Not every mom has furry kids, however there are many who do- and a large percentage of these moms may be doing a great job disciplining their human kids while they tend to forget to set boundaries for their pets. In other words, if a child is whining or throwing a temper tantrum- a time-out is usually set for the child. However, if the dog is jumping up on you while you are having dinner, and whining and scratching you at the same time- it is very easy to feel guilty if you ignore the animal and end up giving him or her table scraps as a result. The animal may use similar tactics to have a pet or just attention in general. The problem with giving into your pets’ bad behaviour over and over again is that they start to believe that if they act in unacceptable ways, they will get what they want. In other words, giving your pet attention while being manipulative (and yes, your pets are a lot smarter than they are given credit for) will keep the bad cycle going. Many moms and dads know when a child is misbehaving to not give into it. However, if the dog or cat is using some manipulative tactic to get what he or she wants from you- it is very easy to think what the animal is doing is not so bad as well as the fact it appears cute.
I am going to tell you right now, when your dog or cat is becoming very vocal (excessive barking, meowing, whining, etc) while you are having a snack, or if you are trying to work on your computer or busy doing something else and ignoring them- that behaviour is not cute. If your pet is trying to manipulate you, you must ignore it the same way you ignore your child’s negative behaviour.
If the pet whining due to not being well, that is a different story all together. You will know if that is the case by their overall demeanor. That is when you need to attend to the animal! I am talking about if the animal is trying to get your attention in unacceptable ways because you are not giving them all of your attention or they want your food- you must ignore your pet. In time he or she will realize that if he or she wants your attention or wants a piece of food (which you need to be careful with as well- giving them grapes, onions and chocolate can be deadly and you may want to do some research on what foods are safe for them) that those manipulation tactics will no longer work. The time to give them what they want is if they are being quiet and leaving you alone. That is the time to reward them, the same way you reward your child for good behaviour!