Veterinary behaviorists are trained to treat behavioral problems in all types of animals, from dogs and cats to birds. Below are some examples of the problems that are best evaluated and treated by a Veterinary Behaviorist.
- Aggression toward people
Aggression is a complex problem, and there are many different reasons why an animal may display aggressive behavior. Additionally, it can be a sign of an underlying physical problem.If aggression is mismanaged, or if help is not sought early on in the progression of the problem, it often worsens. Because the potential consequences and liability are so serious, it is recommended that you get professional help from a Veterinary Behaviorist for any animal displaying aggressive behaviors.
- Aggression toward other animals
This problem is common in animals, and can be due to various causes. Aggressive behavior can lead to big problems for owners and animals alike. In order to prevent serious consequences, it is imperative to seek help before the behavior progresses.
Anxiety, fears and phobias are considered common primary or underlying causes of many behavioral conditions. For example, it is estimated that 17% of dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a primary anxiety related condition. Noise or storm phobias are also common primary phobias. Other behaviors such as aggression or compulsive disorders may be secondary to an underlying anxiety or fear. Additionally, stress or anxiety can aggravate certain medical conditions. When animals suffer from anxiety it is critical to seek help from a Veterinary Behaviorists as they have the ability to prescribe medications, if indicated, in combination with behavioral modification.
- Urine marking and inappropriate elimination
Urine marking is often related to stressors in a pet’s household. Attempting to resolve this problem may require help from a Veterinary Behaviorist, who will take the entire situation into consideration, and can prescribe specific behavior modification techniques, with or without medication. In regards to other types of inappropriate elimination in pets, the many possible causes of these problems are most appropriately diagnosed by a Veterinary Behaviorist.
- Other problem behaviors
Other behavior problems that are treated by Veterinary Behaviorists include, but are not limited to, excessive barking, phobias, eating of non-food objects, overgrooming, excessive vocalization, and repetitive behaviors (such as those due to an underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder).
How does a Veterinary Behaviorist differ from a dog trainer?
Veterinary Behaviorists are veterinarians who are knowledgeable in all aspects of animal behavior. They are required to stay current on the most recent scientific findings through research and attending and presenting at professional continuing education meetings. Good trainers have knowledge of behavior, but not at the depth or breadth that is expected of a Veterinary Behaviorist. While a trainer may teach an animal to perform certain actions in response to a command, obedience training does not usually get to the root cause of a behavioral issue or solve the behavioral problem. Behaviorists are also able to prescribe medication if it is appropriate for the case. Be aware that some training techniques are considered questionable and inhumane in their approach.
If you think that your pet may benefit from a consultation with our veterinary behaviorist, please contact our pet hospital in Pittsburgh at 724-717-CARE (2273).