doors.
Or if you are a kitty, where you can and can’t jump .. for instance I know of many cats that love to jump on the kitchen bench (funnily enough I had a brother that loved this and he was a big dog, you should have seen his face when he got told to get down, hilarious), or that try to climb on the wall units. Or of course there is the issue with scratching and clawing furniture, apparently humans buy special furniture for this and the sofa is a bad option. Also are you, as a kitty, going to be allowed outside? If you are an inside kitty, will you be taken outside for walks, and if you are then you will need to remind your humans to teach you how to walk with a lead and harness early on.
All of this stuff should be covered in a well run puppy class, and there are even places that run kitten classes, though these aren’t as popular for some reason. I attended puppy classes here at West Coast Pet Care, though, as my human was one of the trainers running the class I managed to get out of the work part of the class on Saturday mornings and just attend the socialisation part .. but we sure made up for it the rest of the week.
I have now attended my snake avoidance training sessions and it was a real eye opener. Many people believe that all training should be reward only, but I tend to get a little distracted with what is happening and not interested in food or toys when there is something new to explore, the trainer we worked with, Seth, gave me heaps of rewards for making the right decision of staying away from the snakes, though they did look friendly to me, and gave me just enough information to let me know not to approach when I thought about making a new friend. They tell me that not all snakes want to be friends with dogs (or cats for that matter), but I don’t know why they can’t be friendly.
There is this great trainer, whom I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago, called Steve that says that you can’t teach any animal to avoid another living creature without some way of telling them it’s bad. I know there are massive arguments between humans about what you can achieve with rewards and the fact that many believe punishment isn’t required, however it is the fear of something unpleasant happening that stops all animals from doing something stupid. For me, I have learnt that snakes cause an unpleasant sensation so if I don’t approach I won’t get that, apparently for humans there is a thing called jail, if they do something bad they get locked up. The thought of being locked up without the freedom they are used to is enough to stop most people from being bad, it’s the same for me and snakes.
All of the dogs in my group did really well, we all learnt to avoid the snakes and lizards very quickly, and to move towards the handler/owner instead. We were a real mixed bag, another Shepherd like me, a small Maltese, a Goldie x Lab and a mixed breed, unfortunately some dogs had to be sent home as they couldn’t handle being separated from one another for the training; any dogs that are sore, lack confidence or are afraid of new people need to work on that before they are allowed to train around the reptiles.
I am now all set to “go bush” with my human and get away from everyday life for a while with a greatly reduced chance of injury by a snake, of course avoidance relies on me being able to see or smell them first so there is always a slight risk.
I have also been lucky enough to try out Reiki lately, months ago my human got a voucher for a reiki treatment for either her or me and I got to use it for my birthday. It’s a little weird, and hard to explain the sensation, so I think I will have to leave this to my human Kim, who also had a reiki session recently, though with a different person, to try and put it into words.
Hey guys, for those of you that don’t know what reiki is here is a description:
a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
As with all alternative or traditional therapies some animals and people respond well and some have no effect at all. I had a slight tingling in my hands and occasionally my leg throughout the treatment, and slept really well for about a week after. Physically I was slightly looser (less stiff and sore) but not a great deal. Morf on the other hand had moments throughout the treatment days where he was quiet and times when he was full of energy and throwing his toys all over the place and left Alex with a feeling that he is “pretty healthy”.
Oh, and I found a really cool idea on Facebook recently, I know bit late to share, but for those of you that are on our Facebook page I shared it there before Christmas too. How to make decorations of your pets’ paw prints as a keepsake. For those of you that bought in a new family member this year you could make one now, while they are little and as they grow up, finishing with their adult paw prints and reminding you of all the fun times you shared together as they grew up. For those of you that missed it, the link is http://www.littlethings.com/paw-print-ornament-dog-cat-vcom.
And if you haven’t joined our Facebook page yet get to it (https://www.facebook.com/PetCareWA/) and we can keep you updated on great advice, information, videos of our dogs working, pictures of the pets in our care, and other helpful tips.