Apr 28

As you teach your pet to stay off the furniture, consider this:  

“No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.”

Fran Lebowitz, Social Studies

Apr 6

Gardens and pets aren’t always compatible.   But with some prevention, training, and common sense, your whole family can enjoy a prettier yaristock_000003045715xsmall.jpgd.

Prevention is key in teaching indoor and outdoor manners.  When you first got your pet, you probably limited his access to certain areas in the house.  As he learned the house rules (no chewing, no house soiling, no furniture scratching, etc.), he earned more freedom, gradually and supervised, so you could teach him manners in new rooms in your house.  The boundaries you set up allowed you to prevent unwanted behaviors from becoming bad habits.

Think of your yard as another room in your house.  Boundaries in your “outdoor room” prevent problem behaviors (digging, chewing, escaping, etc.) from becoming your pets’ favorite games.  Restrict your dog’s access to sensitive areas of your yard when you can’t supervise to train.  Use fencing to protect planted areas, individual plants, and/or Pup (enclosed runs, exercise pens).  Kitty can get some fresh air and sunbathe in a cat enclosure, if you don’t want her to roam.  (Any pet enclosure should be at least partly shaded, with access to water and a clean, comfy place to rest.)

Make sure Pup is well exercised.  If he’s tired, he’s less likely to misbehave.  Spend time outside with him to train and play.  Provide lots of intriguing toys; give him more attention for proper play than for misbehaving.  Reward him for listening to you outside.

Pet-proof potted plants, beds and irrigation lines.  Large river rocks and buried wire mesh may deter many diggers.  Taste deterrents might help, but ask your vet what’s safe to use around pets and kids.  Put off-limit items in storage containers or sheds.  Remove any toxic plants and cocoa bean mulch.  Postpone new, safe plantings until your pet is more trustworthy.  Gradually, grant Pup well-earned freedom.

Soon, you’ll be able to peacefully coexist with your pets, enjoying the fruits of your labor.

© 2008 CritterConsulting