Monthly Archives: July 2014

Teaching Your Puppy to Stop Biting

Who doesn’t love the excitement of bringing home a new puppy?  Puppies make great new additions to families and their playful energy is a joy to have around.  However, many young puppies have a problem with biting and as they get bigger and stronger, this could become a problem.  It is natural for puppies to bite and mouth as they play with each other but their bites are harmful on human skin.  The following tips will help you teach your puppy to stop biting.

One way to curb your puppy’s biting habit is to make sure they understand that their bites are painful.  When dogs are playing with you, it is not their intention to actually hurt you so letting out a cry in response to a hard bite can get them to stop.  Letting your hand go limp when they bite hard will also get them to back off because they will naturally sense that they have bitten too hard.  This is usually a very effective method but if your puppy continues to bite hard, you may have to change the approach.

If you cannot get your puppy to understand that his bites are painful for you, then the next approach is to ignore the puppy when he bites hard.  You should still cry out to let the puppy know he is hurting you and then ignore him entirely so that he understands that playing will end if he bites.  You can either completely ignore your puppy by walking away or put him in a designated timeout area.  Puppies enjoy playing so much that stopping play when they bite will quickly teach them to drop the habit.

New puppies bring plenty of energy and excitement to a home but their biting habit can really put a damper on playtime.  Puppies learn to bite by playing with other puppies at a young age but they must understand that biting is harmful to people and that playtime will end if they continue to bite.  As your puppy gets older and understands the consequences of biting hard, he will learn to stop biting and play nice.

Interpreting the Body Language of Cats

Cats are a very common house pet that is found in almost as many American homes as dogs yet they at times can be very mysterious animals.  It is difficult sometimes to tell if a cat is happy, content, or angry and often cats may react in a seemingly unpredictable manner when approached by a person.  While their behavior may seem random, reading their body language can provide important clues for determining their mood and predicting their behavior.  The following are common examples of body language in cats to look for.

  • The Body: The body is one of the easiest parts of the cat to read its body language.  If a cat is lying on its back, it is usually happy and if it is standing with an arched back and flat fur, it wants affection.  However, if the cat has standing fur with an arched back, then it is scared or upset.  When cats rub against your legs, this usually means that they are marking their territory, not seeking attention.  Cats also rub up against other inanimate objects to mark their territory.
  • The Ears: The cat’s ears can reveal a few different things about their mood.  If its ears are pointed forward, the cat is happy and alert but if they are pinned back, the cat is scared or angry.  A cat may move their ears around when they are trying to listen to their surroundings.
  • The Tail: The tail can also reveal much about a cat’s mood and behavior.  Generally, if a cat holds its tail high with flat fur, it is happy but if it holds its tail up with raised fur, the cat is angry or scared.  Tucking the tail between the legs can often be a sign of anxiety and if the cat is thrashing its tail, it may be irritated or in hunting mode.
  • The Eyes: The eyes of a cat are the most difficult part to discern its body language.  If the pupils are thin, it could indicate that the cat is aggressive but it could also just mean that the cat is content.  If the pupils are enlarged, this could mean that the cat is nervous or that it is in a playful mood.  With these contradictions, it is easier to read a cat’s body language in body parts other than the eyes.
  • The Sounds: There are a variety of noises that cats make and each one can reveal something about the cat’s mood or behavior.   Typical “meows” can mean anything from a greeting or asking to be fed to a warning to leave them alone.  Cats purr when they are happy and they usually chatter when in hunting mode. A hiss from a cat is a warning to stay away because it is angry or frightened and yowls, or drawn out meows, are a sign of distress.

While cats may seem like difficult creatures to understand at first, careful observation of their body language may reveal their moods and help predict their behaviors.  The meaning of the body language may vary slightly between individual cats but this general overview still provides a good framework to help determine your cat’s mood and behaviors.  You can get a more accurate reading on your cat’s mood by observing the language of all their body parts and what all of it together may tell you.

The Pet’s Home offers cat sitting services to Naperville, Oswego, and the surrounding areas.  Contact us to learn more.