VETERINARY CARE WARNING
Always remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives veterinary treatment.
Restraining & Transporting Injured Dogs
The best way to restrain an injured dog while maximizing its comfort and ensuring your safety is to gently hug it around the neck and chest. This position keeps your face and hands away from its mouth. When it comes time to lift the dog for transport, slide the hand closest to its head down and between the front legs or in front of the chest, then slide the other arm under the pelvis or, depending on your dog’s size or the type of injury, behind the back legs.
Restraining & Transporting Injured Cats
Try using the scruff of the neck to restrain your cat, but be aware that some adult cats may feel threatened by this approach and react badly. A more subtle approach is to hold the back of the cat’s neck to control its head while supporting its body by cradling the back end under your arm. When transporting an injured cat, scruffing typically works, but do not dangle the animal — always support its body weight with your other arm. A pillowcase is an easy way to transport an injured animal since it is dark and the cat will feel safe.
Never Discipline Pets
Cats respond extremely poorly to punishment; instead of making any constructive association between a bad behavior and the resulting scolding, a cat will typically just run away in confusion and fear. Additionally, punishment creates stress, which is one of the most common catalysts for problematic behavior in cats. Even more so than with dogs, it’s imperative you reward your cats for their positive behavior rather than condemning them for their negative behavior.
Use Treats — The Right Kind
For many cats, who generally tend to be more selective about what they eat than their canine counterparts, it takes something more special than regular kibble to get them motivated. Diced turkey, shredded pieces of chicken, or premium cat treats will prove more effective. It’s just a matter of finding out what your cat likes best.
Condition Your Kitten
Cats are naturally smart animals. Try starting slowly with a simple trick just to show your cat what sort of good things (i.e. treats) can occur during these initially confusing training sessions. Remember to always hold the treat up to your cat’s nose so he or she can get a good sniff and know a reward is at stake. Continue holding the treat in your cat’s line of vision until whatever command you’ve issued has been performed. Once it has, immediately reward your cat. With serious repetition, this will establish a relationship between behavior and reward in your kitty’s mind.
Practice Makes Perfect
Repeat training processes until your cat makes a connection, but take care not to overwork your feline friend, as they get worn out quite easily. Start by teaching just one command at a time, and limit training sessions to 10 to 15 minutes maximum. Repeat the routine daily, however, as your cat might forget all it has learned otherwise.
Try Using a “Clicker” to Teach Your Cat
Animal trainers have long used distinctive sounds such as whistles and clicks as reinforcers of good behavior. Today, plastic “clicker” kits are a popular way of conditioning animals. Initiating a click right after a successfully executed behavior, then immediately giving your cat a treat will eventually lead your pet to automatically associate the click with an imminent reward, meaning as soon as the click is heard, he or she will know they’ve done the right thing. Eventually, you won’t even need a treat every single time.
Unrealistic Expectations Don’t Help Anyone…
Teaching takes time, but how much time depends on your dog’s breed and behaviors you’re looking to alter. Beagles and dachshunds, for example, are more stubborn than retrievers, and instinctual behaviors like barking and jumping are going to be harder habits to break than others. Age will also play a role, as the longer the behavior has been rehearsed, the longer it will take to unlearn. But, it’s never too late to teach! You just have to be prepared to put in the time and have the patience to do so.
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