Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and bringing a new addition into the family is not a decision that should be taken lightly.
Even if you’re not a psychology major, you’re likely to have heard of Maslow’s triangle of needs. Usually, this theory is applied to humans, but in today’s article, we’re going to relate the same philosophy to pets, showing you what they require to have a good life.
Basic Phase: Physiological
Your pet needs food, water, warmth, and rest. To meet these needs, you as a pet owner need to ensure that your animal companion, irrespective of its size, has access to these four elements. For example, if you have a cat, it is likely to live indoors with you, with access to its food and water, with a comfortable space to rest (quite likely on your bed). A horse, on the other hand, is less independent than its feline counterparts and will require regular feeding, watering, and a warm, clean stable.
Basic Phase: Security
Many people consider their domestic animals to be members of the family. Considering this, you keep your home as safe as possible from external threats, so do the same for your pet. This could mean anything from installing new locks on stable doors to monitoring your furry friend’s health and wellness. One way in which to keep an eye on your pet’s wellbeing is to groom them regularly. This enables you to check for parasites or other possible health hazards. Brushing your pet increases their sense of security. If you have an equine friend, then invest in a set of horse grooming brushes, or a slicker brush if you have a cat.
Psychological Phase: Belongingness and Love
Having a relationship with your pet is extremely important. They need to feel like they belong and know that they are loved. Just as people need to nurture their human relationships, they need to cultivate a loving bond with their pets. Daily exercise sessions are one way to achieve this goal; another way is to have pet playdates – if the animals get along, of course!
Psychological Phase: Esteem
Animals too can suffer from depression. This could be the result of environmental changes, such as moving to a new home, or them feeling neglected. To increase a pet’s esteem requires patience, dedication, praise, and a pocket full of dietary treats. Many pet owners train their pets to obey certain commands and reward them afterwards. Positive reinforcement such as this will build your pet’s esteem.
Self-fulfilment Phase: Self Actualization
In the human aspect, self-actualization means reaching one’s full potential, including creative aspects. This may seem difficult to apply to animals, but it is possible. Think of horses: some have an excellent thoroughbred bloodline and they are trained to become racehorses, others are more suited to showjumping. The true self-actualization of both these equestrian sports would be the horses and their riders bring home that coveted red ribbon.
Armed with this psychological approach, your pet is sure to have a good life with you.