1. Train for Life
If you’ve gone to one obedience class with your dog, or your cat has mastered the litter box, you may thing you’re finished with the training portion of your relationship, but continued practice is key.
In the same way a human relationship requires frequent communication to stay healthy, behavior training keeps you and your pet’s bond strong, making your pet more responsive overall and your daily interactions more positive.
For dogs, try practicing simple things like sit, stay, heel, come, and down for about five minutes every day, and reward him or her after each success.
For cats, you may want to set aside five to 10 minutes to play, and gently interrupt and redirect your cat if she presents an unwanted behavior, like scratching the couch, during that time. Or even work to teach her a trick, just pay close attention to what motivates her, such as a special food or toy.
“While [first] training a dog, he should be lavished with praise when he does the right thing,” says Darlene Arden, animal behaviorist and author of “Rover, Get Off Her Leg! Pet Etiquette for the Dog Who Pees on Your Rug, Steals the Pot Roast and Poops in Improper Places.”
But even for something he’s had down for a while, “it helps to reinforce the praise every so often when he is doing this routinely.”