Tips on bonding and caring for pets
Bonding with your pets is important but remember they aren’t people.
Our two dogs Luna and Little Zeus (aka LZ) and our cat Oliver are an integral part of our family. We love them dearly and our family would not be the same without them but like other families we need to remember our pets aren’t people. That doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re just as important as the two legged members of our family, it means that for them to be as happy and healthy as possible we need to respect their needs and wants. This can and is very different many times from what people think their pets need and want.
Say hello to LZ 🙂
To help us of us with four legged family members we’re sharing some fabulous tips from Michele Dixon, Health & Nutrition Specialist at Petcurean.
Bonding. Live in the Moment.
Pets are the king and queens of living in the moment, and the best bonding experience we can have, is to meet them at that level. Share calmly in being joyous, playful, and relaxed, whatever positivity your pet is giving you in the moment. If it’s quiet time, simply spend time doing what your pet responds to positively. For some, that may mean just sitting with them, and doing nothing else.
Bothering. Body Language 101.
Learn to read body language, so your pet can clearly communicate with you, and respect what they are telling you in that moment. Remember your pet is fully present. Avoid giving affection when your pet is giving you a negative response. So either change your approach to your pet, or back off. This one was a huge learning curve for us with LZ. As a small dog everyone from family members to people on the street want to come up to him to pet him or pick him up. He’s not comfortable around strangers and while he does like to be picked up, that doesn’t mean he wants to be picked up all of the time. We’ve learned his cues for when he doesn’t want to snuggle, we know that when he does want snuggle time he will come to us.
Signs of annoyance include: Turning their head away in avoidance, lick lipping, lip curling, yawning when not tired, sudden sniffing of the ground, or a paw being raised. With cats, they often flick their tails, put their ears back, or get up and leave
Kisses and Quality Time.
Kisses are one way, but to a dog especially, showing love is often more about their loyalty and respect for you. Cats show love by wanting to spend time in your lap, or by interacting (such as giving head bonks). Ever see your cat give you a “slow blink”? That’s also a sign of pure love and is often referred to as “kitty kisses”. Next time you see it, try giving a slow blink in return.
Our Ollie very much loves to give kisses and when he’s in the mood for snuggles he will jump on our lap. When we’re petting him and he’s had enough he simply moves away and we let him be.
Here’s Ollie having his ahem catnap. Yes all our pets have cozy, snuggly blankets or beds to sleep on.
Some pets enjoy a cuddle, but in some cases hugging can be tricky. Many pets feel “claustrophobic” when been hugged, especially if they are not permitted to leave. The hugs of small children who tend to squeeze too hard and not let go are a prime example. Additionally, a pet should only be hugged when you are feeling calm. In the case of an injured pet, or upset pet, hugging is often not the best solution, as this case often nurtures the unwanted behavior, and creates more of the negative behavior. LZ again is a perfect example of this. He loves to sleep on our laps but he does not like to be engulfed by peoples arms in hug. I don’t blame him, he’s so small he would feel trapped.
Pets Aren’t People.
It’s important to remember that pets aren’t people, and their language and emotional needs are different. The best gift you can give your pet is to be truly present, by focusing all of your attention on them whenever you choose to interact. Learn what they like and don’t like by paying attention to the small things. And respect that like people, they are all different. Some love closeness, some are more independent. This doesn’t mean we love them any less, as they love us unconditionally and we return that love by respecting their needs.
Feel free to share some of your favourite pet tips below.