Bringing home a new pet 

Bringing home a new pet to join the family is an exciting time. However regardless of whether you have just brought home a new puppy or kitten, training should begin straight away. It is easy for a dog or cat to pick up bad habits quickly, especially when they are settling in. If you let your puppy sleep in your bed initially, this is where they will expect to sleep for the rest of their life and it may not be as fun when they grow to be a hairy 20kg adult dog!

Make sure you decide on a few ground rules early and stick to them. Short training sessions (up to five minutes) create routine and stimulate your pet’s brain.

Here are a few things to remember:

  • Be consistent
  • Always reward your pet when they are doing the right thing
  • Dogs especially learn by positive re-enforcement; use treats, pats and a positive voice as a reward
  • Ignore any undesirable behaviour

Dog training classes are held locally and are an excellent opportunity for your pup to learn some basic manners but most importantly, socialise with other dogs their own age. Your pup will gain confidence with different doggy personalities making visits to the park in the future much more enjoyable.

Kittens need lots of stimulation so providing a range of toys is important. Scratching posts and climbing poles are also an excellent source of entertainment.

New pets get on great with other animals already in the household.  Check out the funny You Tube  video below "Simon'sCat- Double Trouble." 

Desexing is another aspect for the responsible new pet owner to consider. Veterinarians are often asked a range of questions relating to desexing their new pet. Will it change my pet’s personality? (Answer: No) Will my pet still grow to normal size? (Answer: Yes)  We are happy to answer any question you have but here are some basic facts.

Desexing also known as neutering (or a spey in females and castration in males), involves removing the reproductive organs. Desexing has behavioural and health benefits for your dog or cat.

Your pets are less likely to:
• wander or get into fights
• to spray and mark their territory
• to suffer from anti-social behaviour

Pets that are desexed:
• can live longer, healthier lives
• are generally more affectionate and better companions

Pets give us unconditional love and a new pet can bring great joy to a household, but with it comes responsibility, for training, behaviour and health care.

Dr Alison Banfield – Sanford Veterinary Clinic

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