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Helpful Tips for Seniors Who Own Pets

Posted by HarborChase on Apr 15, 2019 8:00:00 AM | 4 minute read

HarborChase Senior Living Senior Pet Tips Blog

When the senior in your life gets a new pet, it’s an exciting and heartwarming occasion. Your loved one will now have a new friend to create a bond with; bringing meaningful memories and trusted companionship.

Although having a pet is fantastic, you’re going to have to help your loved one train the pet to learn where in the house they are allowed, how to walk properly on a leash, and other routines they will have to adjust to! At HarborChase, we know that training a pet isn’t always the easiest task, so we’ve decided to share a few helpful tips that you can share with your loved one to help them along the way!


Be Patient

We’re sure that you’ve heard the saying “Patience is a virtue.” The saying is popular because it’s true, and essential, especially for pet owners. Remaining patient with your pet can save your loved one a lot of trouble later if they have to deal with a pet who jumps or has food aggression. It’s important for you and your loved one to understand that their pet won’t be trained overnight but having a properly trained and well-behaved pet is vital as a senior. Training a pet can take months or years, depending on how quickly the animal picks up to the rules. Establish the ground rules early on and stick to them to see the best results. Even if you are training a pet for your loved one, involve them in the process so they’ll know how to reward or reprimand certain behaviors properly. 

Help your loved one understand that young animals are more likely to nip or scratch because they don’t know better so it’s extremely important to stay patient while training them not to. Without a little patience, you might find your loved ones becomes continuously frustrated and overwhelmed by the pet’s high energy levels instead of benefiting from all the great things that pets provide. Work together to develop an atmosphere that your pet feels comfortable in and allow them to learn things at their own pace!


Pet Treats

Giving your pet treats during the training process is entirely reasonable and even encouraged by professionals. Treats provide the animal with positive reinforcement and helps them understand that with positive behavior, comes positive reward. While many pets are food motivated, the treats that you’re feeding your pet matters more than you may think.

Some treats may have a negative effect on your pet’s stomach and can cause them to feel nauseous. However, there are many treats that contain positive additives such as vitamins, tooth cleaning properties, and minty scents for a fresh breath! Help your loved one do some research and look for pet treats that have been rated highly, contain great ingredients, and put a smile on your pet’s face! If you’re completing training sessions with your dog and are wanting to avoid providing excessive treats, consider also using your pet’s food as a “treat” to avoid giving them stomach issues!


Reward Good Behavior

It can be confusing for a pet to know which behaviors are desired and which ones are considered unacceptable. You and your loved one will have to lay out the “house rules” and let your pet know when they are behaving well. Work with your loved one on the proper way to show their pet affection and set up a reward system that the pet can easily understand. 

A reward system for a pet helps give them structure and will help mold their behavior based on the rewards they receive and the actions that don’t receive treats. If you and your loved one reward your pet when they use the bathroom outside, they’ll begin to realize that going outside will result in them getting a treat while going inside causes an opposite reaction. Apply this same concept to other behaviors, and you’ll have an exceptional pet in no time!

In the beginning, giving treats for almost any and all positive behaviors is completely normal! It’s important to understand when something has become routine and does not need a treat anymore. This will be extremely important or you could see a reverse action where your animal will not do what their told till they receive a treat. For example, treats are vital when first house breaking your pet but once they understand, there should be no treats required for them to know to go outside. Knowing when to stop using treats as a reinforcement is just part of gauging how long it takes them to learn.

HarborChase Senior Living Senior Pet Tips Blog

Consistency is Key

When training a pet, staying consistent can be challenging. If two or more people are teaching a pet, it can cause mixed behaviors and confusion that can sabotage your training routine! If one person rewards the pet for performing commands and another person doesn’t, the pet can become unsure of whether the command will result in a treat, which leads to an unstable relationship between the pet and the owner.

Make sure that if you and your loved one are both working with the animal, that your reward system and punishments are identical. Your new friend will thank you for it!


Stay Positive

Staying positive is essential in the pet training process. Frustration and anger can occur when your pet is not cooperating or is not making any progress. Remember that each animal is unique in the way they learn, just like people. Some animals may adapt quickly, while others take additional time to learn the ropes. 

Positivity is an excellent approach when working with your loved one’s pet because it encourages them to continue doing well. If the pet senses your frustration, it can cause them to hesitate and be unsure of themselves. Make sure to always be in a good mood when training with your pet!

With the help of these pet training tips, the senior in your life will be able to work with their pet to accomplish their goals and strengthen their bond. We encourage you and your loved one to work together, remain patient, and consistently reward your pet for their hard work!


Did you know that HarborChase is a pet-friendly senior living community? We want our residents to be able to bring their furry family members along with them! To learn more about HarborChase and other senior living tips and trends, make sure to subscribe to our blog!

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