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Top 5 Stress Busters for Pet Parents

Sharing your life with a pet can be wonderful; they offer us so much in companionship, comfort, and unconditional love. But let’s face it, pet parenting is tough. The responsibility of having a living creature completely dependent on you, and the desire for them to be well-behaved pet citizens can become overwhelming and a source of much frustration and anxiety.

The simple truth is training any pet doesn’t always go as planned. Stumbling blocks and setbacks are completely normal and should be expected. There will be exercises and training that your pet picks up quickly and others that they find harder. What’s important is that you expect these setbacks and can deal with them with minimal stress and frustration. So, what can you do to help relieve the stress and make your relationship with your pet happy and harmonious? Here are our top 5 tips:

1) Don’t panic.

Expect the unexpected…things won’t always go quite how you hope. It’s easy for us to expect too much from our pets at times. They may be too young to deal with what you are asking of them, or they might be confused. It doesn’t mean you are a bad pet parent, just that it’s time to take a step back, count to ten, take some deep breaths and maybe try a new approach to your training issue.

2) Take a break.

Cartoon of a dog popping out of a tattered sofa.
It’s easy for us to expect too much from our pets at times. ©Zigzag

If you can feel your stress and frustration levels rising, then take a breather. Our pets really pick up on our emotions so it’s important to manage your frustration or anxiety. Grab a cuppa or do something fun for a while. If you are struggling training your pet, then get out for a walk or play a fun game for a while. Fresh air and/or some fun will help relieve any stress.

3) Learn your own triggers.

Recognizing what stresses you out or triggers your frustration is really important. Once you have this insight, you can manage your own emotions in these situations and act on them before things escalate. Your pet will respond much better to a calmer version of you.

4) Focus on the positives.

It’s so easy in everything we do and care about to overthink and fixate when something goes wrong or isn’t going as we hoped. Look at the bigger picture and turn your attention to what’s going well with your pet. Writing things down can help you see just how much progress you’ve made and what your pet does well. This perspective shift can help make any setbacks seem insignificant.

5) Seek help.

If you are really struggling, then talking things over or seeking some professional help with your pet can really help you get over any hurdles. Avoid too much googling though; there is so much conflicting information online that you could find yourself tied up in knots. Stick with trusted, verified sources. Private trainers and behavior consultants are qualified professionals ready to help you overcome any issues you may be experiencing with your pet. You can visit the Pet Professional Guild website to find a professional near you.

Remember it’s a lifelong relationship you will have with your pet so ups and downs are to be expected. We hope these top tips will help you to process and overcome any frustrations and stress you might be experiencing with your pet.

About the Author

Lisa Milleret, Diploma in Companion Animal Behaviour (DipCAPBT Hons), ICAN Certified Animal Behaviourist is part of the Zigzag Puppy App Experts Team. Lisa grew up with a love for all animals but she always had a particular affinity with dogs and horses. She began studying with COAPE in 2007 and took the plunge in setting up her animal behavior practice in 2012 following completion of the level 5 diploma qualification. She has also worked with many rescue organizations including local dogs’ homes and breed specific rescues for beagles and basset hounds and she has a particular interest in teaching dog safety to children within schools.

The Zigzag logoZigzag is a puppy training app with a difference, rather than focusing solely on obedience we take puppy guardians on a journey through Life Skills and important developmental stages, to hopefully give them happy, confident and well-behaved puppies, with an understanding that puppies and dogs aren’t robots, they have big feelings, and that’s ok!

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