Your pet dogs are your most pampered family members. Aren’t they? You love them, care for them, enjoy their company, their tail wagging, and many cute gestures. You get worried if your dogs fall ill. Similarly, your pet may fall prey to some behavioral problems, such as separation anxiety, aggression towards guests, fear-related stress, and more.
Usually, you get to know many remedies for health issues among dogs during your conversations with friends and other pet owners. However, unfortunately, there is very little awareness about the proven ways to handle behavior problems among dogs.
Let us try to understand some standard behavior issues among dogs in this article. We would also discuss the role of a board-certified vet in treating these behavior issues among dogs.
What Do You Mean By Behavioral Problems Among Dogs?
A cute puppy or a dog is among the pets that you treat as your family members. Now, what if your dog suddenly starts behaving a bit ‘abnormally?’ The degree of severity is the key here. Some of the issues, such as barking and chewing, are common among dogs. Yet, you need to determine if the extent is more than its normal behavior. Such issues are known as behavioral issues.
Experts classify behavior problems among dogs in three stages:
Behaviors within the normal range:
Depending upon the breed and the age of your dog, they may show some weird behavior. However, you need to understand how you can effectively manage these behaviors.
More complicated or challenging behavior
Some issues may fall beyond the normal range of behavior and might be tedious to manage for you as pet parents.
Pathologic and abnormal behavior
Your dogs may undergo some emotional or psychological issues, leading to severe behavior issues. This category may rise if there may be any genetic issues or if your dogs were not socialized at the right age.
How To Identify If Your Dog Has Some Behavior Problems?
Pet owners should know some signs of behavioral issues among dogs. Sometimes, these behavioral changes may not be problematic. You need to determine if the change comes under normal behaviors.
Barking is familiar among dogs. In the first place, you must determine if your dog’s barking is due to playfulness and excitement or it is a sign of alert or some warning. Your dog may seek attention through barking and whining too. Also, the barking may be a result of boredom or a response to other dogs in sight.
Though chewing is an everyday activity for dogs, especially puppies, if it turns destructive, you should consider it a behavior problem. Chewing among puppies may be due to teething or curiosity. Whereas dogs may chew due to boredom, extra energy, or anxiety.
Do you own a terrier that has a predator history and prefers digging very often? If not, is your dog digging to seek comforts like cooling or nesting? Your dogs may be trying to hide their belongings by digging too. You must make out the reason behind your dog’s digging. If it is due to anxiety or boredom, it may be an alarming sign.
Unacceptable Urination and Defecation Habits (Inappropriate Elimination)
You must have trained your dog to poop and pee properly. Yet, if it urinates or is defecated in unacceptable places, like your interiors, surroundings, and other’s home, or goes on urine marking, you may face embarrassment. Inappropriate elimination is among the most frustrating behavior problems among dogs.
If you or other family members spend a lot of quality time with your pet dog and suddenly stop it, your dog may fall prey to separation anxiety. You can take a glance at our detailed blog on the possible separation anxiety in the post-pandemic era.
If you find any of these signs persistently in your dogs, you should understand the severity of the situation and begin treatment for your dog as soon as you can.
When Should You Take Your Dog To A Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic?
The behavioral pattern of your dogs depends upon various factors, such as their breed, age, socializing frequency, and early life. As a sensible pet parent, you need to analyze these factors well before jumping to a conclusion about your dog’s behavior problems.
As explained earlier, if the abnormality reaches the second or third stage, it’s time to consult professional veterinary behaviorists. Before that, prepare yourself to define the exact issue in a pinpointed manner. The animal behavior specialist would interview you to diagnose your dog’s behaviors, its routine, any pain it experiences, and more.
Are Veterinarians Dog Behavior Experts?
You need to consider many angles and corners while choosing the proper veterinary care to treat behavioral issues among your dogs. Usually, veterinarians are trained about the medical problems persisting among dogs, causing behavioral issues. Thus, vets can provide more comprehensive treatment for behavioral problems among your dogs.
There is another community of vets too. They are board-certified as veterinary behaviorists or animal behaviorists. They specialize in treating behavior issues among various pets, including dogs, cats, horses, birds, etc.
They can analyze the underlying medical conditions causing pain, aggression, or anxiety. They provide training for behavior modification as a line of treatment to overcome behavior-related issues.
Thus, it is better to look for an animal behaviorist to treat behavior problems among your dogs.
How Can You Find An Animal Behaviorist To Tackle A Behavioral Problem With Your Dog?
Let’s be honest- you won’t find a vet or an animal behaviorist browsing through newspapers and magazines. Your friends and colleagues may own pets or may not. The pet behavior specialist they recommend may take you to the other corner of the city.
So, how can you find a veterinary behaviorist? The answer is https://greatvet.com. Yes, our platform, which is one of the most preferred online veterinarian databases. You can find the best-rated vets, a specialist dog behaviorist, vet clinics, vet hospitals, and more in your city or area conveniently.
You can go through the profile and rating of registered veterinary hospitals and pet behavior specialists. Then, you can fix an appointment online. Our platform is accessible through various browser-enabled devices, like desktops, laptops, tablet phones, and smartphones.
So, you can find a dog behaviorist, get his or her contact details and schedule an appointment to get your pet dogs examined even on the go.
Why Is It Better To Contact Veterinary Behaviorists To Treat Behavior Problem In Your Dog?
Veterinary behaviorists know animal behavior from in and out. They undergo detailed training in animal behavior. To become a certified professional, they complete practice in the same specialization for about eight to 12 years. They are experts in dealing with various behavioral issues among many animals, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, guinea pigs, and more.
They are well aware of the underlying medical conditions causing problematic behavior among pets and other animals, like animals in the farm, zoo, and forests. Again, with their extensive experience, they can prescribe veterinary medicine to treat behavior problems.
They examine your pet, diagnose the issue, and decide a line of treatment professionally. The behaviorists may ask you several questions to gauge the behavioral history of your pet dog. Then, they check your dogs for various medical problems. And then, they begin treatment after taking the owners in confidence.
Certified and experienced animal behaviorists can determine the root cause of various issues, like pain, different types of aggression, fear, aggression fear, etc. They are well versed in training your dogs to reduce anxiety, compulsive behaviors, and more. They design and implement a training program for behavior modification of your pet dog.
Thus, their approach for the treatment of behavioral issues among dogs would be multidimensional. They provide veterinary medicine to overcome medical conditions and organize training for behavior modification too.
What Would Be a Vet’s First Step For Diagnosis of Pet Behavior?
The professional vet certified in pet behavior would initiate the diagnosis by talking to the owner. The tests to diagnose health disorders leading to behavioral issues follow the next.
During the first step of diagnosis, a vet focuses on:
- The stimulus elements that trigger aggression,
- Diagnosis of underlying causes of pain in your pet dog,
- Fear related behavior among puppies, like fear aggression, aggression toward visitors, or aggression toward other dogs,
- Analysis of your pet dog’s play and expected behavior,
- Any signs of anxiety, and more.
Your fluency in answering these questions depends upon the quality time you spend with your dog to walk and play with it, play with it, pet it, and create an emotional bond with it.
How Does A Dog Behaviorist Diagnose And Treat Behavioral Issues Among Dogs?
During the detailed diagnosis, the dog behaviorist determines if the behavioral issue includes some signs of aggression, fear, compulsive behaviors, or issues related to the environment your pet lives in. Understanding the normal behavior and stimulus elements causing disorders is another priority.
The treatment can be broadly divided into the following three steps:
This step includes
- Analyzing your dog’s behavioral history,
- Conducting some tests to rule out any underlying health issues,
- Observing the video recordings of the problem, and
- Observing the pet dog during consultation.
During the counseling sessions, the vets ask pet parents to fill up a questionnaire regarding the particular behavioral issue in their pet dogs. This questionnaire compiles valuable information to decide the line of treatment and informs pet parents about the seriousness of the behavior problem and the tentative duration of the treatment.
Moreover, animal behaviorists study behavioral problems in depth. They suggest training methods and educate the pet parents to improve the environment for dogs at home. The behavior of the dogs may improve as the approach of the pet parents alters. Significantly, the fear-related behavior issues need the owner’s attention to eliminate the stimulus elements and bring their dogs to ease.
Vets carry out a thorough diagnosis of behavior issues among dogs, such as aggression directed toward guests, other pets, or other dogs, pain due to some stress, anxiety, and other factors. Accordingly, they design a pet-specific treatment plan. Then, they inform the owner regarding what their role and cooperation would be.
Educating the owner
The expert dog behaviorist explains the causes and remedies of the behavioral issue in detail in the beginning stage of the treatment. The experts put forth the veterinary perspective, changes required in the environment where the animals live, and why it is crucial to rectify the signs of behavioral issues, like aggressive behavior, anxiety, and fear leading to abnormal behaviors, and so on.
Management of the environment
The veterinary behaviorist suggests environment management initiatives to owners. The intention of this process would be:
- Avoid exposure to the stimulus factors manipulating the pet’s brain to act weird
- Avoiding access to problem areas related to the causes of abnormal behaviors among pets
- Creating some drain points to let the pets express and normalize
This phase of the treatment emphasizes changing the pets’ response to stimulus agents, like fear, aggression, and anxiety. The vet designs a dog training program specific to the diagnosis of the behaviors, like the signs of aggressive reactions, compulsive disorders, pain, fear, etc.
The vets may suggest some behavior modification products to address the dog behavior problems during the training. Examples could be head halter, dog collar, and other objects to control dog aggression.
How Can Vets Train Your Dogs For Behavior Modification?
Training for behavior modification includes various techniques. The methodology is preventive and also for cultivating positive habits to reduce the response to stimulus elements. The dog behaviorist tries to redesign the thinking process and reactions controlling the brain of the dogs.
Here are some of the proven training methods to tackle behavior disorders related to fear, aggressive responses, anxiety, and stress, and more:
This method involves repeated exposure to a stimulus situation without any rewards to the dogs. They are made habitual to face similar problems, and their response would be gradually modified to normal.
If the duration between two consecutive stimulus situations is more, the dog may react. Here, the owners are suggested to ignore their barking or similar acts to let them recover spontaneously.
This method involves repeated rewards to your dogs for a positive response they give to a situation. This increases the chances of positive behavior and trains the dog’s brain to overcome the crisis.
This method involves stopping a reward from discouraging a behavioral issue among dogs.
This method teaches a dog to tolerate an adverse incidence and maintain the behavior in the normal range.
Likewise, there are several other behavioral modification training methods. Dog behaviorists are well versed in the implementation of specific strategies to treat particular behavior disorders. Thus, the behavioral problems are gradually minimized.
Do Dog Behaviorists Prescribe Veterinary Medicines To Treat Behavior Disorders?
Dog behaviorists do prescribe veterinary medicines to overcome behavior disorders, such as fear, aggression, compulsive disorders, and fear-related issues, and more. Yet, the designing and implementation of the drugs and dosage depend upon the experiences and expertise of individual pet behaviorists.
It may take longer to get results, and there might be reactions and allergies due to some medicines. The vets share the possible adverse impacts with the owners. However, the use of medication is an emerging trend to treat behaviors.
How Can You Support Your Dog To Get Rid of Behavioral Problems?
There are many steps that owners can initiate to help their dogs get rid of a behavior disorder. The supportive elements are ignoring them, spraying some water to normalize them, using a head halter, proper leash and head techniques, etc.
The key factors are providing proper attention to your dogs, petting them, spending quality time with them, and noticing minute changes in their behavioral patterns or body language. Try providing nutritious food, a healthy routine with a good scope to play and socialize, and a happy and healthy environment.
The issues related to behaviors among your dogs require immediate attention to be treated before they worsen. The veterinarians specialized in animal behavior help you to address numerous types of behavioral issues among your dogs.
The owners must and notice any signs of problematic dog behavior and approach the best-rated dog behaviorists. Veterinarians offer multidisciplinary treatment for dog behavior issues, including counseling, training, medication, and more. Trust your vets to help your dogs regain their normal behavior.