Every animal, from fish to primates, has needs and wants – and that is precisely what facilitates training. I am a firm believer that virtually any animal can be trained, at least to some degree, with the right approach. That’s where positive reinforcement comes in. Positive reinforcement is the use of those wants or needs as rewards for behaviours that you want to encourage, and the simple lack of reward for undesirable behaviours. When using the positive reinforcement method, you never introduce any element of punishment.
Anyone who’s had their pet put under general anaesthetic will have had their vet run through the associated risks. We all know what it’s like to have selective hearing, drowning out all the reassurances and just having the warnings and hazards ringing in your ears. So choosing whether non-essential surgery is the right path for your animal really is one of the hardest decision any pet owner can make. That’s the position I found myself in a short while back when I asked myself whether I should get my guinea pig neutered.
Around Christmas time, the whole country comes together and there’s a universal appreciation for one of my all-time favourite animals – the robin. And I’m not the only one who loves this charismatic little bird. Here in the UK, our passion for the robin has caused it to become extraordinarily tame, and it isn’t uncommon to see one flitting between your feet, collecting crumbs, as you sit on a park bench.
As Halloween approaches, some say the veil between the worlds becomes thinner, that apparitions and spirits can cross over and venture into our very homes. But this Halloween, you don’t have to believe in ghouls, spirits or trapped souls to have a ghost in your house. I am, of course, referring to this delightful oddity: the ghost mantis.
Typically speaking, I tend to avoid the phrase ‘starter pet’ as this indicates that there is any pet in this world that requires anything less than complete commitment, dedicated research, and specialist care. However, I will concede there are some pets that are definitely NOT starter pets. Though a budgie is much more high maintenance than you might initially believe, they’re undeniably easier for a new bird owner to look after than, say, a macaw.