ebruary is the season of love and it is not just about the romantic and mushy relationship between two people. It is also about strengthening bonds between family, friends, and of course, our loving household pets.
Pets give humans plenty of benefits and it’s not just because they’re adorable for being themselves. According to Telegraph UK, the presence of pets at home can boost anyone’s mood after a stressful work day.
London Medical Centre Consultant Psychologist Ingrid Collins found in her study that pets are better “than Prozac” because they bring things “back to basics” such as comfort, feeding, and cuddling, which they reciprocate back to humans as well.
The presence of an animal alone is a great benefit to human psyche itself. Therapy dogs are proof that pets and domesticated animals can help in healing hurtful and traumatic events experienced by children. Many organizations and lega departments in the United States have been using pet therapy for years as a way to help children and even adults feel comfortable and safe when facing their aggressors during a trial.
A fruitful, symbiotic relationship between humans and pets starts by strengthening the bond between the two. If you’re a new pet owner or you would like to improve your relationship with your pet at home, here are a few ways to do it.
1. Clear Communication By Sending Proper Signals
Think of your dog or cat as someone who speaks a different language. Aside from their barks and meows, their body language can give you insight about their feelings. Some of these gestures can be similar, such as looking at you eye-to-eye or bowing as if they did something wrong. However, these can mean different things to them.
In this light, it is important to take note of your dog or cat’s habits and mannerisms especially when they interact with you.
Dogs for example want to appease you by licking your ears, blinking, or licking their lips. Yawning, turning away from an item or situation presented to them, and raspy panting can be signs of stress or discomfort in dogs.
Cats have a different way of expressing themselves. According to Petfinder, their tails indicate their current mood. For example, a cat with an erect tail indicates it is in a happy and approachable mood. However, unlike dogs, a cat that wags its tail is not happy; it might mean it is agitated or stressed.
Learning these signs of communication helps pave the way for humans to respond correctly and strengthen their bond with their pets, so take note of them!
2. Bond Together With Good Food
Your mood improves when you eat food. In fact, when you eat organic food and balanced meals, your mood and health improves. This is the same with all animals. Food creates positive reinforcement by enhancing the mood of your pets. We believe it can strengthen the bonds between humans and pets. A healthy and delicious treat as a reward during training and a balanced meal for your pet helps improve your relationship with them.
Our brand is dedicated to formulating and making only the best, healthiest food for pets. Our excellent products such as our tasty Brushtail, Beef, and Chicken treats for dogs and our Salmon Bleu and Venison dry foods for cats ensure that your pets will be healthy as they are happy eating with you.
The way to any dog or cat’s heart regardless of their happy, grumpy, or imposing personality is through food. If they know the food they eat has received lots of attention and love during preparation, then they will always trust in your care.
3. Spend Time and Give Them Attention (They Can Tell!)
Just like friendly and romantic human relationships, you and your pets need to spend time together. Your pets can sense when you are giving them attention because they too observe their companions including their humans.
Make sure to spend quality one-on-one time together with your pet. If they are still young, begin their training early because it helps them differentiate things they can chew or scratch. It also embeds obedience and respect in the household.
Bestfriends.org lists great activities you can do with your dogs. You can run through obstacle courses for agility training or go to dog parks and train them to catch frisbees.
Cats enjoy bonding with their humans as well. According to Care.com, you can listen to lighthearted or classical music with them, use a yarn to play with them, or just stare at the environment with them on the porch or the window.
The most important thing is to be present with your pets when you spend time with them. They want your complete attention when you decide to bond with them.
4. Be Sensitive To Your Pets in All Situations
Pets can experience emotional and psychological pain. However, because they express themselves in subtle ways, without a closer look, you might misread your pet as having fun or relaxing.
Psychology Today dubs the emotional abuse and the pets’ minimal expressions regarding the experience as “an invisible world of hurt.” In fact, pets can feel rejection, terror, taunting, isolation, abandonment, and even pressure to achieve an objective or follow a command.
Treat your pets as you would treat other people or even young children. Going home in a bad mood and being openly expressive about your aggression can trigger a dog or cat’s fight or flight mechanism and unnecessarily elevate their stress levels. When playing together, observe your pet and look out for signs of tiredness or stress.
In the wake of disasters or traumatizing events, humans and pets can comfort each other by doing one of the most human things in the world: consoling one another.
5. Assertive Enforcement of Rules and Limitations
It does benefit both you and your pet if you keep close watch to their feelings and address their concerns. However, there is such a thing as “over-caring” or “over-loving” your pet. Enslaving yourself unnecessarily for the happiness of your dog or cat is not beneficial to your pets. In fact, it makes your bond with them worse than ever.
Both dogs and cats can have dominant traits. They can threaten you in the household if they’re not pleased with their food or if you are not giving them attention. These dominant pets can even attempt to hurt you to get what they want.
Renowned “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Milan has a few pointers to help counter dominant dog behavior. Asserting your authority and laying down rules and limitations for them helps dogs focus their dominance and express themselves without being harsh or hurtful. These include limiting the spaces they visit in your household, withholding their food until they are calm and submissive, and waiting for you to go into and out the door.
Meanwhile, spoiling a cat can contribute to its dominant behavior. Cats that display narrowed, furtive glances and twitching tails are often signs of dominance in the household. It is important to let them finish the act you consider troublesome and then enforce non-physical punishments. These include isolating them in a room if they are rowdy in the general living space and training them with positive reinforcement to obey and follow your commands so they can receive their food.