Many dogs struggle with serious or potentially serious behavior problems, damaging the bond between the pet and their owners. Engmann Veterinary Behavior Consulting offers 2-hour behavioral consultations where we will discuss in-depth your concerns, potential underlying causes, and strategies to obtain a good quality of life for both you and your dog.
Behavioral problems are best helped through a combination approach of management (safety and environment), behavior modification (reward-based), and medication when needed.
What is Behavior Modification?
Behavior modification is a therapeutic approach designed to change a particular undesirable behavior by using a system of positive or negative (not aversive) consequences to help the individual learn a new and more desirable response. However, in some situations, the individual is too fearful or too anxious to be able to adequately learn a more desirable response. In that case, the learning is either very slow or the individual will truly not be able to learn a new response regardless of the amount of behavior modification or training provided. In these cases, medication support may be needed to help the dog’s brain be in a better place for learning. We then use a multimodal approach (which simply means multiple therapy options, i.e. behavior modification, training aids, education, and medication if and when needed) to make sure we can be the most successful and have the best outcomes.
Common Conditions Treated
Excessive worry out of proportion to the actual impact of the feared situation. Anxious dogs often show increased monitoring of their environments, difficulty paying attention, out of context reactions, barking, whining, and lunging.
Excessive, irrational fear of something animate, inanimate, or situational. This can be due to noise such as thunder and fireworks, or fears due to car rids, veterinary visits, unfamiliar people or environments, other dogs, grooming, among other things.
This is more than the disappointment when you leave without your dog, separation anxiety is the result of real stress. Behaviors such as destruction, vocalization, urination/defecation, excessive salivation, pacing, and trying to escape if confined are seen every time you leave and may even be seen prior to leaving.
There are many different categories or types of canine aggression. Aggressive dog behavior can include, aggression to strangers, aggression to family members, guarding resources (such as food, treats or toys), aggression to other dogs in the household, and aggression to unknown dogs.
The repetitive, irresistible urge to perform one or more behaviors over and over, to the extent that it interferes with the dog’s normal life. Compulsions seen from dogs include spinning, pacing, tail chasing, fly snapping, barking, shadow or light chasing, excessive licking, and toy fixation.
Attention seeking can be quite normal, such as your dog vocalizing, jumping, pawing, or grabbing your clothing to get your attention. However, excessive attention-seeking can be indicative of deeper problems.