Children can do no wrong in the eyes of a parent–and many times furry pet children follow those same rules with pet parents. Pet behavior is often viewed with the vast unconditional love of a pet parent clouding both judgment and good sense. What can you do to address a friend’s pet’s bad behavior without alienating your friend?
Point out obvious, yet similar, bad pet behavior examples in your social circles. Sometimes, annoying pet behavior is easier for pet owners to recognize in other pets. Fluffy, down the street, jumps all over guests and knocks down small children. Grandma’s dog insists on sitting on laps–distributing dog hair at will. Simply noting those negative behaviors often causes a pet parent to notice those behaviors in his or her own pet.
Back up pet behavior concerns with valid, veterinary science and facts. Do a little homework and share related tidbits of information with the misbehaving pet’s parents. Understanding health risks or liability concerns often encourages pet parents to curb a pet’s behavior problems.
Offer pet behavior solutions rather than simple criticism. Rather than simply pointing out pet behavior issues, try offering possible solutions to the pet behavior problems causing concern. Sometimes pet parents permit bad behavior due to a lack of knowledge or awareness. Take the time to perform a little research and offer helpful suggestions or pet training tips.
Consult local pet behaviorists or veterinarians. Depending on the pet’s behavior concerns, professional help may be needed to remedy the issues. If the pet’s bad habits have been permitted for months or even years–training for both the pet and the owner may be necessary and that is often best left to professionals. Research and recommend a few local professional resources.
Take a deep breath and speak up. No matter how you approach the touchy subject of poor pet behavior, it’s important to voice your concerns. Pet behavior issues certainly place an unnecessary strain on relationships if allowed to continue. Many pet owners are bothered by a pet’s bad habits–but suffer in silence. Sometimes they simply need friends to help them help their pet.