Making a New Pet Feel at Home


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Bideawee offers tips for acclimating a dog or cat to a new environment and family


After the initial excitement of adopting a pet dog or cat, most owners will very quickly realize the benefit of starting their companion on the right "paw." Regardless of whether you adopt a dog, puppy, cat or kitten, immediate training and enrichment is most effective if done from day one, because the saying "good and bad habits are hard to break" is without a doubt true.


At Bideawee, the organization prides itself on trying to help the adopter think about these things before adopting, which is why we have an entire matchmaking team and a matchmaking application to help match people with pets. It comes as no surprise that a good matchmaking program is essential for a successful adoption, but it's also no surprise that it is impossible to go over every situation one might face down the road. This is why finding an experienced and knowledgeable dog trainer can be such a critical tool in ensuring a successful adoption.


If your dog is a puppy (under 5 months) then a positive group puppy class is a great way to go. If your dog is over 5 months, then a group obedience training class is recommended so the owner can teach and work with their dog in difficult circumstances. Not only can you teach your puppy or adult dog commands such as "sit," "down," "come," "leave it," "heel," etc., but the bonding between you and your dog is greatly strengthened. If you think that your dog needs one-on-one attention due to specific behavioral problems, there are many trainers who will be able to help you, whether in the home or at a training facility.


When thinking about cat training, you want to focus on options and enrichment. When I say "options," I mean making sure that your cat or kitten has a safe option for finding and going into the litter box, as well as giving them the ability to "safely" (from their perspective) access food and water. Enrichment deals with giving the cat or kitten many things to play with such as kitty teasers, scratching posts, catnip toys, balls, fake mice, etc. Although most of my work at Bideawee consists of training and helping the owners with their newly adopted dogs, about 25 percent of the phone calls I get are about a cat not using the litter box properly, scratching the furniture, playing too roughly with the kids, etc.


In order to avoid these things, think about the aspect of litter box placement and cleanliness, as well as providing plenty of toys and scratching alternatives for your cat immediately after adoption. There are many owners who can teach their cat commands such as "sit" and "down," but the priorities are to make sure your cat is able to live cleanly and peacefully with you and your family from day one. This will certainly minimize chances of the aforementioned behavior problems in cats.


Above all, training should be fun and effective. So have fun with your dogs and cats, and do your best to prepare them to live safely and comfortably in their environments. Always think about the fact that a well-trained dog or cat usually has much more access to things in our world (people, different environments), which result in more fun for everyone involved! For more information about Bideawee's Behavior and Training department, visit www.bideawee.org/Programs-Training.


If you're thinking about adding a four-legged companion to your family, Bideawee is waiving the adoption fee on all animals 6 months of age or older in September. To find the animal who will make the perfect pet for you visit www.bideawee.org/adopt to see all of Bideawee's adoptable animals. All animals are updated daily so check back often.


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