Pet frustration: your cat just knocked your coffee all over your keyboard. Your dog ate your best pair of heels. It’s 5 am and someone needs to go outside for a potty break. Even if you live with the most well-trained dog or the best-behaved cat, the day to day demands of caring for animals can be stressful. And if your pet has behavioral or health problems that require more of your time and attention, you may experience true caregiver fatigue. Help yourself and your pet by taking care of your own needs, too.
Don’t feel guilty if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Pet blogs and informational websites tend to focus on positive experiences and solutions to problems. Training websites, in particular, may make you feel that any frustrations you are having with your pet are down to you. After all, if you diligently follow their simple methods, your pet will behave. Unfortunately, it’s not usually that easy. Like people, dogs are complex, and so are their behavioral issues. If the latest three-step training technique is failing you, it may not mean that you are a lousy trainer. Try a new technique. You are going to lose your patience sometimes, and the trick is being able to step back. You are not a horrible person if you occasionally get angry at your pet.
Take a break.
It’s easy for people to understand that parents need to get away from their human children from time to time. For some reason, it’s harder for people to accept that pet parents need to take an occasional break from their furry dependents, too. Let’s face it, the daily demands of a pet, especially an active dog, can be taxing. Sure, you signed up for it, and you have accepted the responsibility for your pet. That doesn’t mean you won’t need a vacation from the litter box or the hair balls or the early morning wet nose in your face once in a while. Take some intentional time away from your pet if you can. You’ll come back feeling more generous.
Reach out for support.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, chances are there’s someone in your tribe of animal lovers who has been through the same thing. Don’t go it alone. Get in touch with a veterinarian or trainer if you think you need extra help with your pet.
Make a change.
Boredom can contribute to feeling overwhelmed. If you are bored with the daily walk, take a new route or go to a dog-park instead. Buy your pet a new toy. Teach him a new trick. Doing something different together can strengthen your bond with your pet.