Our Chihuahua has a storied past. She started out in the streets of Mexico as a stray and somehow wandered across the border and into our home in Southern California. Roxy's anxiety levels were off the charts. Every time someone looked in her direction, she quivered, exposing her malnourished ribs. We had a lot of challenges to overcome with her, most notably, getting her to understand the difference between doing her business on our tile floors or in our backyard. Maybe it was the language barrier. I'm pretty sure she's telling me, "no comprendo," every time I ask her a question.
My experience with our first two pets, also ten's on the anxiety scale prior to their adoptions into our family, helped me prepare for our precious Roxy. She may not be bi-lingual, however, she is pretty good about interpreting body language. And the more anxious pet owner are, the more they reflect that behavior. Here are some pointers for anyone considering adopting a new pet:
- Check your own anxiety levels before you introduce a new pet to your family. Pets are amazing at reflecting what they observe. The more calmness you display, the more relaxed they will be.
- Be consistent. After three years of attempting to teach Roxy to do her business outdoors, she finally learned. When we tell her, "go to the bathroom," she responds with numero uno. And when she finishes, we tell her, "go poop." She knows what to do.
- Make sure your visitors remain calm when they visit. If they show signs of fear, that fear transfers to your pets. If this is not nipped, your problem will only magnify.