Behaviour Services

Behaviour Services

Behavioural problems can have psychological causes, medical causes, or both. Our veterinarians investigate behavioural problems by obtaining a full history and conducting a full physical examination to accurately diagnose a problem. Sometimes your pet may require blood or urine tests to rule out underlying medical conditions. Behavioural problems are often the result of a combination of multiple factors, including your pets environment, previous experiences and learning.

Genetics can also predispose an animal to certain behaviours, however the expression of those behaviours will depend on early socialisation and training.

Changes in the environment may contribute to the emergence of behavioural problems. For example, changes in routine, a new member of the household (pet, baby or spouse), moving house, or the loss of a family member or pet can have a dramatic impact on behaviour. Any medical or degenerative changes associated with ageing may cause the pet to be even more sensitive to these environmental changes.

Learning also plays a part in many behavioural problems. Early training and socialisation is essential to have a happy, well-adjusted pet. Punishment or incorrect reinforcement of behavioural problems often worsens the situation and it is very important that professional advice is obtained as soon as the problem appears to effectively resolve it. Positive reinforcement is the preferred method for changing behaviour, however this also needs to be used carefully as it can encourage undesirable behaviour if used incorrectly.

There is no simple cure for any behavioural problem, so be careful when taking “helpful advice” or “Googling”. It is very important that the cause of the problem is addressed, not just the symptoms of the problem. 

When it comes to your pet’s behaviour, it is extremely important to seek the advice of a qualified general practitioner veterinarian or veterinary animal behaviour specialist. Changing problem behaviour requires commitment on behalf of the whole family, as everyone your pet interacts with will be responsible for encouraging desirable behaviour. For some problems such as barking, escaping, aggression, or separation anxiety we may recommend an extended behavioural consultation after an initial assessment. It can also be beneficial to see the pet in its natural environment, thus a home visit may be appropriate. Some cases may also require medications alongside the new training techniques to get the best outcome. 

For behavioural problems we advise you contact us to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians. Our friendly and knowledgeable nurses will be able to further explain the process.