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All About Cats!

Introducing a New Cat: Wouldn't it be nice if all it took to introduce a new cat to your resident pet were a brief handshake and a couple of "HELLO, My Name Is..." name-tags? Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple, which means you'll need to have some realistic expectations from the outset. What are realistic expectations? First, it's recognizing and accepting that your pets may never be best buddies but will usually come to at least tolerate each other. Second, it's understanding the need to move slowly during the introduction process to increase your chances for success. Click here for tips on 

Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors: While many cats enjoy being outside where they can hunt prey and explore their surroundings, it's a myth that going outside is a requirement for feline happiness. Playing regularly with a cat easily satisfies her stalking instinct, keeps her stimulated, and provides the exercise she needs to stay healthy and happy. In fact, the indoor cat who gets lots of attention and playtime is likely happier than the indoor-outdoor cat who is generally ignored by her human companions.

Introducing Your New Cat to the Litter Box: Most of us know cats are finicky eaters, but they can also be pretty picky when it comes to the other end of the digestive process--making use of a litter box. Fortunately, the following suggestions should keep your cat from 'thinking outside the box.'

Solving Litter Box Problems: If you're having a hard time persuading your cat to head for the litter box when it's appropriate, it may be time to draw a line in the sand. Most cats prefer eliminating on a loose, grainy substance, which is why they quickly learn to use a litter box. But when their preferences include the laundry basket, the bed, or the Persian rug, you may find yourself with a difficult problem. By taking a closer look at your cat's environment, you should be able to identify factors that have contributed to the litter box problem and make changes that encourage your cat to head for the litter box once again.

Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Cat: We all like to be praised rather than punished. The same is true for your cat, and that's the theory behind positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding immediately after she does something you want her to do. Because your praise or reward makes her more likely to repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your cat's behavior. It's more effective to teach your pet what she should do than try to teach her what she shouldn't.

Destructive Scratching: Although some people think a cat's scratching behavior is a reflection of her distaste for a couch's upholstery, a not-so-subtle hint to open the drapes, or a poorly conceived Zorro impersonation, the fact is that cats scratch objects in their environment for many perfectly normal reasons.

Solving Aggression Between Family Cats: If the battles between your feline family members are anything like the struggle between Cain and Abel, there are a few things you can do to prevent the 'sibling rivalry' from reaching biblical proportions. Of course, it's almost impossible to guess how well any particular pair or group of cats will ultimately tolerate each other: Some unusually territorial cats may never adjust to sharing their house and may do best in a one-cat family. But many aggression problems between cats can be successfully resolved, even if the two don't end up best friends when all is said and done. You'll need to commit time and effort to solve aggression problems between cats--don't give up without consulting the appropriate experts.

Preparing Pets for a New Baby: Congratulations, you're expecting a baby! If your family already includes a pet, you'll need to help that first 'baby' adjust to the new one you'll soon bring home. You can help your pet cope with this big change in much the same way parents help children understand that a new brother or sister will be joining the family. By following the tips below, you can ease your pet's stress, help her welcome your new baby, and ensure that your pet stays where she belongs==with you and your growing family.

...or, download all of this information in our Complete Cat Package.

All About Dogs!

Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Dog: From "The leader of the pack" to "the top dog," plenty of simplistic metaphors come from the canine world. But relationships between canines can be pretty complex, beginning with the very first meeting. Like most animals who live in groups, dogs establish their own social structure, sometimes called a dominance hierarchy. This dominance hierarchy serves to maintain order, reduce conflict, and promote cooperation among pack members. Dogs also establish territories, which they may defend against intruders or rivals. Obviously, dogs' social and territorial nature affects their behavior whenever a new dog is introduced to the household.

Crate Training Your Dog: If you like nothing better than coming home from a hard day's work and finding that your dog decided to "go" on the couch or use your favorite slippers as a new chew toy, then crate training isn't for you. But if you're like most people, then using a crate to properly train your dog will be time well spent.

Positive Reinforcement: Training Your Dog (or Cat!) with Treats and Praise: We all like to be praised rather than punished. The same is true for your pet, and that's the theory behind positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means giving your pet something pleasant or rewarding immediately after she does something you want her to do. Because your praise or reward makes her more likely to repeat that behavior in the future, it is one of your most powerful tools for shaping or changing your pet's behavior.

Calming the Fearful Dog: Fear comes in all shapes and sizes, especially for your furry, four-pawed friend. Whether in response to a stranger or startling noise, your dog may display certain body postures, including lowering his head, flattening his ears back against his head, and tucking his tail between his legs if he's scared.

Dealing with a Dominant Dog: For some people, the phrase "top dog" isn't just a saying. It actually describes their dogs. If you've got a dog who likes to boss you (or others) around, chances are you've got a dominance aggression problem in your household--a problem that could endanger you, your family, and others.

Nothing in Life Is Free: A Training Technique for Dogs: Does your dog get on the furniture and refuse to get off? Nudge your hand and insist on being petted or played with? Refuse to come when called? Defend his food bowl or toys from you? If so, a training technique called "nothing in life is free" may be just the solution you're looking for.

Destructive Chewing: Sooner or later every dog lover returns home to find some unexpected damage inflicted by his or her dog ...or, more specifically, that dog's incisors and molars. Although dogs make great use of their vision and sense of smell to explore the world, one of their favorite ways to take in new information is to put their mouths to work. Fortunately, chewing can be directed onto appropriate items so your dog isn't destroying items you value or jeopardizing his own safety. Until he's learned what he can and can't chew, however, you need to manage the situation as much as possible so he doesn't have the opportunity to chew on unacceptable objects.

Understanding Your Puppy's Behavior and Development: Well-socialized dogs are more likely to have well-socialized puppies. Pups often mirror their mothers' calm or fearful attitude toward people; this is a normal part of their socialization. But you can play a vital role, too, by petting, talking, and playing with puppy to help him develop good "people skills."

Housetraining Your Puppy: Contrary to popular belief, housetraining a puppy requires far more than a few stacks of old newspapers--it calls for vigilance, patience, and plenty of commitment. By following the procedures outlined below, you can minimize house soiling incidents, but virtually every puppy will have an accident in the house, and more likely, several. Expect this--it's part of raising a puppy. The more consistent you are in following the basic housetraining procedures, however, the faster your puppy will learn acceptable behavior. It may take several weeks to housetrain your puppy, and with some of the smaller breeds, it might take longer.

Preparing Pets for a New Baby: Congratulations, you're expecting a baby! If your family already includes a pet, you'll need to help that first 'baby' adjust to the new one you'll soon bring home. You can help your pet cope with this big change in much the same way parents help children understand that a new brother or sister will be joining the family. By following the tips below, you can ease your pet's stress, help her welcome your new baby, and ensure that your pet stays where she belongs==with you and your growing family.

Download all of this information in our Complete Dog Package.