Behavioural

When pet behaviour problems threaten the peaceful and loving relationship between you, your family and your pet, everyone suffers. Behavioural problems that can develop with your pet disrupt your life in many different ways, sometimes so severely you consider turning your pet over to a shelter or even having it euthanized.

While some pets develop behaviour problems because of severe mistreatment, that’s not typically the issue with a family pet. Often it can be as innocent as a training method gone poorly. Sometimes it can be a medical problem whose symptoms are exhibited as bad behaviour. Regardless, it creates a frustrating atmosphere for your household and robs every one of the pleasure that should exist between a pet and its owner.

Your pet’s behaviour problems can show up as something simple, like issues with house training. In worst case scenarios, a pet can have extreme anxiety problems or become overly aggressive. With a goal to help restore the special relationship between you and your pet, our trained staff can help diagnose and work with you and your pet to correct these behaviour problems. We can treat the problems through a combination of medication and training. Before things get to a point where you feel like you can no longer provide a home for your pet, let us have the opportunity to discuss the issues with you and offer a solution.

Dog Behaviour

Dogs

Chewing
It’s extremely disheartening to come home to see your things chewed to pieces by your dog; pillows, shoes, furniture, who knows what else. Of course it’s common for puppies to chew but when they don’t outgrow the behaviour, it gets to be a real problem. Make sure you’re providing your dog with the right kind of chew toys. You need to stop this bad behaviour right away, not only to protect your possessions from being destroyed, but to also protect your dog from eating something that could be harmful to him.

Learning To Walk on a Leash
Taking your dog on a walk provides the exercise he needs to stay healthy. But a dog that constantly pulls on the leash can make this less than an enjoyable activity. Keep the leash short and whenever the dog pulls, stop immediately. He’ll stop too and that’s when you reward him and then keep walking. Over time, he’ll get the message that pulling doesn’t work.

Separation Anxiety
Some dogs get so upset when you leave they resort to very destructive behaviour. You can help him learn that you will always return. Begin by leaving him for just 5 to 10 minutes, slowly increasing your away time each trip. Leaving the TV or radio on can help keep him calm and be sure to leave a chew toy. Don’t make a big deal about leaving and returning. Crate-training can be an effective method to help with separation anxiety for younger dogs. If it remains a problem with older pets you should seek advice from your vet.

Jumping
A dog that jumps on everyone can be a real nuisance. Not everyone is as fond of your pet as you are and can find this very annoying, even scary. To stop this kind of behaviour make sure you aren’t creating excitement about greeting your dog. Tell him to sit and don’t give him any attention until he does. He’ll learn to have more control and won’t get so rambunctious every time someone comes to your door.

Biting
A dog that bites can be a real problem. You need to start early with a pet to teach them how to handle themselves around people and other animals. There are many things that can make your pet anxious, especially small kids, or being bothered at feeding time. Keep a close watch on your dog for signs that they are feeling threatened. Exposing them to different situations will help them trust others.

Aggression
An aggressive dog can be a threat to people they’re not comfortable around or feel threatened by. This is a behaviour problem that you should get help with from a professional, to build trust between you and your dog. Make sure you take the necessary precautions, like keeping your dog muzzled and on a leash, when taking them out in public.

Barking
When a dog barks too much it can become a problem. You won’t get them to stop by yelling at them so you need to find the proper training method to get results. They need to learn to have control and you can do that by teaching them, for instance, to sit before doing something fun like going for a walk. If their kept outdoors all day you may need to change their routine. A professional can help you with obedience training to control excessive barking.

Cats

Destructive Scratching
Cats need to scratch, but when they’re using your furniture for the scratching post it becomes a problem. Several techniques can be used to deter this kind of destructive behaviour. Spraying with water is one, however not all cats will react to this in the same way. There are products on the market that you spray to keep cats away that can be effective. You can also try putting double sided sticky tape over areas you don’t want them to scratch, or buying “scat mats” to keep them away. Either of these methods can cause the cat to associate scratching with a bad experience.

Cats have a natural need to scratch so be sure to provide plenty of opportunities to do so. Use scratching posts around the home and spray them with catnip to make them more attractive.

Litter Box Issues
This is another area where cats can have real problems. A cat that refuses to use its litter box can be a frustrating and messy problem. There are a lot of different issues that might cause this behaviour.

A lot of cat owners try to use covered litter boxes for obvious reasons. But a cat may feel trapped in a covered box and refuse to use it. In this case, just try removing the cover and see if that takes care of the problem. You might also love the idea of the fancy, self cleaning litter boxes, but the noise might scare your cat away and keep them from going back.

As a cat owner, you already know cats are finicky and that goes for the litter box too. They don’t like using a dirty litter box so it’s important to keep it cleaned out daily. If you have more than one cat in the house, there should be one litter box for every cat.

It could be something as simple as the kind of litter you’re using. A recently declawed cat may find some types of litter hurts their paws. Experimenting with different litter products can sometimes fix the problem.

Climbing Cats
It’s hard to keep cats away from counters, tables etc. especially when they smell food. You have to be diligent about training your cat to stop this behaviour. Making loud noises, spraying with water or using the sticky tape and scat mats, can be effective ways to train them. You want them to associate this bad behaviour with a bad experience.

If you have experienced any of these behavioural issues and are not sure how to resolve them, please contact our staff