Your First Pet: Rules For Them – And Rules For You!




Pets bring joy to our lives, in ways which range from the deeply emotional to the downright silly. If you never had a pet, you'd never get to use the sentence “I'm sorry, I can't talk now. The dog is trying to bury a sausage in the carpet.” And frankly, it's worth having pets for that alone.


Of course, having pets means having to look after a creature that sometimes requires quite a lot of looking after. Having kids is complicated, but after a certain age you can explain to them why things happen.


You can tell them that those things under the sink are not to be drunk because they are dangerous. And they will understand and not drink them. A dog? Well, if they want to eat the washing powder that spilled on the carpet, they don't see a reason not to. So you have to be vigilant and train them in good behavior.


Pet care can be as simple or as complicated as you're prepared to make it. You just need some ground rules. Rules for them, and rules for you.


Pets On The Furniture?


Every house has its own rules regarding whether they allow pets on the furniture. The simple truth is that if you have a furry friend, they will want to get on chairs, sofas, and beds. Take it as a compliment – as well as being comfortable, these places smell of you, and that's why they're attractive to cats and dogs.


Of course, pets on the furniture also means fur on the furniture. So you need to commit either to vacuuming up a lot of pet hair every few days, or keeping them from getting up there. It takes some training to persuade a dog that they aren't allowed up there, but they will get it. A cat? They'll sit right there and look you in the eye while they do so. So if you're out, close them out of any room they shouldn't be in.


If you're on the furniture at the time, then the pet can always sit on you. There may be some fur deposits afterwards, but you'd have them on your clothes anyway.


Toilet Etiquette For Cats And Dogs




There are considerable differences between the way a cat and a dog use the toilet. For a dog, needing to go means needing to go outside. The best way of doing this is taking them out for a walk and letting nature take its course. And then picking up any solids they may have deposited. Yes, it may feel demeaning initially, but it's better than paying a fine. If you have a garden, then let them out regularly.


For a cat, you'll need to litter-train them from kittenhood. When they are showing signs of needing to go, you'll know. Early on, they'll try to go somewhere they feel safe (which means on the floor in a family room, usually). Pick them up and put them in the litter tray. Cat litter is formulated to feel like where cats would go if they were in the wild. It lets them bury what they do – good news for all concerned.


The key is to clear the litter tray after they have been. Pick out any solids and put them in the garbage. Don't be tempted to flush them – cat litter will block the toilet. If you've already been doing that, look at sites like You may need some help soon.


Pets And Kids: No Need For A Battle



Kids will usually adore the family pet and want to spend a lot of time with it. The pet may not be as into it, initially, as kids aren't always aware of how to correctly handle a cat or dog. A poke or pull in the wrong place can lead to a defensive reaction from a pet and an injury to the kid. Spend time with them and show your child how the dog likes to be petted, where a cat likes to be stroked.


For these reasons, it is always best to get a kitten or a puppy to begin with. They will get used to the people around them and will grow up knowing your ways – and those of your kids. At that point, their defense mechanisms aren't fully defined. So you can always be confident of them understanding your little ones.


The other thing to be aware of here is that while you may have your rules for the pet, your kids may not be as disciplinarian. So you may need to reinforce why pets can't eat certain things like those mentioned on – and go in certain places. Underline that it is for the good of the dog (or cat), and your child will understand.


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