Are you familiar with the term behavioral counseling, in regards to pets? Just like people, dogs can sometimes suffer from mental issues, which often are a result of neglect, trauma, or phobias. Behavioral counseling is used to help our canine pals get over fears or phobias, or sometimes just learn better manners. Here, a Fort Collins, CO vet lists some key warnings that it may be time to get Fido some professional help.
Dogs all have their own personalities, and their own ways of reacting to threats, both real and perceived. While some of our canine buddies are pretty much ‘bomb proof,’ others get defensive quite easily. If Fido has any tendencies to aggression, either towards people or other pets, there’s a good chance he would benefit from counseling. This includes things like growling, barking, snarling, nipping, baring the teeth, and biting. Food aggression is also a concern.
Does Fido constantly chase his tail, or growl at the mail coming through the slot? Does he refuse to leave the cat alone, or ignore your commands? He may benefit from professional training.
Our four-legged friends can also suffer from anxiety. There’s quite a long list of things that can make pooches feel fearful, lonely, depressed, or scared. Uneasiness with being left alone—which is known as separation anxiety—is a common one. Fido may also be frightened of loud noises, storms, strong smells, car rides, vacuum cleaners, or even specific types of people. That anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways, including destructive behaviors, such as chewing and digging.
Does it sound like your pet could benefit from behavioral counseling? Go for it! You may be amazed at how helpful it can be. The exact training steps needed to help Fido will vary, depending on the type and severity of his issue. However, there are some common rules of thumb. First, don’t punish your pup for misbehaving. Dogs don’t really understand the concept of punishment, especially after the fact. This may make your four-legged buddy feel scared, confused, or angry, which will only make matters worse. Focus on rewarding your pooch for being good. Also, be consistent with your rules. Finally, make sure your furry friend is getting enough activity, entertainment, and attention.
Do you think your canine companion needs behavioral counseling? Call us, your Fort Collins, CO local vet clinic!