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Is Your Child's Behavior Dangerous To Pets?

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My friend Linda recently told me that she has some concerns about how her son is treating their cat.  She said that her son locks the cat in cabinets, and plays too roughly with it.  I told her that most cats will tolerate some roughhousing, and then when enough is enough will fight back.  I suggested that she continue to put a stop to any mean behavior she sees, and keep telling her son that he must always be kind to animals.  I also told her to watch and see how the relationship changes when the cat decides she’s had enough, and her son comes crying with a bite or a scratch.  At that point things can go two ways, her son learns to treat the cat with kindness and respect, or he punishes the cat further, and if the latter happens, she should be very concerned.

It made me wonder though, when should a parent be concerned that their child has crossed the line between being rough with a pet, and being intentionally cruel.  If your dog or cat is ok with roughhousing, or being dressed up like a doll, you don’t need to worry.  You should always discuss how your child may be making your pet feel so that he learns compassion, and learns when to back off and give your pet a break.  Your pet is also very capable of putting a stop to harassment, though in the case of a dog, this could be dangerous.  Most dogs are incredibly tolerant of their human companion’s behavior, but if they feel frightened, their reaction can turn violent.

It is important that you put a stop to cruel behavior immediately.  Children don’t usually grow out of this kind of behavior, and the natural progression is that they move on to human victims.  Always set a good example in how you interact with pets to teach children to be compassionate and responsible pet guardians.

Watch For Signs

Signs that your child needs intervention to correct cruel behavior before it escalates:

If your child won’t release a pet that is struggling to escape or continues to chase it when it is obviously running away in fear.

If your child becomes more and more secretive about his cruel behavior after being told to stop.

Putting the pet in dangerous situations to terrify it, like dangling it out a window or over a balcony, locking it in a washing machine or dryer - even without turning it on, leading it out to the street.

Restraining the pet in any way, like locking the pet in a closet or cabinet to hear it cry in distress.  Tying it up near something that scares it like fire.  Binding it’s tail or paws tightly with rubber bands or string.

If your child appears to enjoy watching a pet in pain or frightened.

Obvious signs like cutting or burning a pet.

Getting Help

If discussing the problem with your child isn’t working, the next step is getting some professional counselling.  Talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting a referral to a counsellor or psychologist.  Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed about getting help for your child, it is absolutely imperative that you put a stop to this kind of behavior to prevent it from doing permanent psychological damage to your child.  

 

Danielle Nottingham is a veterinary technician and writer at DogTrainingCollars.com who often writes about bad pet habits, or bad pet-owner habits, and ways to correct them.

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5 Ways That Pets Can Help With A Child's Development

Somewhere along the line of a child’s development, he must learn about the world outside of his own individual needs and wants. While he can be left alone to find things and explore his surroundings, under adult supervision or care, he needs assistance for the most part. Pet animals can help in this instance if the child cannot have adult help.

More specifically, animals can help in the child’s development in the following aspects.

Physical development.

To strengthen and develop his muscles the right way, a child should exercise them through vigorous movement. Interacting with a frisky pet, the child will be encouraged to experiment with his motor skills, learning along the way. Aside from being fun, the child-animal interactive activities are never monotonous, though they may look routinary. In other words, running with the dog in the park will be more enjoyable than jogging alone around the neighborhood, no matter how pretty the area is.

Emotional development.

In many instances, pets that serve well are first given friendly attention, then lavished with loving affection. There are millions of stories about people considering pets as members of their families, to the point where the animals were endowed with inheritance and similar actions normally given to human relatives.

For a child, an animal may give unconditional loyalty and affection, so that it almost becomes a surrogate sibling when such is absent. Thus the child learns emotional reciprocity, responsibility, kindness and, yes, love and loving. The animal becomes the object as well as giver of affection that becomes a vehicle for emotional growth.

Furthermore, by learning that animals also have feelings, children may also learn to understand the animal better and therefore by extension, himself.

Social development.

A pet can serve as the focus or bridge of relationship between socially less open children, as well as become a social companion for the child in lieu, and even in spite, of the presence of peers. This latter becomes more important in instances where the child must have less social criticism and more acceptance. Animals give singular attention and often affection that the child can be less inhibited in expressing his feelings, resulting in better self-esteem.

Intellectual development.

A child will wonder why his pet acts one way and not another, obeys a command or not, responds to one way of calling and differently to another, so that he starts to associate a result to a previous condition, encouraging rationality. This post hoc, ergo propter hoc logic he can thus apply to other things in life and may serve him well later on.

Therapeutic service.

A child who does not understand human behavior ---often temporarily, as when Mom scolds him—may well turn to an animal to vent his feeling and express sadness. Because a pet is never judgmental, the child experiences total acceptance and no discouragement which lessens his hurt and raises his self-respect. This can be a positive factor whose influence on the child can never be quantified even later.

In short, a child’s humanity is enhanced by his constant association with a friendly, affectionate pet animal. Children who grew up with a pet tend to become better adults in many ways afterwards. 

Featured images:

This article was written by Claire from Easipetcare - nationwide low cost vet centres. When Claire isn't blogging she loves spending time with her 2 kittens while tucking into her favourite book. 

5 Ways That Pets Can Help With A Child's Development

Somewhere along the line of a child’s development, he must learn about the world outside of his own individual needs and wants. While he can be left alone to find things and explore his surroundings, under adult supervision or care, he needs assistance for the most part. Pet animals can help in this instance if the child cannot have adult help.

More specifically, animals can help in the child’s development in the following aspects.

Physical development.

To strengthen and develop his muscles the right way, a child should exercise them through vigorous movement. Interacting with a frisky pet, the child will be encouraged to experiment with his motor skills, learning along the way. Aside from being fun, the child-animal interactive activities are never monotonous, though they may look routinary. In other words, running with the dog in the park will be more enjoyable than jogging alone around the neighborhood, no matter how pretty the area is.

Emotional development.

In many instances, pets that serve well are first given friendly attention, then lavished with loving affection. There are millions of stories about people considering pets as members of their families, to the point where the animals were endowed with inheritance and similar actions normally given to human relatives.

For a child, an animal may give unconditional loyalty and affection, so that it almost becomes a surrogate sibling when such is absent. Thus the child learns emotional reciprocity, responsibility, kindness and, yes, love and loving. The animal becomes the object as well as giver of affection that becomes a vehicle for emotional growth.

Furthermore, by learning that animals also have feelings, children may also learn to understand the animal better and therefore by extension, himself.

Social development.

A pet can serve as the focus or bridge of relationship between socially less open children, as well as become a social companion for the child in lieu, and even in spite, of the presence of peers. This latter becomes more important in instances where the child must have less social criticism and more acceptance. Animals give singular attention and often affection that the child can be less inhibited in expressing his feelings, resulting in better self-esteem.

Intellectual development.

A child will wonder why his pet acts one way and not another, obeys a command or not, responds to one way of calling and differently to another, so that he starts to associate a result to a previous condition, encouraging rationality. This post hoc, ergo propter hoc logic he can thus apply to other things in life and may serve him well later on.

Therapeutic service.

A child who does not understand human behavior ---often temporarily, as when Mom scolds him—may well turn to an animal to vent his feeling and express sadness. Because a pet is never judgmental, the child experiences total acceptance and no discouragement which lessens his hurt and raises his self-respect. This can be a positive factor whose influence on the child can never be quantified even later.

In short, a child’s humanity is enhanced by his constant association with a friendly, affectionate pet animal. Children who grew up with a pet tend to become better adults in many ways afterwards. 

Featured images:

This article was written by Claire from Easipetcare - nationwide low cost vet centres. When Claire isn't blogging she loves spending time with her 2 kittens while tucking into her favourite book. 

5 Characteristics Of An Excellent Service Dog

There are different types of service dogs. A service dog can provide assistance to those individuals who have a disability. This may include individuals with physical disabilities, visual limitations, or even Autism. There are also service dogs that are used in public service environments, police and fire departments as well as search and rescue dogs. No matter what the dog is used for there are certain characteristics that all great service dogs possess.

Good Health

Obviously all service dogs need to be strong, alert, and in excellent health. Potential guide dogs will be screened for health issues such as hip dysplasia and eye abnormalities. Service dogs are almost always required to be spayed or neutered. Fluctuating hormones will only impede the dog while trying to do its job.  Ultimately, a person has to be able to depend on their service dog, so obviously the fewer health issues the less risk involved.

The Right Age

Ideally, a service dog would work a maximum of eight years. By the time a dog is old enough to begin training and then fully completes training, the dog is approximately two years old. Even under the best of conditions the dog will most likely retire by age ten. If the dog is much older than four it is probably not worth the time or expense to train him.

The Proper Size

Depending on what exactly the service dog is needed for, the size of the dog is important. Usually service dogs need to be fairly large. German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors are often used as service dogs. Smaller dogs, however, can be used for certain needs. Chihuahuas are sometimes used as seizure alert or diabetic dogs. Some people may prefer to use a smaller sized dog for other needs as well. A smaller dog costs less to feed and can live comfortably in a small apartment.

Even Temperament

An excellent service dog must be even tempered. The dog shouldn't be fearful or get overly excited easily. On the other hand, the dog can't be overly aggressive either. There are professionals who are trained to test the temperament of a dog. This should be completed before a dog goes into training to become a service dog. Included in good temperament is adaptability. A good service dog needs to be able to adapt to a variety of stressful situations. The dog must also be able to bounce back quickly from a frightening experience.

Strong Work Ethic

Work ethic is an extremely important characteristic of a good service dog. After all, these dogs have been trained to do a job on a regular basis. Dogs that are inclined to take frequent naps or have low levels of energy are not suited to be service workers. Not only physical but mental stamina is required. Certain breeds of dog are better suited for this than others. The dog must be able to focus and concentrate at all times on the task at hand. A dog that is easily distracted would not make a good service dog.

Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.

Five Rules For Adopting vs. Buying a Dog

If you are thinking of offering a home to one of the thousands of dogs awaiting adoption in animal shelters across the country then first of all thank you for considering this option rather than simply deciding to buy a puppy.   There are far more dogs in the UK than there are willing dog owners, and evermore dogs are born each day as a result of dog breeding for profit and through owners not spaying or neutering their pets.

Charities like the RSPCA spend considerable time, effort and money rehoming dogs to people who want to adopt and they do so cautiously so as not to hurriedly place dogs for adoption only for the placement to fail. 

Here are the five basic ‘rules’ if you are considering adopting a dog.

  1. Do Your Research

What type of dog do you want?  Is there a particular breed you have in mind, or do you just know the sort of size of dog that you could comfortably accommodate in your home and garden?  What sort of characteristics do you want in a dog: loyalty, playfulness, companionship?  Do you want a puppy or would you be prepared to consider adopting a dog?

  1. Do Your Maths

How much will it cost to:

  • Feed your dog (ask the staff at the RSPCA if you are unsure of how much a particular size of dog would eat)?
  • Insure your dog (or have your dog treated by a vet for unexpected health problems)?
  • Vaccinate your dog and treat it for or prevent parasites? (Also ask how often you would have to do the latter).

Then work out how much all of this would cost you on a monthly basis and decide whether you can really afford to keep a dog.  There are other expenses, like buying collars and leads, toys and bedding, but these are usually one-off costs. 

  1. Don’t Overestimate Yourself

If you are thinking of rehoming a dog as part of a fitness drive, to encourage you to get out of the house and exercise more often, be honest with yourself as to how likely it is that you will really get up every morning and take your dog for a walk, even in the winter months.  Choose a dog that will suit your energy levels.

  1. Adopt for the Right Reasons

Never adopt a dog to teach your children ‘responsibility’ by handing over all responsibility for that dog to your children.  By adopting a dog you, the grown-up, will be the owner and have all the responsibility for caring for it.   

  1. Do Be Patient

Rescue dogs may take a while to settle down in a new home.  They may have experienced great hardships, abuse or neglect and it will take a while for them to adjust to having a safe, happy home.  Give them plenty of time to adapt to their new rules and environment and don’t be afraid to ask RSPCA staff for advice.

Follow these rules and find a dog that you can care for and love for years to come.

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This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, jewellery passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Jewllery, Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).