Like you, we LOVE our adopted animals! But whether you’ve adopted or otherwise, some furry friends may face some adjustments coming home with you. Many of these common behaviors can be remedied by getting to know your pet and plenty of patience.
Just like humans, animal behavior is a product of their experiences. Stray, abandoned, abused, or relinquished pets can’t tell you their story, as much as you wish they could.
Before making the final call, we hope you understand the causes of challenging tendencies and behaviors. Sure, they may be driving you crazy now, but with patience and attention, the vast majority of animals can be happy and well-adjusted in their new home.
Problem: “My dog is possessive of toys and food and growls at my other dogs or me.”
Don’t panic, this is normal. It’s called resource guarding, and like many behavioral issues, it can be caused by impulse control. This can be curbed by establishing boundaries and control with your pet from the get-go. Even though they are fluffy and adorable and you want to spoil them silly, it’s important to teach your pet structure instead of letting them lounge on the couch time if that’s not the long-term game plan.
Problem: “My dog or cat is chewing up everything I own and potties on the floor when I’m gone.”
We’ve seen it before: coming home to discover shredded curtains or chewed up shoes. You could get annoyed with your animal, but being harsh with your pet might only make it worse. Central Oklahoma Humane Society recommends crate training your adopted pet. Crates channel a dog’s natural instinct as a den animal and can make a cozy safe-zone for your pet while you’re at work or running around town. For more on crate training do’s and don’ts click here.
Problem: “My dog is jumping fences, opening the gate, or digging to get out of the yard.”
Your pet’s desire to dig or get out of the yard can be caused by stress or even curiosity, and getting loose can be very dangerous to your new pet. Consider allowing your pet outside only when you are home and can keep an eye out for them. Want to take it a step further? Try diversion therapy in which you create a negative association between a gate and your dog by making startling sounds. You could also look intoinvisible fences, which can be a less noisy option.
Problem: “My cat is clawing my furniture to pieces.”
Declaw the cat, right? WRONG. Yes, declawing your cat will eliminate damage to your furniture, but it could also create more behavior issues. Plus, it is a painful and harsh way to treat your feline friend. For your scratch-happy cat, we recommend having a scratching post nearby, and we have a variety of posts available at the Adoption Center. Specialty spray bottles and silicone claw caps can also curb scratching.
Bringing home an animal can be a wonderfully life-changing experience for all involved, but not without its challenges. All animals take time to learn their surroundings much like people do, so attention, structure and love can make all the difference.