Why should we leave the animal members of our families out of the ritual resolves we make for the New Year?
Here's what they might be thinking and what you can do to help make them happier and healthier in 2013.
I will work hard on my boredom issues. No digging holes in the yard that a human could step in and break an ankle.
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No noshing on slippers, table legs, or items that the Masters have foolishly put in the garbage.
I will not hide for days. When it's time to go to the Vet, I will not hide in the deepest recesses of the closet.
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(I will, however, continue to dive back there when the Staff insists on using that scary vacuum cleaner.)
I vow to keep clean. Neatness counts, amigos! So I, Tweety, will refrain from splashing bathwater outside my cage and madly tossing seeds, blueberries, strawberries, and other wet, gloppy items on the floor. (Although, hey, what's the diff? The Dog will eventually clean it up.)
I vow to keep the noise down. I will not do the crystal-shattering squawk thing just for the heck of it. When the Tall Unfeathered Ones are at home, I will not imitate the sound of the Dog's howls or the Cat when he's receiving a pill.
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When they are not home, I will not imitate them saying "Bad Dog!"
Next: Dog New Year's Resolutions
HOW YOU CAN HELP
As with humans, support will help your pets keep their resolutions. Do your part to not tempt your best friend to do bad things, whether that means keeping the toilet lid down or changing the litter box more often. "Find ways to steer your animals toward appropriate behavior," says Melissa Shyan-Norwalt, PhD, an animal behaviorist and the owner of Companion Animal Problem Solvers in the Cincinnati region. If the dog chews on your couch or the cat scratches it, spray it with an odor your pet won't like--and also place bones, chew toys, or vertical and horizontal scratching posts nearby.
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Reinforce the behavior when she does well, and don't reward actions you don't want repeated: When you scold a jumping dog or a howling cat, he simply interprets your chatter as positive attention.
Help Your Pets Keep Their Resolutions This Year
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