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.