We all want a pet who is happy and well behaved. The more you understand why your pet behaves the way it does, the easier it will be for you to train your pet and make them a happy and polite member of your family.
What affects pet behaviour?
- Genetics. For example, dogs have an inborn desire to dig. Cats have an instinct to sharpen their claws on vertical surfaces. Rabbits naturally go back to the same place to toilet.
- What pets have learnt from past experiences
- The environment. For example, a dog with no shade in the backyard will be more likely to dig a hole to keep cool. A cat with a litter tray that is only cleaned once a month will use the pot plants as a toilet.
Problem behaviour or behavioural problem?
A problem behaviour is a natural, normal behaviour your pet is showing which is being expressed in an inappropriate way.
Common problem behaviours include: jumping on people, digging, barking and chewing objects. Problem behaviours respond very well to training.
True behavioural problems are abnormal behaviours that are damaging to your dog’s health, and may be akin to psychological problems in people.
Some behavioural problems include:
- Noise phobias including thunderstorms
- Separation anxiety or a fear of being left alone
- Obsessive compulsive behaviours such as tail chasing or pacing
- Aggression towards other dogs or people
Your vet is trained in assessing behavoural problems and can advise the most appropriate treatment. This may involve training or referring to a veterinary behaviourist’s dedicated behaviour modification plan. Some dogs may require medication to help with their behavioural problem. Contact us to learn more.
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