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Behavioral problems are one of the most common causes of euthanasia in dogs. There are two main behavioral conditions that veterinarians are regularly asked to deal with, and these are aggression and separation anxiety. Let’s look at them one by one.
Dog aggression is a very serious problem. It’s important to realize that any dog is capable of aggression, whether they are a large Rottweiler or a tiny Chihuahua. There are many causes of aggression in dogs. Some dogs have a genetic tendency to behave in this way; some dogs are not socialized properly as puppies and have learned this behavior. Some dogs will bite because they are in pain. Unless you work out exactly why your dog is aggressive, you won’t be able to manage it successfully.
If your dog is aggressive, your first port of call is your veterinarian for a full examination. They will make sure there isn’t a medical cause of your dog’s behavior. If all is okay, then they will refer you to a specialist who has extra qualifications in animal behavior. Treatment is likely to be medication and a training program to teach them how to behave better.
Don’t be complacent with an aggressive dog. They are not safe to have around, and can cause severe injuries.
Dogs with separation anxiety don’t like to be left alone. They become very distressed when you are out, and they may bark and whine, much to the annoyance of your neighbors. They may even damage your furniture and scratch at your doors. This is a frustrating condition to have to live with, and although it can often be treated, it can take several months and a great deal of commitment from their owner to resolve the problem. Treatment involves a combination of behavior modifying medication, and teaching them how to cope when they are on their own.
In Summary – To prevent your dog from developing behavior problems, choose your pup’s breeder carefully and make sure the parents are mentally sound. When you take your pup home, take the time to socialize them and enroll them in puppy classes, so they learn the correct way to behave right from the start. It’s a lot of work in those early months, but it will pay off in the long term.
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