Animals aren’t humans and so can’t be expected to know what behaviors are acceptable and which we would rather that they didn’t do. Part of early pet ownership is setting expectations and boundaries for behavior and teaching our animals what behaviors are allowed and which things make us unhappy. Many natural animal behaviors – such as chewing, scratching, and jumping up - can be controlled using a combination of training and consistency in applying the rules at home. However, there are times when even a normally well-behaved pet can suddenly develop bad habits. And since they have no sense of right or wrong, it’s down to us as owners to help them overcome them.
Unfortunately, not all owners are prepared to help their animals get past such issues. In fact, behavior problems are one of the most common reasons why owners put their pets up for adoption, or in some cases, abandon them.
There are many different natural behaviors that pets have that can become a problem if they aren’t controlled. Some of the most common include:
Nervousness and anxiety
Excessive vocalization (barking, whining, howling, etc)
General control issues such as jumping up or problems using recall
Pet behavior counseling is a specialist area of animal care that focuses on identifying the trigger for undesirable behaviors and helping owners and their pets to overcome them. Fortunately, most if not all behaviors can be resolved, helping your relationship with your pet to be fully restored.
When you attend a pet behavior counseling session, your pet behavior specialist will want to spend some time talking to you about your pet and your life together so that they can establish what their usual behavior expectations are and how successful they are in meeting them. They will also want to ask you questions relating to the new, undesirable behaviors, such as finding out when they started and what came beforehand. The more information that your behavior specialist has about your pet’s history and behavior problems, the more likely they are to be able to determine their cause and recommend an effective way to overcome them.
Once the suspected trigger of your pet’s behavior problems has been established, they will work with you to create a realistic behavior modification plan that will address the underlying issues causing the behavior. When it comes to behavior modification, there’s not usually any ‘quick fix’ and instead, you will need to commit to working with your pet long term to see a sustainable improvement. Just like initial pet training, consistency from all family members will be crucial to the success of your pet’s behavior modification program. However, in time, the vast majority of pets and owners see a dramatic improvement that makes it enjoyable for them to spend time together again.
For more advice on pet behavior counseling, don’t hesitate to speak to our experienced and knowledgeable team in Slingerlands, NY.