Tips for Bonding with a New Pet for First-Time Owners

Pet Bonding Photo

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

One of the main reasons we, as humans, decide to adopt a new pet is so that we can have a new companion in our lives. We don’t just want to open up a dog or cat hotel – we want an intimate bond with our pets. For first-time pet owners, knowing how to create a strong bond can be difficult. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it’s not so simple. Here are some tips to ensure you and your new pet bond.

Start training your dog immediately

Whether you’re adopting an older dog or getting a puppy, it’s vital that you begin to train them as soon as they step foot into their new home. Dogs prefer structure and purpose, and an untrained dog is not just a pain – it’s an unhappy dog. When your dog is properly trained, you can spend more time enjoying each other’s company and less time trying to correct/discipline bad behaviors.

“Well-trained dogs are allowed greater freedom. If they come when called, they get to spend more time off leash. If they don’t go for the food on the table, they can stay nearby during meals. Training also reduces frustration because when you ask your dog to do something he’s been taught to do, he knows what you want,” says TheBark.com.

Always remain calm

Dogs and cats pick up on your energy, and if you are angry, nervous, or stressed out around them, they’re going to know it. It’s important to always be calm when dealing with your new pet – even if they’ve just eaten through your favorite pair of jeans or broken your grandma’s favorite vase.

The quickest ways to damage the bond between you and your pet is to be aggressive – physically or emotionally. And this sort of damage is very hard to reverse. Dogs have a hard time recovering from fear.

Be generous with the praise

“Praising your dog is a super easy way to let him know that you appreciate his good behavior, which will encourage him to continue making the right decisions. There are endless daily opportunities to give your dog positive feedback,” says PetMD.

You don’t have to give your dog treats every time they do anything good, a nice pat on the head, belly rub, and “atta boy” will do just fine. But it’s important that you always acknowledge good behavior, instead of just reacting to bad behavior. Physical contact is one of the best ways to bond with your new pet.

Spend lots of time with them

This may sound like a no brainer, but with cats and dogs alike, the most important way to develop a strong bond is to spend a lot of time together. Some people mistakenly think that pets are mostly solitary creatures who can spend a lot of time alone, and just a few interactions a day is enough to make them happy. If you want a strong bond, however, you have to do things together. If you work long days or your job requires you to be gone during the night or on lengthy business trips, you may need to make considerations for your pet to get some attention and exercise. You can seek out a local dog walking service, for instance. Or you can have a friend come over and play with your new pet when you’re not around.

The main ways in which you can create a stronger bond with your new pet are to give it plenty of attention, train it to the best of your ability, always stay calm and never be mean or aggressive, and be overly generous with the praise. If you start with those steps, you’ll be well on your way to forming a rewarding friendship with your new animal pal.

 

 

Outdoor Cats and Winter

With the arctic blast we’re all feeling, we’ve had several calls about what people can do to help their neighborhood cats through the winter.  It doesn’t have to be expensive to provide safety and shelter to outdoor cats.

Food:
Keep dry food protected from moisture.  This could mean putting it in a sheltered place, or elevating it above the level of the snow.  Keep in mind that wet/canned food will freeze just like water, so keeping dry food out in the winter is the best option.

Water:
Water freezes, but there are good solutions including electric or solar heated bowls.  Find a great in-depth article about good water solutions from NeighborhoodCats.Org here:  http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/colony-care/stop-freezing-water

Shelter:
Shelter is the biggest concern for outdoor cats.  These cats, the ones that have been outside for more than one winter, acclimate to the low temperatures and put on extra padding for the winter just like any other outdoor mammal, however sometimes that just isn’t enough.  You can give them a boost by constructing a simple and affordable shelter.  Alley Cat Advocates has put together a great step-by-step shelter tutorial that would be a fun weekend project.  It’s simple enough that even your kids can help you!  Get the PDF download here:  http://alleycatadvocates.org/assets/ACA-winter-shelter.pdf

Medical Care:
If you see a sick or injured cat that needs medical care, you can either take the cat to the vet on your own, knowing that it will be at your expense, or you can contact your local animal services agency and find out what they can provide for sick or injured stray animals.

In Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement can pick up the cat, or you can bring it to the shelter at 2500 Lake St.  The cat will not be returned to the colony, but it also won’t be suffering.  Friendly stray cats that can be treated can be pl aced for adoption, however feral cats will likely be euthanized.

The most important thing you can do for a neighborhood with a stray cat problem is SPAY and NEUTER!  By eliminating the possibility of future litters of kittens, you can manage the cats that are already there without having them destroyed.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society offers affordable spay/neuter help for feral cats.  For more information on our current feral cat program, visit our website at:  http://kazoohumane.org/ofi/ferals.php

 

Senior Services Pet Food Drive

Senior Services is one of the largest and most comprehensive organizations serving older adults and persons with disabilities.  They provide vital, life sustaining services to their clients.  Serving Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties, as well as other portions of Southwest Michigan, Senior Services has been caring for those in need for over 50 years.  Their integrated model of care helps keep their clients living safely within their own homes.  With just one call to Senior Services a complete array of services become available.  When you call Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, “One call does it all”.

Donate Pet Food to help keep seniors and Pets together –

Monday October 10th marked the kick off for the annual Pet Food Drive, a project of RSVP – Your invitation to Volunteer and Cool 101FM. The drive will run from Oct 10-14. Pet food collected will help seniors who may be struggling financially to feed their pets while meeting their own needs.

Here’s how you can help: spread the word, make a pet food or monetary donation at Senior Services in Kalamazoo or at Cool 101 collection events listed below.

Needed:  Dry dog and cat food in 10 pound bags or smaller for easy handling by seniors and monetary donations.

  • Senior Services of Southwest Michigan 918 Jasper St.
    Monday, Oct. 10—Friday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m.— 4:30 p.m.
  • Cool 101 FM Live Broadcasts at these Harding’s Friendly Markets:
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Mon., Oct. 10—5161 W. Main, Kalamazoo
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Tues., Oct. 11—618 N. Riverview, Parchment
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Wed., Oct. 12—3750 W. Centre St., Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 13—6330 S. Westnedge, Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14—6430 W. Stadium Dr., Oshtemo
  • For more information: Call Senior Services at 269-382-0515 or call Cool 101 FM at 269-343-1111

Get the PDF flyer here!

 

Doggie In The Window for 4/20/16

Catch the Doggie in the Window show on local channel 190 (Local Government). Click here for the Channel 190 Schedule. Doggie In the Window is a collaborative show between Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE), Save our Strays, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Public Media Network. The show features animals from KCASE and is updated each Thursday. If you are interested in a pet, or are missing a pet, please contact KCASE. The best way to view a pet is to go to the shelter in person. Shelter staff cannot tell you if a pet is yours or sign you up to adopt a pet over the phone.

Cats at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Dogs at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Conquering the Carrier and Other Feline Veterinary Visit Barriers

We can tell from the support of our community members and the care they show their pets that they do not intend to neglect the health of their pets by not seeking preventative veterinary care. Actually we know that many owners feel that these visits can do more harm than good by placing unnecessary stress on their pet and choose to keep them home for these reasons. In order to keep both you and your pet happy we have compiled a list of suggestions that may aide in decreasing the stress of veterinary visits.

To begin, we suggest finding a veterinarian that is best suited to the needs of you and your cat. There are a wide variety of veterinary services and specialties and finding a veterinarian who fits the specific needs of your cat may help ease some of your pet’s anxiety. Cats who are particularly nervous about interacting with dogs may benefit from a feline only practice where they will not risk the smells and sights of encountering another species. However, if you’d like the ease of being able to take both your cat and dog to the same clinic, many now offer separate waiting and exam rooms for dogs and cats in order to decrease these scents and interactions. Additionally, a handful of area vets have taken additional steps to demonstrate their dedication to improving the quality of feline care by becoming approved by the American Association of Feline Practitioners. A list of these veterinarians can be found by visiting http://www.catvets.com/cat-owners/find-vets-and-practices.

Once you have made your appointment you can start laying the groundwork for a successful vet visit.

One of the biggest mistakes we make as cat owners is only bringing out our cat’s carrier when it is time to go to the vet. This may cause our cat to associate and develop a strong aversion to their carrier. In order to make the carrier a positive place for your cat, you can bring it out several weeks before your scheduled visit and allow them to acclimate themselves to the carrier on their terms. Placing a blanket they like or an item of clothing with your scent on it may help to entice your cat to enter the carrier on their own. Another option is to spray these items with a synthetic feline pheromone spray such as Feliway, which can be found in most major pet stores. This pheromone helps produce a calming effect on most cats and may aide in decreasing anxiety associated with the carrier. Additionally, your pet’s favorite toys, treats, or catnip may help entice them into the carrier and help them to feel safe and comfortable while inside the carrier.

Once your pet has learned that they are safe inside their carrier you can start taking them for practice drives in your car to get them used to the routine of leaving the house in their carrier. At first this may only be a trip around the block but as your cat’s comfort level increases, so can your travel time. These trail runs will also help your cat associate riding in the car with positive experiences as well as veterinary visits.

Now that you have successfully carrier and car trained your cat you are finally ready for your veterinary visit. To help acclimate your pet to these new surroundings it is best to leave them inside the carrier while in the waiting room to help limit the stimuli they are receiving. Cats naturally instinct is to run and hide and this could be a very dangerous situation if they are in an unfamiliar location and escape the office. It is best to comfort them through the door of their carrier until you enter the exam room. Once you are in the exam room, per the veterinary staff’s instruction you may remove your cat from it’s carrier and allow them to acclimate to their new environment. In order to ease any anxiety felt by your pet at this time you may bring their favorite treats or brushes if they enjoy being groomed and allow the veterinary staff to meet your pet using these items. This will ensure that your pet is getting positive reinforcement that they will accept throughout this interaction and will increase the likelihood that your veterinary visit will be successful.

These tips may also prove to be useful to owners attempting to make the trip with their pet to our low cost spay and neuter clinic. Pets undergoing surgery should not consume any food, including treats, prior to surgery per the instructions received regarding your pet’s spay or neuter surgery.

If you need help finding a veterinarian in greater Kalamazoo, try the new Resource Directory on our website!

Doggie in the Window for 1/20/16

Catch the Doggie in the Window show on local channel 190 (Local Government). Click here for the Channel 190 Schedule. Doggie In the Window is a collaborative show between Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE), Save our Strays, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Public Media Network. The show features animals from KCASE and is updated each Thursday. If you are interested in a pet, or are missing a pet, please contact KCASE. The best way to view a pet is to go to the shelter in person. Shelter staff cannot tell you if a pet is yours or sign you up to adopt a pet over the phone.

Cats at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Dogs at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


$20 Female Cats Spays; February Only!

Warmer weather may still be months away, but the Kalamazoo Humane Society wants you to “Beat the Heat” by spaying your cat in advance of her heat cycle and preventing unwanted litters from being born this spring. Animal shelters commonly refer to spring time as “kitten season” because that is when they receive the largest influx of unwanted litters that are difficult to adopt.

Cat Owners should “Beat the Heat” before spring with the Kalamazoo Humane Society’s spay/neuter campaign.  Sponsored by PetSmart Charities®, “Beat the Heat” provides $20 spay surgeries for female cats.

 

That’s why the Kalamazoo Humane Society is offering a special “Beat the Heat” campaign sponsored by PetSmart Charities, the largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America Through the “Beat the Heat” campaign, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide $20 spay surgeries for female cats during the month of February.

Spaying and neutering is one of the most effective ways to reduce the homeless pet population and is safe for kittens as young as eight to 10 weeks old, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Spaying a female cat before the first heat cycle can be beneficial, improving the health of the pet by reducing the risk of certain reproductive cancers and infections.

“Female cats can have as many as three litters a year, and kittens can breed as young as four months old,” says Julie Barber, Director of Community Connections for the Kalamazoo Humane Society. “Most people don’t want to see their cat get pregnant over and over again, so hopefully our “Beat the Heat” campaign will serve as a gentle reminder to cat owners to sterilize their cats before they go into heat this year.”

This special $20 rate is even less than the organization’s normal low-cost price and is available to all residents in southwest Michigan. Cat parents who wish to take advantage of this offer must mention the “Beat the Heat” campaign when they schedule their appointment. This campaign is based on availability.

Thanks to the PetSmart Charities grant, the Kalamazoo Humane Society will provide 400 female cat “Beat the Heat” sterilizations for $20 in February. Please visit http://www.kazoohumane.org or call 269-345-1181 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

PetSmart Charities’ “Beat the Heat” campaign provides more than $616,370 to spay/neuter clinics to fund affordable, high-quality spay and neuter surgeries for more than 19,536 female cats across the nation during the month of February.

About the Kalamazoo Humane Society:

Founded in 1897, the Kalamazoo Humane Society provides humane education, pet population control and emergency response services to pets and pet owners throughout Kalamazoo County. Find out more at http://www.kazoohumane.org, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

About PetSmart Charities:

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit animal welfare organization that saves the lives of homeless pets. More than 400,000 dogs and cats find homes each year through our adoption program in all PetSmart® stores and our sponsored adoption events. PetSmart Charities grants more money to directly help pets in need than any other animal welfare group in North America, with a focus on funding spay/neuter services that help communities solve pet overpopulation. PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization, separate from PetSmart, Inc.

Doggie in the Window for 1/6/16

Catch the Doggie in the Window show on local channel 190 (Local Government). Click here for the Channel 190 Schedule. Doggie In the Window is a collaborative show between Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE), Save our Strays, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Public Media Network. The show features animals from KCASE and is updated each Thursday. If you are interested in a pet, or are missing a pet, please contact KCASE. The best way to view a pet is to go to the shelter in person. Shelter staff cannot tell you if a pet is yours or sign you up to adopt a pet over the phone.

Cats at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Dogs at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Aaron Winters talks “Holiday Pet Hazards” on WKZO this morning

WKZO LogoPet hazards are a real danger at any time of year, but keeping an eye on Fluffy and Fido during the holiday season, and knowing what to keep an eye out for can be daunting to any pet owner.  Don’t sacrifice the safety of your pet for seasonal decorations.  Is your house pet-friendly this season?  Find out!

Doggie In the Window for 12/17/15

Catch the Doggie in the Window show on local channel 190 (Local Government). Click here for the Channel 190 Schedule. Doggie In the Window is a collaborative show between Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE), Save our Strays, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Public Media Network. The show features animals from KCASE and is updated each Thursday. If you are interested in a pet, or are missing a pet, please contact KCASE. The best way to view a pet is to go to the shelter in person. Shelter staff cannot tell you if a pet is yours or sign you up to adopt a pet over the phone.

Cats at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Dogs at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


KHS Blog Authors

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