Are you and your pet having trouble? Do you seem to disagree about everything from what to eat for breakfast to when to take that all-important evening walk? Do you love your pet but they are also working your last nerve? Shannon Cutts of Animal Love Languages tells you what to do to fix it.
Pet parenting isn’t all puppy dog eyes and Instagram-worthy cuteness. Family can be tough no matter what species!
This can be especially true when your pet is new to your family. You are still getting acquainted. You both have strong ideas and preferences. Sometimes those preferences match. Sometimes they clash.
Or perhaps you got your existing pet a friend, thinking this would solve the lonely/bored/destructive/fill-in-the-blanks behavior issues – or simply improve quality of life. And now your lovely plan is backfiring and you are caught in the crossfire.
There are so many reasons why pets and pet parents go through periods when you just can’t seem to get along. But what can you DO about it? How do you FIX it?
- Honor your differences.
My first recommendation may sound counter-intuitive from a “fix it fast” perspective. Yet I strongly recommend that you start by honoring your differences. Just honor them. Get it. Really get it. Get that you like to sleep in on Saturdays and your cat likes to get up at 4am sharp.
Get that your horse absolutely hates your favorite hat. Get that your dog thinks you should be free to play with him from the moment you get home from work until the minute your head hits the pillow at night….and nothing you try changes his mind.
These situations are more the norm than the exception, to be honest. In fact, thank goodness our pets are so cute, because there are times when cuteness is the only glue strong enough to keep us from flying apart!
2. Take a time-out.
There is no rule that says you can’t take a break from your pet…or them from you. (In fact, not all “lost pets” are actually lost – it is less unusual than you may suspect for a pet to just up and leave when their home life feels untenable!)
Whether this means you park your pup at doggie day care or find a willing friend to watch your cat for the weekend, invest in an equine energetics trainer or simply ask your partner to be on pet duty for the evening, taking a time-out can be the smart call sometimes.
The more you let frustration and emotion build up, the less well equipped you will be to move beyond survival to strategy. Sometimes you need to give yourself some safe space to gather your thoughts, take a few deep breaths, grab some you-time and allow the energy around the situation to ease before you wade back in.
3. Reach out for support.
You are not alone. This is easy to forget. Relationships are rewarding – life-transforming, even. They are also really tough sometimes.
And interspecies relationships can be particularly challenging, both because there is the inevitable language barrier and because our pet is always tasked with adapting to our human world or facing the consequences.
Whether it is a pet trainer, behaviorist, energy healing practitioner, animal communicator, veterinarian or some combination thereof, it is vital to remember that help is available. Support is available for you and your pet.
4. Consider ALL your options.
I capitalize the word ALL for a reason. Some pet parents I’ve worked with have been well able to resolve their interspecies family issues. Others simply have not.
I have connected with pet parents who ultimately chose to rehome their pet because that was the most loving decision for all involved. It takes some level of brave to realize when you are in over your head regardless of the underlying reason(s).
If you are in a situation with your pet and it feels completely impossible, if you feel trapped with no way out, this is your sign to keep looking. Keep digging. Keep persisting. Keep asking yourself, “What am I missing? What have I not yet considered?”
In my experience, there is no such thing as being between a rock and a hard place. There is no situation in life where you only have Option A or Option B. There is always an Option C.
But you will never be handed that third option – that way out or through that you are looking for. This is because Option C is where your growth and your evolution waits for you. Finding the option you have overlooked, discounted, declared off-limits or simply decided is impossible or nonexistent is going to transform you in a way that makes all the extra effort of uncovering it worth it.
Are you and your pet struggling to find compatibility? Is your interspecies family harmony nowhere to be found? Are you beginning to question whether adding a pet to your family was a smart idea? I can help.