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From The Basket To The Boardroom: Taking Your Pets To Work

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Meet Griffin, a dog with a job. As Head of Canine Communications at Proctor and Gamble, Griffin’s days are spent attending boardroom meetings, visiting schools and representing his brand (which conveniently includes Iams dog food) the best he can. Griffin also has a number of canine co-workers in his office in Boston, as Proctor and Gamble’s pet care division is one of a growing number of pet friendly workplaces.

Griffin’s busy schedule includes encouraging other companies to allow dogs in the office, and it is now estimated that one in five workplaces in America now allow pets. The benefits are clear, as some of the biggest brands on the planet allow pets, proving that their presence can breed success. Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon and Build-a-Bear Workshop all allow pets in their head office, and all have reputations for being some of the best companies in the world to work for.

There are numerous benefits to taking your dogs (or in some cases cats) to work, confirmed by a recent study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. Looking at a small sample of 75 employees, whose stress levels of workers were monitored throughout the day, the study compared those who worked with a company that allowed dogs in the office, and those who didn’t. Workers who shared their desk with a dog had low levels of stress throughout the day, whereas those with no interaction with animals had their levels rise steadily throughout the day.

Help With Stress?

Stress leads to low morale and lost hours due to overwhelmed and sick workers. The presence of dogs can relax workers and increase productivity. Having a dog around also encourages employees to take a break from their work to have a quick play or pet, which helps recharge the batteries and make sure work levels are consistent throughout the day.

Pets also help co-workers get along, as dogs relax people and make them more approachable and easier to talk to. They act as a true ‘ice breaker’ in the workplace, and if someone is having a bad day, it’s always great to see the happy face and wagging tail of an affectionate canine.

Pet owners are usually nervous and stressed about leaving their sweethearts at home, so taking your pet to work can reduce that anxiety, and spread happiness throughout the office. Workers who don’t own any pets are able to share in the joy of a canine’s company.

Taking pets to work is also a great thing for the pet itself. Being inside an empty house all day is a less than ideal environment for dogs, who need plenty of exercise and attention. Being around people all day in a work place means dogs will quickly feel at ease and (hopefully) will even improve their behaviour!

Turning a workplace into a pet friendly zone requires a bit of effort, and there are some stumbling blocks. The decision needs plenty of thought and consideration, particularly if you have any co-workers with allergies or a fear of dogs, who may struggle in a workplace packed with pooches. 

Convincing The Boss

Purina, the dog food company, has started a scheme to encourage more workplaces to take their pets to work, and their website includes tips on how to encourage the boss and co-workers to make the leap. Preparation is relatively fuss free and easy, dogs will need to be kept in certain areas, and there should be plenty of sanitation equipment and plastic bags on had just in case there are any accidents! Dogs should also be fully vaccinated and introduced to other pets in the office gently (such as meeting outside the office for a little play) to get rid of any territorial issues.

Cats are a more difficult pet to approach, as they usually enjoy staying at home and sitting on top of warm laptops and unknowingly deleting all your work while having a nap. But feline interaction is also proven to reduce stress levels, as shown by the cat cafe craze that started in Tokyo and is spreading across Europe. These cafes are filled with office workers on their lunch break taking a break by having a coffee and playing with cats. There are plans to open one in London, much to the joy of workers in the capital.

Having pets in the workplace is a growing trend, and is here to stay. If you work with lots of pet lovers, introduce the idea at your next meeting and see if the presence of dogs can lead to productivity and success in your workplace!

Vicky works alongside http://www.hrprotected.co.uk/, a supplier of HR documents for employers. She has experience managing a HR department and is also an animal lover to boot!

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. 

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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. 

Caring For Your Pitbull Puppy

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If you have made the decision to expand your family with the addition of a new American pitbull puppy you may be curious as to what is needed to properly care for the animal. If you are a new pet parent, and are not experienced with training dogs from a young age, a new puppy can be a little intimidating, but fear not! Here are the best ways to care for your new puppy.

The Truth About Pitbulls

Pitbulls are the most commonly misunderstood and misrepresented breeds out there. They have a reputation of being violent and dangerous, but dog expert Cesar Milan explains that pitbulls are actually people-friendly animals. Cesar explains on his website that training a a dog like this requires a lot of responsibility and kindness, as these dogs are very dependant on their owners and respond better to positive reinforcement rather than scolding.

You May Still Want to Tell People the Breed—Maybe

When you decide to add a pitbull to your family, you will want to consider telling your friends and family that it is a pitbull you are acquiring says WikiHow. This is not to warn them as to the fact that you have a pitbull, but rather to educate them and dispel and myths they may have bought into about the breed. As previously mentioned, pitbulls are by nature people-friendly dogs and that they can freely interact with your dog. WikiHow cautions that you may want to think about whether or not it is in the best interest of you and your dog to inform your neighbors of your dog’s breed before they have gotten the opportunity to see first-hand what a loving animal it is.

Get the Heart Racing

Pitbulls need plenty of exercise to stay healthy, and this is something you need to get in the habit of when they are young. You should have your puppy out to run around once or twice daily for them to stay in the best shape. Some owners even train their pitbulls to run on treadmills for when the weather is bad, according to WikiHow.

Keep Them Entertained

If left to their own devices, pitbulls can become bored and will take it out on your furniture, or whatever they can get their teeth on. You want to be sure your pitbull has toys to keep them entertained, especially if you are not going to be home or able to pay attention to them. If you are leaving the house, enclose your pitbull in an area where there are not things they can ruin if they chew or scratch at them. Also, make sure you have plenty of chew toys for them to pay attention too, these will also come in handy for any car rides.

Whether you are getting one or several American pitbull puppies, any addition to the family is great for a pet parent. With some patience and plenty of love and attention your pitbull will thrive in your home and provide the companionship you and your family were looking for in a dog. 

Tony is an animal trainer and pit bull advocate and likes to share information with readers regarding this amazing dog

Hand Taming Small Animals

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The technique of training or taming small animals is different from that of a cat or dog. To begin with a dog or cat will share your living space. A hamster, rat or gerbil will have a cage of their own and the only way to get them out is to put your hand into their environment and pick them up. From your point of view you are showing love and affection, from theirs, they are being attacked in the land of the giants and need to protect themselves.

Gently does it

Understanding a situation from the perspective of the animal will greatly improve your ability to tame and train him. Being bought home from the pet shop will have been quite traumatic, so to being taken away from others of his kind and left in a cage of his own. Allow your new tiny pet to get used to its environment first. Put the cage in an area that isn’t too noisy but one where people can be seen and heard. A day or two after you have brought your little one home you can start to hand tame him.

First Steps

As always, when dealing with any pet, you need patience. Your first interaction with your pet should be a positive one, so start by talking to your pet before you make any attempt to open the cage. If the animal is particularly nervous he may hide when he hears your voice, or he may be ok with you talking but run when open the cage. Make sure when you open the cage that windows or doors are closed, just in case he makes a break for it. Hamsters and gerbils can move very fast and if you are in fear of being bitten it is easy for the escape bid to be successful.

Progress Slowly

Once you have opened the cage just rest your hand inside and see if he comes out to investigate. Before you do this however, make sure you have washed your hands with an unscented soap. If you smell of food you may be inadvertently bitten, and if you smell of perfume you may accidentally repel your pet.

If after a few days your pet is still reluctant to come over to your hand, you will need to be more proactive in developing a relationship. Try moving your hand closer to him, try not to corner him in such a way as to make him fearful but at the same time limit the places he can escape from you. Don’t go too close too quickly; remember patience, as always is the key.

Once he is happy with your hand in his cage you can now try to pick him up. Remember at the beginning I suggested you look at a situation from the pets perspective? Well if someone picked you up and you thought you were going to fall what would you do? I’m sure the answer to this would be anything you could to save yourself. So with that in mind, when you pick up your small pet, make sure he feels safe. Always put one hand underneath so he is completely cocooned in your hands. This will not only make him feel safe, but will reduce the risk of him making an escape.

And finally..

It is upsetting, not to say painful if you get bitten or scratched, but do not let this put you off. Small pets that are not handled often revert quickly back to their wild state and cannot be hand tamed once they have reached adulthood.

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This guest post was written by Jason Balchand who has spent most of his life caring for alternative pets. He likes to share his knowledge through his blog and via his Facebook and Twitter pages.