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Home and pet services to enhance your life

July 2022 Newsletter


Thoughts From FairyDust Services

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Keep our 4-legged friends comfortable and stress-free, as this is not their favorite holiday if they are frightened by loud noises. Special hugs and treats will help them through.

Aversions, Distractions, and Generalizations

Understanding the concepts above are fundamental to training your dog. Aversions are when Fido has a negative feeling about a command. Distractions happen when too much is going on around him and he can't concentrate (for example TV, other pets, or cars). Lastly, a generalization is when you expect your dog to take a concept and apply it to other situations. Now that we've defined the terms, let's look at how to apply them in training.

Fido may have developed an aversion to some of your commands. This often happens with a dog and his name. If you call Fido and get angry with him, he associates that anger with his name. Or if you call Fido and drag him to the tub for a bath (assuming Fido doesn't love a bath), he begins to think that his name means he's getting a bath. Make sure he associates positive experiences with what you are trying to teach him.

Start your training program in a quiet place with very few distractions. Maybe a room with no TV blaring and no people around. Train there for short periods - just a few minutes - and do it frequently, at least once a day. Don't do your training in a busy room or outdoors with birds and squirrels until you're sure that Fido gets it. When he goes to a place with more distractions, he may forget his training. Don't get mad; your pup just needs more study time. Lower the distraction level, use tasty treats, and keep working.

Here is where generalization comes into play. Humans are great at generalizing, dogs not so much. Because we are so good at generalizing, we forget that Fido doesn't have the same skill. For example, Fido knows what sit means at home, but he's not sure it means the same thing in different situations. Then, when you tell Fido to sit at the vet's office, he won't. You may explain to the vet, "I don't know why he won't sit; he knows this!" However, we know he hasn't fully generalized yet. 

Once he gets the trick down pat, great - then you'll need to practice with Fido inside, outside, at the park, or in the vet's waiting room. The more situations you ask Fido to sit in, the faster he will be able to generalize that sit means sit everywhere. The sooner you understand the concept or the lack of generalization Fido has, and you test his training in various situations, the faster your pooch will get it.

Now that you understand how these three concepts can slow down your buddy's training - commit to a training plan, be patient, and reduce your expectations. Fido will eventually figure out what he's supposed to do!

Summer Pet Hydration

July is pet hydration month, so let's learn more about our best friend's water needs. Our pets, just like us, need more hydration in hot weather, with exercise, or if they are ill. Diet also plays a role in hydration. Most pet parents have no idea how much water their dog or cat actually needs.

The general rule of thumb is that your dog needs about 1oz of water per pound of body weight - every day. So, a 10-pound dog would need about 10 ounces of water every day. A 70-pound dog needs about 70 ounces of water every day! Cats, on the other hand, don't need as much water as dogs. Generally, they need about 4 ounces for every 5 pounds of body weight. For example, a 10-pound cat needs about 8 ounces of water a day.

If your buddy eats wet food he may drink less, as the food supplies some water to their system. However, a dog or cat eating dry kibble will need more hydration.

If you find an empty water bowl frequently then it may be time to check your best friend's water consumption. You could measure how many ounces you put in their bowl each day to get a general idea of how much they are consuming. Keep in mind that some dogs are really sloppy drinkers. But if you've noticed your pet is emptying their water bowl more frequently it may be time for a trip to the vet. Thirst is a symptom of a number of illnesses, so get Fido or Fluffy checked out.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency, so if your pet has these symptoms go to the vet immediately. Excessive panting, increased heart rate, body temperature over 104 degrees, confusion, vomiting or the runs, or collapse - these are all indications of a serious problem. Cats can display those symptoms as well as excessive drooling. Cat symptoms are often more subtle but it's still an emergency. Heatstroke isn't anything you should try and treat at home.

Some dogs and cats are just not big drinkers. If yours isn't try adding a little water to their food or switch to a wet food. You can also put out water bowls in different rooms, use different kinds of bowls (china, metal, most cats like a wider bowl), try a pet fountain, or add some flavor to the water like a little low salt chicken broth.

Keep an eye on how much your pet is drinking this summer and sneak in some extra water when necessary so your buddy should stay healthy and hydrated.

Do You Have A HSC?

That's code for a highly sensitive cat! Just like highly sensitive people, some cats can be easily stressed. They can be readily overwhelmed, shy around new people, and take longer to recover from social time.

Why is your cat so sensitive? Well, it could be one of many reasons. Some cats have had negative experiences with people in the past, which makes them careful now. Many cats are very sound sensitive and will have adverse reactions to loud sounds. If your cat was feral at some point, she could be skittish toward people. Some cats are just naturally reticent.

You can help your shy feline be more comfortable by employing some of these ideas. First of all, never force Fluffy to interact; if she isn't ready, be patient, earn her trust, and be sensitive to her needs.

Provide a safe space for her. If Fluffy becomes overwhelmed, she'll need a spot that is her own. This may be a box to hide in, a bed to hide under, or on top of the fridge. If you have adopted a new cat that's shy, give her a single room to hang out in and explore until she is more comfortable; the run of the entire house will probably be overwhelming to her at first.

Create positive experiences with household members using food. If your cat comes out of hiding, reward her with yummy treats. Keep it low key and don't force her to be petted or get on your lap. Just pass her some treats when she gets near you.

If your cat likes to play, that too creates positive experiences for her; try and find the time every day to spend a little playtime with her. But again, let her decide when the game begins and when they end. When she decides she's had enough, give her a little food treat as a reward for playing.

Don't force any new interactions with people or animals. When you have company over, let her hide if that's what she wants to do. She may come out to visit with your friends eventually. And if she doesn't, that's ok too. If you have other animals in the house, don't force her to interact with them. Most likely, Fluffy will at her own pace, but not all cats need to play with the dog to be happy.

If your cat likes petting, great! This will create a positive, relaxing experience, and purring is calming for a cat.

We have experience with sensitive cats. We'll come in and quietly give your cat fresh food, water, and a clean litter box. If your cat is timid and hides, let us know where her hiding spots are, and we'll make a quick check on her to be sure she's safe. We'll also monitor her bowls and litter box to ensure they are used. And of course, we'll be quiet in your home to keep Fluffy happy. Many shy cats will come out to see us after a couple of visits, especially when they see we are not forcing them out of their comfort zone. We'll let Fluffy decide how much interaction she wants and follow her lead.

So celebrate and accept your shy kitty; she'll likely be a loving and loyal companion once she warms up!

Great Pet Links!

July is:

National Lost Pet Prevention Month
Pet Hydration Awareness Month

July 4 - Independence Day
July 10 - National Kitten Day
July 15 - Pet Fire Safety Day
July 17 - National Ice Cream Day
July 31 - National Mutt Day

How To Find A Lost Pet
Funny Dogs On Instagram
How To Keep Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather
How To Cool Down Your Cat In The Summer