Is Your Pet Head of the House?
With so many households now including pets, their role in the family dynamic is changing. While owning pets can have a calming effect in many instances, the pets can create tension in other relationships.
Some families use their pets as peace keepers and often the pet, sensing tension, will do whatever possible to make peace. Since all members of the family view the pet with affection, if the family cat, for example, jumps on the lap of a feuding family member, it often has a calming effect on the warring factions.
Pets can create tension in the family if issues like discipline are not agreed upon by all. As with children, if the pet’s boundaries are not clearly defined and enforced consistently by all family members, behaviorial problems may result. Outside pet behavorists or trainers are often looked to for help in these cases.
Another point of contention may be the pet’s role in the family. Depending on the background of family members, the pet may be viewed almost as a human, while others may view the pet as more of a protector. The differing viewpoints can become even more troublesome when determining how much money to spend for veterinary care, pet supplies or services such as dog walkers.
Families that don’t figure out what the pet’s role will be prior to bringing him home can face some major problems. With some work the issues can hopefully be resolved, keeping the family intact.
What is your pet’s role in your family?