Do you have a bored dog or cat at home? One way to tell they’re bored is that they might be mischievous or even destructive. Not because they‘re bad, but just because they are bored. This is one of several reasons every pet needs a job. Every Pet! Including rabbits, rats and birds!
Jobs are very important, as I talked about in the expectations post. Having a job helps one meet expectations and fulfill purpose.
You’re likely well aware that some dogs have the job of protecting a house. Well, that’s just one possible job out of many options.
It doesn’t need to be complex or even productive; it only serves to give them something to do, especially when they’re alone and bored. They can have more than one job, and their job may change periodically, and that’s okay. Every animal, people included, are happier when they do a job well and get praised for it.
Finding a good job for your pet might take a little bit of work, or it might jump right out at you. The key is to take a look at their personality traits and determine what they are already good at, or could improve.
For example, do you have a shy animal that could use more socialization? If it’s not too hard on them, make them the greeter, the entry inspector or sunshine committee chair to initially welcome newcomers to the neighborhood. Or how about one that loves to do tricks? Maybe they are the next dinner party entertainment or daily comic relief. A very routine-driven animal might make a good house manager, morning alarm, or reminder of scheduled tasks.
On the other hand, if there is a misbehavior issue going on, then you’ll want to play down that aspect of the animal and assign something more positive. For example, don’t give an aggressive dog the job of protector; instead play up the nurturing or care-taking or teaching side, letting them know they’ve done a fine job protecting and now they can move into a more loving job. Don’t give a frequent barker the job of sentry or alarm; give them a quieter job such as critter control or bed warmer.
These don’t have to be full-time jobs, or even serious jobs; just find something that will allow them to shine and feel like a productive member of the home. I’ve known cats that help feed the chickens and dogs that check on the garden every morning, making sure all plants are accounted for.
Where to start? Take an assessment of your pet’s behavior – is there a behavior that you don’t care for? What kind of personality would exhibit that behavior? There are likely several answers to that question, so you also have to look at running themes in your pet’s life of behavior and likes/dislikes. For example, your cat is constantly shredding the papers left laying around when you leave. Either this is a bored cat that loves to play and destruct, or they are upset with you (which is not covered in this blog!). Say they’re bored, and you know that they love to explore. Maybe every day when you leave you assign them to one room to fully check for buggy intruders and check inventory, or if they are allowed outside, make sure they fully investigate all corners of the yard.
As mentioned earlier, they don’t have to be productive or full-time jobs; they just need something to keep them busy and something they can succeed at. Always recognize them for their successes!
Please share this with someone that would be interested!