Most pet parents don't have time to watch their dogs 24/7 to ensure they stay off the counter. They can't supervise their cat every time they feel like scratching the sofa or rug. Realistically, the vast majority of pet parents can't spend every waking moment teaching their pets not to display behaviors that are, ahem, completely natural to them but somehow irritating to us. This is why frustrated pet parents sometimes turn to spray bottles, which we discussed in this post last week. But, there is a better way. Today, we're breaking down spray bottle vs. management and why management gets our vote every. single. time.
Spray Bottle vs. Management in Training
In cat and dog training, management is, put simply, a synonym for prevention. It's a major part of pet training and behavior modification because it allows pet parents to prevent unwanted behaviors WHILE teaching appropriate alternatives.
Because training takes time and consistency, management is a happy medium where your nerves are spared, your dog doesn't eat your dinner off the stove, and your cat can't destroy your new couch.
In some cases, pet experts will recommend management as a long-term solution. Depending on the behavior, cats scratching, for example, you won't be able to train that behavior out of your cat. Instead, you'll manage it so that they are scratching in the right places. If you have a dog that jumps on people as they walk through the door, however, you can use management, like keeping them on a leash, temporarily. You can simultaneously work on teaching your dog to go to their "place" and, eventually, won't need the leash.
Management as a Solution
Instead of spraying pets with a squirt bottle, pet parents can manage unwanted behaviors.
Keeping a dog from counter-surfing, for example, requires attention to the foods left on the counter. Buying a plastic tub to keep bread, cookies, and snacks ensures that they won't be rewarded for bad behavior. Storing perishables in the fridge and microwave is also a great management option. In addition, keeping a dog out of the kitchen via the use of a baby gate is also a very practical management solution. Further, purchasing a baby-proofer for trash cans prevents gifted scavengers from breaking into last night's leftovers. And, eating on elevated surfaces like a dining table instead of in front of the TV can keep your steak on its plate and out of your dog's mouth.
Similarly, using tools like scratching posts and boards can encourage appropriate scratching when bringing home a new kitten or catching your cat scratching up your couch. And, covering furniture with scratch-safe protectors keeps furniture looking beautiful even when you're at work or away. If your cat isn't much into scratching your new post or board, check out this blog by PurrfectPost to encourage them to use it instead of your furniture. Also, keep in mind that regular nail trims can reduce a cat's need to scratch. Nail trims also keep nails less sharp, which makes them less damaging to soft surfaces.
In this day and age, retailers across the globe have endless management options available for pet parents who are willing to take the time to find them. When in doubt, do a Google search for management + the behavior you need to manage.
Management as Pet Sitters
Management is a basic part of our jobs as professional pet sitters. Because the majority of the pets in our care are being left unsupervised for at least a few hours at a time, we keep an eye out for any puppy or kitty proofing that may need to be done both to protect your pet and your home.
Even if pets don't show interest in foods on the counter or have never scratched inappropriately, doesn't mean that they won't start when left alone for prolonged periods. For this reason, we empty trash cans, scoop litter boxes, and do all we can to keep pets from becoming a danger to themselves while you're away.
At Hearts at Home, in addition to discussing the ideal visit schedule for your pets, we ensure that your pets get playtime, exercise, and enrichment, which will keep them occupied and out of trouble. Once we leave them after a visit, our goal is to leave them ready for a nap, not a naughty indoor adventure.
In addition, we are happy to discuss the use of additional management tools such as crates and crate training to help with potty training, counter surfing, and more.
Hearts at Home Pet Sitting offers top-notch dog walking and pet sitting services in Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton, Virginia. To get started, submit your new client questionnaire here. You may also contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868.