Sit. Stay. Lay Down. Ugh, Fido isn't listening, so what do you do?

Penelope BonBon

Life skills un-pawsed

Here I sit. A homeless cat at a humane society. Leads me to pondering … what are the main causes of pet homelessness?

One thing is clear, the reasons are beyond the control of the pet. Causes are typically financial (loss of a job that leads to reduced income and inability to feed or provide medical care for a pet) or behavioral (pet parent does not understand how to address an unwelcome behavior of their pet, gets frustrated, gets rid of pet). So by addressing these causes we eliminate pet homeless right? Great, let's do this!

I am going to talk about the behavioral issues today but strongly urge you to check out Second Chance’s Emergency Response Programs for help with any financial barriers that may have you thinking you can’t keep your pet as part of your family. You can learn about these on their website or by giving them a call (both listed below).

Now, to increase the bond between you and your pet, as well as eliminate behaviors that you don’t find appealing, Second Chance’s training classes are gearing back up (social distance- style of course) after the COVID pause.

These low-cost classes are available to all community members in our tri-county service area and take place at the Second Chance shelter in Ridgway. The staff are working on bringing the classes to Montrose County as well.

These four-week life skills courses focus on those skills that help animals stay safe including basic obedience, like waiting at doors until released, and commands like leave it and drop it. Instilling good manners is vital to a long-term pet relationship and statistics have shown that pet parents with behaviorally sound pets are more satisfied and possess a stronger bond with those animals.

Classes also emphasize socialization, because learning good doggie interactions is just as essential for a well-rounded and healthy pet. And don’t worry, you don’t have to break social distancing guidelines to work on socializing your pet. Classes are low-cost (and even lower cost if you adopted from Second Chance) and suitable for non-aggressive pets who are spay/neutered and vaccinated. Currently, Second Chance is running a puppy intro class but adult dog classes will begin shortly.

Second Chance also offers virtual private sessions by appointment to address specific behavior issues like reactivity, hiking off leash or singing off tune (kidding on that one) and these sessions are open to cat parents as well. Yes, cats can learn and be motivated in many of the same ways as dogs and my staff are committed to working with you to eliminate unwanted behaviors well before you give up on your cat.

About me:

My name is Penelope BonBon, but my staff just call me Penny. I am a 4 year young, female who likes to pretend I am shy but secretly I just adore attention, once you have proven trustworthy. They say I am a lovebug but there is no bugging about it — I just love. Did I mention I am up for adoption?

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties for more than 26 years. Call 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Community Medical, spay/neuter, volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.

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