Behavioural Advice


Behavioural problems can be due to behavioural causes, medical causes, or both. If you are struggling with your pet's behaviour and need some guidance our vets can help you. When you come in for a behaviour consult the vet will undertake a comprehensive assessment which includes taking a full history, examining your pet and if necessary doing some tests.

Behavioural problems are often the combined effect of many factors, including your pet’s environment and learning. Changes in the environment may contribute to the emergence of behavioural problems.  For example, changes in routine, arrival of a new household member (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 can also cause your pet 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 pet.  Punishment of behavioural problems often worsens the situation, and it is very important that professional advice is obtained as soon as the problem appears.  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 pet’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 pet interacts with will be responsible for encouraging desirable behaviour. Some cases may also require medication alongside the new training techniques to get the best outcome.

If your concerned about your pet's behaviour we advise you contact us to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians.