We all love pets and most of us choose, or wish, to live with them at various stages of our lives. Many of us claim that their house becomes a home when we add a pet. Having pets around the home not only provides a lot of joy and happiness but sometimes they can be a little testing as well. This is especially true when they are puppies and kittens:
- Toilet training
- miss behaviour
- those little surprises left around the home
But although these things are stressful at the time, these things are really few and far between really. There is nothing like coming home and being greeted by your dog. Honestly no-one else is going to greet you with such an enthusiasm. Even your kids, especially the teenage variety, find it difficult to interrupt their device viewing to welcome you. Your dog, however, will run, jump, bark, tail wag and genuinely make you feel loved
Cats on the other hand may not be quite as enthusiastic in their welcome. Most cats, however, will silently lift their head from their slumber, twitch their ears, then return to the all-important snoozing. Honestly that’s just cat’s and if you have one or two you will certainly be more than aware of this.
With all that in mind here are a few tips to help you through those testing moments with your much-loved pet and I can tell both Em and I have had a few pets over the years and each one brings it own challenges. Plus, with now living on a farm I (Bel) can now add in a few extra to this, Shawn the sheep just to name one.
Toileting outside the kitty tray
Let’s look at easy fixes to kitten and cats around the home. Kittens and even older cats can at times pee or toilet in general around the home.
For kittens this may be that you need a little more time and patients with toilet training or it can mean other things as well. You may need to change to another kind of kitty litter, sorry to say but some kittens and even your older cat can be fussy so you may need to change the brand or type of kitty litter you are using to find one that they like to use. It could also be the tray it self. Cats really!!
But I even found that as my cats got older their needs changed and I did have to change their tray to help them to use the tray more easily.
It also might be the location of the tray, if you have changed the litter and they are still not using it then try moving the tray to another area of the house and see if you cat will start to use it.
The best tip I can give you to assist with stopping your kitten or cat from peeing around the house, a very easy and simple. Grab a spray bottle fill it with vinegar and some essential oils. Either citronella or peppermint work really well.
Cats do not seem to like the smell and will not go near the area once sprayed. Make sure you use white vinegar and as an added bonus to this spray it also helps to deter bugs and spiders from entering your home.
Note: On a side note make sure if your spraying on fabric or furniture do a test spot first, after all you are using vinegar and oil these can leave a mark.
Scratching the Furniture
This one I have experienced to the extreme and had to replace a lounge suite because they just destroyed it. But actually this one is pretty easy to fix once you know how too.
To protect the arms of the couch my very handy partner made up 2 corner post with a base to fit around the corner of the arm. Then wrapped it in carpet. Perfect fit and this solved our issue with the cats scratching the arms of the lounge suite. For tips to make your own arm protection scratching post take a look at our post here.
Now most cats will use a scratching post that you can buy in all sorts of sizes and forms. So give that a go first. Cat nip can also be used to help entice them to use it as well. For an easy and no cost option, might be that your cat may enjoy scratching on a large tree branch.
Another option is to put a heavy blanket over the lounge suite to help protect it from the cats in general. They will claw the blanket and your couch will survive.
Again, if they still want leave the lounge alone then try the vinegar and essential oil mix to help deter them from going near the couches. If your concerned about it marking your furniture then the spray works if you spray it in the area, like the floor and walls. Essentially it’s about putting the smell they don’t like in the area you don’t want them go.
This one can be tricky and to start with make sure your plants are cat friendly, some plants are poisonous to cats. Always make sure you check what type of plants you have. With that sorted let’s look at some of the issues and how to fix them.
Digging and toileting in the soil
This one can be really annoying on a few angles, soil over the floor and your plant is not going to like the cat pee. Some of the options to try and I will be completely honest with you, I could not stop my cats from eating my indoor plants and had to get rid of them, even cut flowers did not stand a chance. But you can try putting chicken wire (fine wire) over the base of the pot to stop the access to the soil. This will work in most cases. But if still determined try laying the chicken wire on the soil and covering with rocks.
I know that this will make it more difficult for you when you have to re-pot, but some things need to be done. Another option is pepper or cyan pepper sprinkled on the soil and on the plant. This should work to deter the cats but not always. Again, try the white vinegar and peppermint spray on the pot and soil. Just avoid spraying it on the plant as you don’t want to harm or damage your plant.
The other option is to train your cat not to go near the plant in the first place, a spray bottle with water will do the trick. But you do need to catch them in the act for this work. When you see you cat near or in the act or eating or digging the pot plant spray them with the water, they will quickly learn that it is not a nice feeling going near the plant. However, what you cat does when your not is another issue.
Cats are very independent and will do most things when you are not around.
Hanging from Fly screens or curtains.
This one is a simple solution most cats like to be able to be up high and to be able to see the world pass them by. They don’t necessarily need to interact with the world but they look to keep an eye on it. Most cats will try to climb your curtains to look at the window – so an easy fix is to ensure that they have a spot they can see all the action outside without destroying you curtains to see. This can be a chair placed near the window or a tall scratching post with a landing pad will work well.
In some instances, it can be that the cat is chasing a insect, not a lot can be done on this front but again some rules apply it the cat gets into a habit of doing it you need to stop the behaviour when you see it. Spray bottle with water works really well.
But I would try spraying the fly screen with vinegar and peppermint to stop them going near it in the first place.
Puppies and dogs are easier to train then cats but all dogs no matter the age will chew and destroy given the opportunity. Make sure you..
1. Puppy proof your home (just like you would for a small child) there really is no difference in these circumstances.
2. Make sure everything you treasure, or value is put up out of reach or put away. Let’s be honest if you leave your favourite shoes on the floor then your inviting for them to be chewed.
3. Please do not give them a shoe or slipper of their own, this does not work, and they will only think you are giving them permission to chew all shoes. Big Mistake.
4. Give them their own toys and let them destroy and chew them to their hearts content.
5. Don’t yell and tell your dog off, One they are not going to know what they did wrong especially if its well after the fact. Reinforce good behaviour that you want you dog and puppy to do with lots of praise and treats repeatedly.
Unfortunately, if your puppy or dog are toileting around the home then this is going to be one that needs a little time and patients. Unlike cats you will be able to tell when you puppy is wanting to go to the toilet, the trick is to ensure that you are watching for the signs and act quickly. They tend to stop what ever they are doing and start sniffing the ground or walking around in circles. This is the time to act quickly. Use a word like ‘Toilet’ or ‘pee pee time’. It doesn’t matter what you say just as along as you say the same thing every time you take you puppy outside to the toilet. Now once the go outside you need to praise them, this ensures that this is the right behaviour and is enjoyable too. Reinforce positive behaviour.
At no point do you want to tell your puppy off, yell or scream or try to rub their nose in the mess. I’m sorry to say but this just does not work as it is normally done after the fact and your puppy has no idea why you are yelling at them. This only installs fear in your puppy and the behaviour will continue. With a little patients and time your puppy will let you know when it wants to go to the toilet and you will no longer have to clean-up after them.
There really is only one very important rule when it comes to training your puppy or dog and that is do not yell at them, especially after the incident. Your puppy is not going to know what they have done wrong.
Instead reinforce positive behaviour, spend time playing with them to reinforce a positive environment and you will have a happy and content puppy. trust me this works at any age of the puppy or dog that you may have.
You need to work out from the start if you are going to allow your dog to sleep on your or the kids beds, or in a separate room. Which one you chose doesn’t matter but you need to do it from the start and continue it.
Trying to change this behaviour can be upsetting to you, the kids and the dog. For instance, my boys sleep inside in their own beds and they have done this from the beginning. However, they are allowed on the bed, just not to sleep at night.
Honestly the bed is way too small for 2 kelpie crosses, a shepherd and two humans. No -one, well only the shepherd would be getting a good night’s sleep. Lol. And lets not talk about ‘Shawn the sheep’.
So, decide from the get go on what you will allow and want, and this goes for the lounge as well. My boys know that unless the couch cover is on the lounge they are not allow on. You should see the rush when the cover goes on.
Digging in the garden is a natural behaviour for all dogs and can I say they don’t grow out this behaviour either. But there is a difference between digging for fun or for boredom. If it’s boredom, them make sure you address this and provide more stimulation for your dog especially when your not at home.
Again, with most things we have spoken about here it is no good trying to tell off you puppy or dog after the fact, unless you catch them in the act of digging. Again reinforce positive behaviour rather than the bad.
Try to give them somewhere they can dig like a sand pit, a kid’s plastic shell is perfect for this. This is also great to help with boredom as you can bury toys or treats for them to find throughout the day.
To stop the behaviour, it can sometimes work if you place their waste into the hole and fill it back over, but again this can be hit and miss.
It can also be the result that you dog is trying to find a cool place to lay, I know with mine they will even to this day (10 years old) dig to get the cool soil or in my case cool sand to lay in on a hot day. So, if this is the case try to make sure you have a cool shady place your dog can get out of the heat.
Another option that can work, and I will be honest you may have to try a few different tricks to get the one that works for your dog. Just like kids they are all different. Try sprinkling the particular area with pepper or chill this will help to deter your dog from the area or even the spray of vinegar and citronella works well. These option though will need to be reapplied as they do wear of especially with being outside and exposed to the weather.
Most importantly with any new pet, take the time to play and have fun this is the best training you can do to get you pet to listen to you and respect your authority.
If there is something you want to help with for you cat or puppy or even a lamb, leave a comment below we would love to help you and will answer any questions.
For tips of making your own shelter or kennel for your fury member then check out our post on DIY Pet Shelter.