A well-behaved pet is what everyone wishes for. This adds so much fun and enjoyment to our lives, but at first it takes a little hard work and consistency from us, their human parents. With some great advice and obedience training this can be achieved! Statistically more than 80% of pets have some sort of behavioural issue, be it mild or severely debilitating. While most people are aware of it they may not know the best way to deal with the problem. Issues can range from:
- Toilet training problems/ Cat urine spraying or marking in the house
- Excessive loud dog barking
- Being afraid or timid of people and other animals
- Noise phobias especially being scared of thunderstorms and fireworks
- Aggression or dominance in dogs and cats
At Mt Helena Vet, we pride ourselves on trying to help all animals live a happier life and have a closer human-pet bond. It starts from the very beginning when you first bring an animal into your home. What and how they are taught is crucial to their behaviour and ability to cope with the outside world. This is why we believe so strongly in obedience training courses for your new puppies and socialisation for your kittens! We offer specific consults to tailor solutions to your individual needs. Remember, working to modify small problems is much easier than when they become big ones.
Behavioural Topics below:
Toilet accidents can be a constant source of frustration. We have to remember that as young puppies and kittens they are just babies and accidents are likely to happen. We want to reward good behaviour (going to the toilet where we would like them to go) and ignore accidents. Remember to always take your puppy to the toilet at regular intervals; they have small bladders! Most kittens instinctively use the litter tray but they can be very sensitive to the type of tray, the type of litter and where it is located. Also ensure that litter trays are cleaned frequently.
Cats’ urine spraying or marking in the house is usually when the urine is found on a vertical surface, but may also appear as a puddle on the floor. This is usually a sign of stress or territorial behaviour. Our vets at Mt Helena Vet can give advice about solutions to help stop cats urinating in the house in inappropriate places.
Toilet accidents can also occur if pets have medical issues. If your pet has previously been fully toilet trained and is now starting to have accidents then it is important that they get a full health check to rule out common causes of incontinence such as arthritis, urinary infections or bladder stones. Many different pet illnesses can lead to toilet accidents.
Barking is a normal form of communication for dogs. When it is inappropriate it can become a very big issue for you and your neighbours! There are many reasons for dogs to bark including normal play, separation anxiety, conflicted behaviour and as a learnt behaviour. There are many old remedies that have been used to try to stop dogs from barking excessively (such as anti-barking collars/sprays), most of which do not work. Finding out the real reason for their barking and dealing with the primary problem is usually the only solution to this common but difficult problem. Make an appointment today at Mt Helena Vet to find out how to identify the problem(s) and get training suggestions to help.
Being Afraid of People and Other Animals
This is another common issue faced by many pet owners. They have a pet that hides when the doorbell goes or a dog pulling on a lead (in the other direction!) when a stranger or another animal approaches. This level of anxiety is usually part inherited genetics and part learnt behaviour. So it is important that we teach our pets to be social and comfortable in as many situations as possible when they are just young puppies and kittens. Never force your pet into a situation that they feel uncomfortable, this can make the response worse the next time your pet finds itself in this same situation. Training to feel confident and calm is a long process but rewarding if you persist. Call us today at Mt Helena Vet to discuss proper training methods.
Being scared of loud noises is a very common characteristic in dogs and cats. Their responses to these scary noises can vary enormously from a little bit of dog whining to tearing the house apart and hurting themselves trying to escape the noise. It usually occurs when your pet has not been exposed to the particular noise or associates the sound to a ‘bad event’. This can worsen over time with repeated exposure to the noise. We can usually help pets cope with these situations by using training techniques. Sometimes this may also involve medications during initial training phases or short-term situations when the noises are extremely intense or prolonged. Call us at Mt Helena Vet to discuss whether your pet has any serious noise sensitivities.
Aggression or Dominance
When your pet shows behaviours associated with aggression or dominance it is usually because they are literally scared for their lives. Animals have the same fright, fight or flight response that humans do. When they perceive a situation as scary they can try to defend themselves. Learning their body language is very important to avoid these situations from escalating. Learning why they are so fearful will be the basis of avoiding those situations and retraining them to be more confident individuals. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer pets to a vet specialising in Behaviour as this is the trickiest issue to deal with. Please call Mt Helena Vet if you are concerned that your pet has any issues.