Will It Be The Eve of Chaos or Calm?

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Sits & Sips – Enjoying a peaceful morning view and a cup of tea with my furry soulmate during the holidays

December has been a month of multicultural holiday celebrations, but the holidays ain’t over folks.

New Year’s Eve will be here in just a few days.  The question isn’t “when will it arrive?”  The question is, will it arrive at your home with a big bang, or will it arrive with grace and ease?   I can tell you honestly that New Year’s Eve will arrive at our house this year without whimpers or bangs.

But this wasn’t always so.

Festivus for Us! 

In the past, my home wasn’t calm and peaceful.  In fact, it was pretty crazy, especially this time of year.  For many years I used to host an annual New Year’s Eve party.  Friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers knew that my dojo was The Place To Go if you wanted to have a great night on New Year’s Eve.  For hours on end it was a fabulously fun FESTIVUS. People were coming and going all night. There were endless fireworks and food. Music was blasting, voices were booming, and drinks were pouring.  I threw one heck of a party.

Now I know better.

Consider every living being in your home. 

I can say with all sincerity that as much as I loved hosting for others, I know now that it was a bit selfish of me because I wasn’t thinking of everyone.  I had not considered how my housemates might have felt.  These roomies were not like most.  They didn’t speak my language.  I didn’t speak theirs at the time.  I did not consider the effects that New Year’s Eve’s shenanigans would have on them.

My roommates were the animals with whom I shared my home.


 

Despite what we often may think, animals are pretty complex creatures. They speak a different language than we do, they have quirks in their personalities that can make them quite unusual sometimes (like us humans) and they often display anxiety and discomfort in ways we don’t. -No Dog About It

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Consider Their Individual Needs. 

I can’t say that I ignored my furry, feathered, and scaly roomies’ needs when New Year’s Eve came around.  15 years ago I didn’t know their individual or species-specific needs.  I was unaware of what each animal in my home truly needed to feel safe and secure, content and stress-free when the party got started!

Many years ago I was in the old school dogs-and-dominance domain.  I knew just enough to get by.  I had a heart for fish and herps.  And I knew the basics of birds, cats, rats and rabbits.

But knowing the basics and having a heart for them wasn’t enough. -Not if they were to live long, healthy, peaceful, content, and minimally stressed lives.  Using old-school, masculine management techniques create more harm than good.  And a whole lotta love isn’t enough if we want our animal companions to flourish!

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I am who I am today because of the mistakes I made yesterday. ―The Prolific Penman


Know Their Needs. 

We all have opinions about pets.  But what do we really know to be true? Science and metaphysics are constantly discovering new and fascinating insights about animals.

Let’s look a just a few facts and stats to be aware of concerning our animal companions that will help everyone in your home move into the New Year with grace and ease:

  • Do you know how to determine when your cat is stressed?
  • Did you know that play can be a wonderful stress reliever?

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  • Did you know that yawning when not sleepy,  grooming out of context, shaking off, and stretching deeply are just a few examples of displacement behavior in cats and dogs?
  • Did you know that pets and kids don’t make the best combo during celebrations?
  • Do you know why it’s important to always have stuffed, frozen bones and Kongs available?

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Behaviors that reduce fear

signs of anxiety and fear aggression cats dogs


Stress is both a physical and mental problem.


 

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    Power of Food_cat fear

     

    Science of how food helps in dog training

     

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    All of this matters.Especially during the holidays.


     

    Are the holidays stressful for you? Consider how it affects your animal companions. Consider how they feel.  Consider their individual needs.  I failed to do this in years past, but now that I know better, I do better.

    Now we spend New Year’s Eve cuddled and calm. We don’t throw wild parties, and if we do have friends over, we set up our home environment to ensure the animals feel safe.


    How will you spend your New Year’s Eve this year?  Will you welcome it with calmness and without fear?   My wish is that you will.  May you find comfort and peace being home with the ones you love, and may you be content being together.

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    If you would like tips on HOW to make your home safe and calm BEFORE your New Year’s Eve company arrives, and BEFORE the fireworks and festivities begin, visit here.

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    Holy Moly Hormones!

    “Why is patience so important?”
    “Because it makes us pay attention.” 
    ― Paulo Coelho

    These are a few behaviors that parrot guardians often see during The Season of Hormones!

    It’s that time of year again! … Spring is here. The hormones have kicked in. Get Ready.

    Many of you know the scenario: One day your affectionate parrot is a content, happy member of your family, and the next minute he or she is acting like a psychotic monster attacking everyone and everything! Hormones are on the rise, feathers are flying, and beaks are gnashing!

    These Jekyll and Hyde personality changes are often due to “mating” season (AKA Spring to us humans).  Bird hormones tend to kick into high gear as their bodies prepare for ‘breeding season’. Don’t be mad at your feathered friend. They can’t help it, and their behavior only serves a greater purpose for them in the wild: Hormones dictate breeding success in birds.

    Some animals produce more offspring than others. Hormones like prolactin and corticosterone can exercise a crucial influence on the behaviour of birds in the breeding season and therefore on their reproductive success. ~ Princeton University researchers

    In the world of birds, the arrival of Spring means one very important thing: it’s time to get their bird breeding on!  Mating is how their species survives!  So strap on your patience pants, and maybe a harness for yourself, because this is most likely going to be a bumpy ride!

    For many parrot guardians this is a very trying time of year. Here’s are two things that you can do to get through this without losing your mind – or a finger: be patient and compassionate.  This is a difficult time for your feathered friend as well.  Their hormones are changing to prepare for breeding. This affects their bodies, and their moods. Remember how awful your hormonal years were?? These changes can make them more irritable. You can expect more screaming, biting, more destruction, and more unpredictable mood swings. Again, you must be patient; this won’t last forever.  It will get better if you know how to help them.

    Read on to discover some of the common signs of hormonal behavior in birds, and how to help your feathered friend cope with these hormone surges, so you can have a safer, healthier home environment.

    It’s very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a hormonal parrot, so we don’t merely label them as “crazy” or “mean”. Remember that every behavior serves a purpose to that animal.  It’s up to us as their guardians to be the detective and help them cope in our human world.

    What To Look For:

    • Eye pinning (pupils dilating and constricting)
    • Wing flapping
    • Tail fanning
    • Trembling, with wings dropped low in a ‘begging’ posture (he/she is asking you to feed him as a mate)
    • Panting when touched outside of the head and neck area
    • Regurgitating for you or for his/her toys
    • Increased appetite
    • Lifting the vent while cuddling (if female)
    • Mounting your hand by gripping your thumb (if male)
    • Head-bobbing, hopping/bouncing, or making ‘heart wings’ for you
    • Plucking or barbering feathers
    • Territoriality over the cage, room, you, or a family member
    • Excess aggression; including biting, screaming, and beak-bashing

    Hormones (triggered by weather changes, increased daylight hours and a variety of other factors) start coursing through the blood stream bringing about chemical changes in the body and some pretty odd behaviors.

    Other companion Bird Hormone Surge signs to be aware of:

    Note: Depending on the species, age, and individual animal, nesting behavior can last from a couple of weeks to a month or more.

     

    If you are seeing any of these behaviors, read on to learn a few tips to help a hormonally charged bird:

    • Gently avoid encouraging amorous advances from your feathered friend.
    • Be more aware of your bird’s body language; aggression can be avoided if you are paying attention to their signals.

     

    Please note: “Serious physical and psychological problems can develop if pet birds remain in reproductive hormone behavior for prolonged periods. Such birds are considered to be in chronic reproductive status (CRS), and owners should seek the assistance of their avian veterinarian and/or a parrot behavior consultant to help resolve this situation.”

     

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    Sited Sources:

    http://www.birdchannel.com