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Tag: guinee pig

Classroom Pets – What You Need to Know!

The summer has blown by and back-to-school is just around the corner! Are you a teacher or a parent? Did you have a classroom pet when you went to school? Maybe you’re a student who’d like to have one?Classroom pets offer a variety of cool and interesting ways to learn and engage students. They are also an obligation though. Let us walk you through some of the ups and downs!

What sort of animal makes a good classroom pet?

Not a dog or a cat for sure! Low maintenance animals are best. Ideally, it’s not a critter that needs to be taken home every night, is small and doesn’t cause classroom disturbance.

  • Guinea Pigs – Small, relatively quiet. They require minimal care, are generally calm and easy to handle. You will need to have a pair though to prevent boredom and loneliness.
  • Hamsters – All the same features of a guinea pig, but smaller. They do tend to be nocturnal though, so students will see less of their prime activity hours.
  • Lizards – Iguanas, bearded dragons, and the like make super low maintenance classroom pets. Their needs will vary slightly depending on the type you get but they usually require less food, interaction, and are easy to handle.
  • Rats – Nice clean pet shop rats (not the ones from the alley!) are a super smart and active classroom pet. Students can spend time building mazes and test the rat’s brain power! They are also less likely to bite than hamsters or mice.
  • Fish – Probably the lowest maintenance pet, but also likely the one with the least amount of reward. They can add a nice, calming atmosphere to the classroom though and make good study subjects for aquatic science! Also, consider hermit crabs!

Classroom Pet Pro’s

Pets in the learning space can provide exciting new ways for students to engage with their curriculum. Animals can frequently be easily incorporated into math (animal weight, food measurements), science, and even history, social studies, and literature! They also instill a sense of responsibility and respect for life in children. They can also have a great calming effect on nervous or upset students. Plus, parents might appreciate seeing how their student interacts with a classroom pet before committing to one in the home!

Classroom Pet Con’s

Most of the cons have to do with the added responsibility on the teachers part. Teachers are, ultimately, responsible for the welfare of the pet. They need to ensure students are performing daily feedings and care properly and that the pet’s living space is kept clean. They are also responsible for vet visits (though some schools may foot the bill), shots, and spaying/neutering. It’s also important for the pet to have a place to go during vacations, or even the weekends depending on the animal.  It’s also suggested that parents give their expressed permission for their child to interact with the school pet, in the case of a rogue bite or scratch.

photo credit: Ukelens Guinea Pig Photoshooting Selection via photopin (license)

Bonding With Your Pet – How To Build A Relationship

Bonding with a pet is an important move to make. One needed to ensure a long-lasting and happy relationship. While bonding may come naturally to many, others can struggle and don’t know where to begin. The process can be much easier when you get your pet as a baby. As they grow they adapt and become familiar with you and your habits. Bonding can be harder if you are adopting an adult shelter pet though. The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, may not be entirely true but it does take some extra effort!

Bonding with your Pet

  • Leave them alone – If your new pet seems unsure of you, don’t force the situation. Let your new pet – be it a dog, cat, bunny, or guinea pig, be the first to initiate contact. Often times confining your pet to the same area as you while sitting quietly will entice them to investigate you. Don’t try to pet them until they’re comfortable being near you. Do they cower under things? We’ve heard that the best way to bond with something like a baby bunny is to sit in an empty bathtub with them, forcing them to be near you instead of cowering under the nearest piece of furniture!
  • Treats! – Don’t ever underestimate the power of a treat! The initial pet bonding time is all about making your animal have positive associations with you. Once they are comfortable being near you, start petting them, scratching behind the ears, and dole out a treat or two. Dog and cat treats are easy to come by, but for smaller pets like rabbits, try a little bit of banana! They can smell it a long way off!
  • Consistency – If you want to form a strong bond you have to be around your pet regularly. During the bonding process is not the time for vacations and pet sitters! Make yourself available to your pet regularly and be sure to try to work them into your daily routine. Consistency builds a stable and safe environment.

Remember that patience is key, especially if you have a shelter pet that has had a rough life. Try visiting the pet at the shelter a couple times before you take them home. Just like with any relationship trust and comfort must be established before any true affection can grow!

photo credit: OLAF via photopin (license)