Would your pet consider you the fun one or the task master?
In other words, do they get away with more when you are in the house or out of the house?
Just like children, pets will behave according to a particular person’s expectations, and so it is important that everyone in the house is on the same page. Think back to your childhood – you knew whether you’d get the answer you wanted by asking mom or dad. It’s no different now with your pet.
A woman asked me to talk to her dog to find out why the dog continued to use potty pads inside the house instead of going outside. The woman really preferred for the dog to go outside. A very quick conversation revealed that Dad found it much easier not to get up and open the door and expected the dog to just use the pads. You don’t even need an animal communicator to figure out this problem! It’s the path of least resistance: why should the dog even try to go outside when a) the pads are down and b) Dad is home?
What is needed is a conversation to get all the people following the same rules. It’s not always easy – roommates often don’t feel the same need to follow the rules as you do. Nor do children, so it’s important to make the rules accordingly so that they are followed.
I often have clients that share housing with other people and their animals. The two biggest issues I find are: there are different expectations for each person’s animal, and when you’re gone, your roommate won’t enforce your expectations for your animals. It’s like a blended step-family before the couple work together in establishing rules for all the kids.
There is another important piece to being consistent. Even if you live alone with just one animal, you need to be consistent in your expectations and follow-through.
Animals that are confused about house rules will appear as misbehaving, when in truth they really don’t know what your bottom-line expectation is. More on expectations here.
I spoke with a cat that often perched herself on the kitchen table to look outside and watch the neighborhood activities. Most of the time her owner would just walk by, or work around her, even petting and talking to her there. But sometimes the person would get so upset about the cat being on the table that the cat would get thrown off the table. This is inconsistent behavior in a nutshell – how does the cat know what is expected of her at any given moment?
Consistency is key to harmony. Help your animal behave well by keeping the behavior rules applied by everyone and all the time. They really do want to please you!
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