When it comes to pet parenting, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
Just like parenting a child, your chosen method of pet parenting is a personal decision.
It’s unique to you and your personality.
There are no hard-and-fast rules, but we teamed up with Professor Peter Neville, a leading pet behaviourist expert, to get some of his top tips for well-rounded and well-socialised pets.
Tip 1: Be a ‘Traffic Light’
The ‘Traffic Light’ pet parenting style is the most common.
29% of our recent survey respondents describing themselves as this persona.
‘Traffic Light’ pet parents have a healthy balance of rules and freedom, and this is the biggest driver in creating a healthy pet/owner relationship.
“Give clear and consistent signals,” explains Prof. Neville. “Don’t expect pets to understand if the same signal has a different outcome.”
Tip 2: Be Consistent
“If you say” ‘yes, good’, you should always say ‘yes, good,’ says Prof. Neville. “Don’t look imploringly, and then treat.
‘Being consistent in how you reward your pet from day one is key.”
Tip 3: Reinforcement is Everything
The ‘Traffic Light’ approach is all about reinforcement, along with clear signals and healthy boundaries.
Thinking about a literal traffic light, red means ‘no’, amber means ‘under condition’ (‘wait’ or ‘sit’), and green means ‘what the heck’ – go for it!
Tip 4: Be flexible
If you are trying to be a top disciplinarian, such as the ‘Sergeant Major’ parenting style, but really by nature you’re an ‘Entrancer’, don’t be afraid to alternate your pet parenting style.
It can be beneficial to you and your pet, as you will often get better results from being more natural and relaxed.
Equally, if you find yourself in a new environment, such as a small apartment, and you need to establish firm boundaries between your space and your pets, don’t be afraid to do so.