When a little puppy or kitten or even an older animal is adopted and becomes part of the family, the amount of work that is needed to train these little ones can quickly become overwhelming . From potty training to everyday routines, it can be quite a challenge to get them where they need to be. The more work that is done at the beginning, the more it will pay off for the rest of the pet’s life.
The younger the pet is, the harder it is to train them. The really young (4-7 weeks old) are like newborns and require much more attention. Kittens can get lost in the house and not be able to find their kitty litter or food. Kittens that are not kept in a smaller area will not make it back to the litter box and will start going outside the box because they will seek out the closest thing to go on like a rug or the carpet. Keeping them in a small room or closing off areas of the house will help them begin to constantly and reliably use the litter box.
Puppies will not be able to find their way to the door to let an owner know that they have to go and they may only be able to keep from urinating and having bowel movements for a few hours at a time depending on their size. Cage training or keeping them gated in a small area will keep the pet from finding spots in the house that they will continue to use instead of going outside. Frequently taking a puppy outside, especially after eating or drinking will help avoid accidents as well.
Such avoidance and restricted areas training will also help with some other behaviors like destructive chewing. Kittens will chew on things just like puppies and they will also use their claws to climb and shred things. Kittens need to be taught to behave as well. Preventing these behaviors will keep these little ones from not only destroying things but it will also keep them safe from injury, like chewing through an electrical cord or from ingesting parts of a shoe or string. Destructive behaviors and relapses with potty training can resurface later in life and become part of an even bigger behavioral problem called separation anxiety.
Kittens should be exposed to other animals and people. If they are raised alone, they have a tendency to not welcome other pets when they are grown cats and will hide when people come to visit. Puppies should learn about all different kinds of people (men, women, young, old, people in uniforms, etc) so they don’t end up fearing a new person simply because they haven’t encountered someone like that before. They are generally wary of types of people that they haven’t been exposed too.
They should also learn how to be left alone for extended periods of time while owners are away at work. Many people want to “spoil” the puppy and initially stay with them all the time. Then, the owners eventually have to go back to work and leave the puppy home for hours expecting the puppy to know how to behave. They don’t know how to act because they have never been taught how to act in that situation.
A well socialized, well trained pet will have fewer issues when they grow up and will have a long life with their family. It takes diligence and hard work at the beginning but it really pays off in the long run. Unfortunately, many pets are euthanized due to behavioral issues related to aggression, separation anxiety, destructive behaviors, and soiling in the house.
Doing research prior to getting a pet, working hard to train that pet and recognizing issues early on will help an owner avoid many problems later on.