Behavioural problems can be due to behavioural causes, medical causes, or both.
Our veterinarians will investigate behavioural problems by obtaining a full history and conducting a full examination (sometimes your dog may require blood or urine tests to rule out underlying medical conditions) to accurately diagnose a problem. Behavioural problems are often the combined effect of many factors, including your dog’s environment and learning.
Genetics can also predispose your dog to some behaviours, however the expression of those behaviours will depend on your dog’s early socialisation and training.
Changes in the environment may contribute to the emergence of behavioural problems. For example, changes in routine, a new member of the household (pet, baby or spouse), moving house, or the loss of a family member or pet can have a dramatic impact on behaviour. Any medical or degenerative changes associated with ageing may cause the dog to be even more sensitive to these environmental changes.
Learning also plays a part in many behavioural problems. Early training and socialisation is essential to have a happy, well-adjusted dog. Punishment of behavioural problems often worsens the situation and it is very important that professional advice is obtained as soon as the problem appears to effectively resolve it. Positive reinforcement is the preferred method for changing behaviour, however this also needs to be used carefully as it can encourage undesirable behaviour if used incorrectly.
How are behavioural problems treated?
There is no simple cure for any behavioural problem, so be careful when taking ”helpful” advice. For example, many people with a destructive dog are given the advice to get another dog to fix the problem, however, they may end up with two destructive dogs! It is very important that the cause of the problem is addressed, not just the symptoms of the problem. For example don’t chain a dog up because it is digging; find out the reason for the digging and treat the dog accordingly.
When it comes to your dog’s behaviour, it is extremely important to seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian or animal behaviour specialist. Changing problem behaviour requires commitment on behalf of the whole family, as everyone your dog interacts with will be responsible for encouraging desirable behaviour. For some problems such as barking, escaping, aggression, or separation anxiety it is beneficial to see the dog in its natural environment, thus a home visit may be appropriate. Some cases may also require medications alongside the new training techniques to get the best outcome.
For this and other behavioural problems we advise you contact us to make an appointment with Dr Raj or one of our veterinarians.
One of our most commonly asked questions is “Who do you recommend for training?”
We often talk about dog’s behaviour in their annual health-check consultations, as well as in-depth discussion about particular behavioural problems with more involved cases.
The Dog Clinic has built a close working relationship with two Greater Hobart businesses who focus on dog training – general obedience, correcting undesireable behaviours using postive reinforcement, reactive dogs, nose works and other mental stimulation courses. We see a lot of success with patients who attend regular training sessions alongside the advice of The Dog Clinic veterinarians from their behavioural consultations – medicine and training often go hand in hand.
Call us on 03 6227 9586 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can recommend the best training fit for you!
Aiden, Maddie and Ingrid at Every Dog offer one on one consultations with behaviour modification plans for our patients who present with reactive, aggressive or anxious tendencies. Every Dog also offers private lessons and group sessions, and many, many social and training classes for dogs from all walks of life – too many to list here in all their glory! Head to Every Dog’s website to find out more: http://www.everydog.com.au/
Carly at Super Woofers is a reward-based dog trainer who uses kind and ethical training methods. Super Woofers offers private lessons, group classes and workshops to help you teach your pooch to be the most polite and well behaved dog there is! Head to Super Woofers’ website to read more about Carly’s services: https://www.superwoofers.com/