Cat Communication

Cats can be difficult to understand. The way cats communicate is quite subtle. But they have a lot of ways of telling you how they’re feeling and what they need. Cats communicate using:
  • Tone of voice (chirps, meows, groans, and growls)
  • Eye contact and blinking
  • Posture and body language:
    • Position of ears
    • Tail position and motion

This blog focuses on cat body language. Specifically, how your cat’s ears, body, and tail react when your cat is happy/excited, interested/alert, scared/anxious, or aggressive/agitated.

Cat Communication 28012015_Page1

All cats are different. Your cat may have other ways of communicating with you. The above table describes basic cat body language. Remember when meeting a new cat to be on the lookout for behaviour in the last 2 columns.

Tail Positions

The tail positions might be hard to visualize. The below graphic shows what your cat is trying to tell you with his tail.

Cat Communication 28012015_Page2Source: http://www.catwows.com/cat-care/cat-body-language-tail/

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Common Training Mistakes

Common Training Mistakes

Training plays a huge role in determining what kind of life you and your dog are going to share. There are many training methods to choose from there’s no one right way. Whatever method you choose both you and your dog will make mistakes and that’s ok.

There’s a lot of information about dog training available. We looked at 7 articles from dog trainers, dog behaviourists, and vets and came up with this list of the 6 common mistakes people make during training. If you can avoid these 6 mistakes you will not only successfully train your dog, you and your pup will build a lasting, loving friendship.

Important: choose a training method that works best for your pup. Dogs are individuals and what works well for your friend’s dog may not work for yours even if they are the same breed.

Your Behaviour

The way you behave while training your dog will affect how well your dog learns. Avoid these mistakes:

1) Having a bad attitude and negative demeanor:

  • Try this instead:
    • Remember, dogs are pack animals – you must fill the leadership role if you want your dog to behave. Be the leader – have a positive attitude but a calm demeanor
    • Remember to be emotionally stable – don’t get too happy when your pup does well or too angry when she doesn’t listen
    • Be calm, cool, collected, and patient

2) Training with inconsistency causing confusion:

  • Try this instead:
    • Stick with your chosen training method and try not to mix in random elements from other methods
    • Use the same word for a command. Avoid switching between 2 different words for the same thing – the command is either “sit” or “sit down” not both
    • Always apply the same rules – your dog is either always allowed to jump up on you or she isn’t; the rule should be the same whether you’re wearing a dress or yoga pants
    • Your dog is not a person, remember to treat you dog like a dog not a child – avoid assigning human emotions and thought processes to him

3) Sessions are too long or too short:

  • Try this instead:
    • Make sure sessions aren’t so long that your pup becomes bored and begins to ignore you
    • Training sessions should not be so short that your pup doesn’t learn anything
    • Training session length depends on your pup’s attention span and ability to learn
    • Remember to end training sessions on a success that follows in praise and reward
    • Remember, training is a lifelong activity that needs to be practiced every day, not just on weekends

4) Focusing on negative behaviour:

  • Try this instead:
    • Positive reinforcement tends to work better than negative reinforcement
    • Dogs see attention as a reward, remember that by reacting to an undesired behaviour your may actually be reinforcing it
    • Negative reinforcement and correcting a behaviour are not the same thing
    • Reinforcement is only effective when it occurs immediately after an action – rewarding your dog for completing a command 5 minutes after he completed it has no effect on future behaviour

5) Relying on too many treats:

  • Try this instead:
    • Don’t depend on treats – use a mix of different rewards include verbal praise and affection in your reward system
    • You can use anything your dog loves as a reward but that means you will have to control your dog’s access to it – it isn’t a reward if she can have it whenever she wants
    • Slowly wean your pup off treat based rewards to praise, a favourite toy, some play time, or something else he loves

6) Having unrealistic expectations:

  • Try this instead:
    • Make sure to set reasonable training goals that your pup can reach – don’t become discouraged if your pup doesn’t become the world’s best behaved dog over night

There’s a lot of research on the subject of dog training. If you’d like to read more you can check out the articles we use to write this blog:

  1. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/08/16/6-dog-training-mistakes.aspx
  2. http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/are-you-making-these-10-training-mistakes/29092
  3. http://www.canadianliving.com/life/pets/6_common_mistakes_pet_owners_can_avoid.php
  4. http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/10_5/features/Positive_Dog_Training_15931-1.html
  5. http://www.dogfathertraining.co.uk/articles-and-tips/4-dog-training-mistakes-to-avoid-like-the-plague
  6. http://www.pawnation.com/2012/05/31/10-dog-training-mistakes-to-avoid/
  7. http://www.alphapaws.com/common-training-mistakes-that-can-be-avoided-with-dog-obedience-lessons/

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