If you find your dog’s barking or your cat’s scratching objectionable, decide what you are going to do and do it every single time your pet misbehaves. If you are conscientious, your pet will be better behaved within about three weeks. If you waver, the process will take much longer.
Pet’s Bad Manners Are Owner’s Fault
The hustle and bustle of the holidays may bring out your cat’s or dog’s worst manners, but you can correct your pet’s etiquette. Your pet’s bad manners are partly your fault, according to an article in “Country Living,” because you didn’t nip bad behavior in the bud. Make a resolution to use behavior modification techniques to improve your pet’s manners. The key is consistency. If you find your dog’s barking or your cat’s scratching objectionable, decide what you are going to do and do it every single time your pet misbehaves. If you are conscientious, your pet will be better behaved within about three weeks. If you waver, the process will take much longer.
Here are some specific suggestions:
- Barking – The best way to teach a dog to be quiet is to train him to bark on command. When he barks, use a command such as “Speak,” and praise him. Once he connects “Speak” with barking, introduce the command “Quiet.” If necessary, hold his muzzle shut the first few times you issue the command. Reward him for being quiet. Practice these commands at times when your pet wouldn’t ordinarily bark. Then start using them when someone is at the door.
- Incessant Barking – When you are away, incessant barking is harder to control. A companion animal or leaving the radio on may help. If he starts barking soon after you leave, you can return and scold him or invest in a sound activated tape of a one-minute scolding whenever the dog starts to bark.
- Jumping – If you don’t want your pet to jump on guests, you must teach him not to jump on anyone, including you, tell him “No” sharply, if he doesn’t respond, hold his front feet and bring your knee to his chest, forcefully but not brutally. An alternative is to teach him to “Sit” and “Stay” and use those commands when someone arrives at the door.
- Cat Nipping and Scratching – If the cat attacks because it is afraid, physical discipline won't work. Instead, hold the cat while you greet strangers, have them approach it gently and tell them how it likes to be stroked. The alternative is to shut it in a room where it feels safe. If the cat attacks guests to defend its territory, the best response is a squirt of water from an atomizer.
- Relentless Meowing – You may have inadvertently trained your cat by offering it food when it meows. To decondition it, set up a strict feeding schedule with no between meal snacks. If boredom is the cause, create a quick diversion by pulling out a Ping Pong ball, hanging a wad of crumpled tissue from a string, opening a closet or leaving an empty bag on the floor. – Associated Press, 1986
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia