October is Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month! The days are getting shorter and in many parts of the country the temperatures are starting to drop. Here in East Tennessee it won’t be long till we see our first frost. This is the time of year when people begin to nest. We hunker down for the cold, dark winter ahead and dive headfirst into pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin ales!).
What a great time of year to think about adding a new best friend to our lives! Before those three-dog nights kick in, every household should have at least ONE dog to cuddle in front of the fire. It is probably more than just coincidence that October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!
And even if you aren’t looking for a snuggle buddy, we could all use an exercise partner! Staying motivated to get off the couch gets even harder when it is cold and dark outdoors. A dog provides amazing incentive to take those brisk walks and get the blood pumping in spite of the season. Shelters and rescue groups always have plenty of wonderful dogs (and cats and assorted other critters) awaiting new forever homes.
And don’t be fooled by the myths or stigmas that often surround shelter pets. Contrary to what you may believe, they are not “damaged goods”. Most are homeless through no fault of their own. Many healthy, happy pets end up in need of new homes not because they are defective, but because their original families had unrealistic expectations. Rarely do pets come into our lives with a complete understanding of our expectations. They don’t know our “rules” until we teach them. They don’t misbehave out of spite, but out of confusion. And they don’t communicate the same way we do. Shouting does nothing but frighten and confuse pets (and most people, too).
Training saves lives. Pet parents must be committed to teaching their best friends what behaviors are acceptable and which are unacceptable. Once they understand, they inevitably want to please. It is up to the humans in the relationship to meet all the pet’s physical needs (nutritious food, fresh water, veterinary care and secure shelter) and to meet psychological needs, as well.
At PetSafe we are proud to offer a wide-range of behavior-based products designed to help pet parents meet their pets’ behavioral needs. Training products such as remote training collars and clickers as well as automated feeders to help maintain schedules and treat-dispensing Busy Buddy toys all help build stronger bonds between pets and their people. We talk a lot about ways to create more “Best Moments” with our best friends. No relationship is perfect, but by training our pets and setting realistic expectations, our relationships with our pets can come pretty close to perfection.
There’s another week left in Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so head to your local animal shelter and bring home that perfect companion. And, newsflash…there will still be plenty of wonderful pets looking for new homes in November and December as well! Adopt a Shelter Cat Month is coming up in June, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait till then!