Life is full of changes and if you don’t think your pet notices, well, you’re wrong. Many times behavior problems in pets can be traced to changes in their home life. After all, they live there too. Major life events such as death, separation, or divorce cause a great deal of emotional distress and pets pick up on it and become anxious. If people suddenly start shouting and arguing with one another, it has an effect on every creature in the house.
When it comes to your dog, your household and the people and pets in it are part of his pack. Members of the pack fighting or leaving will disturb the dog, which can result in behavior problems. Your dog doesn’t understand what’s going on in the human world and you can’t explain it to him, so realize that your personal problems can be a source of canine behavior problems. According to behaviorists, when a couple separates, it’s a good idea for the children and the dog(s) to stay together. Sharing a dog between two households rarely works well, since dogs are such creatures of habit. Continually interrupting and changing their routine frequently leads to problems, especially for older dogs.
Adding a new person into the household may cause problems for cats and dogs, especially if that person arrives with his or her own pets. It can take quite a while for everyone to adjust to the new arrangements and you should be on the lookout for jealousy. If problems arise, feed the animals separately and don’t leave prized toys on the floor that could be the source of a fight. Pets also may be jealous of human attention. If a cat hisses or a dog growls, don’t correct them. Instead simply ignore the animal and walk away. The sound of a human voice could encourage more aggression, so teach the pets quickly that any display of aggression will just cause you to walk away and not “play” that game anymore.
The only thing you can be sure of in life is change. If you have animals, take the time to try and understand their reactions when life’s changes happen.