Helping Your Pets Resolve Their Behavior Issues

Pets can be just like toddlers. They’re funny and cuddly. They’re sweet and fun companions and they make you smile… but not all of the time. Pet behavior issues often remind you of toddler-style bad behavior. They damage your furniture and relieve themselves in odd places. Pets can howl or whine all night long and they get a little too aggressive sometimes.

Dog Behavioral Issues:

Destructive tendencies

When your dog chews your favorite pair of shoes, has a bowel movement on your living room carpet or howls when you’re gone, it’s often due to separation anxiety. The SPCA article “Destructive Chewing” suggests that you minimize separation anxiety-triggered destruction by preparing your dog and your home for your absence.

  • Arrange a pleasant home environment to keep your pet happy and occupied while you’re away.
  • Give your dog a variety of chew toys so he won’t be tempted by your new leather shoes.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise to minimize boredom.
  • Use spray repellents to discourage dogs from “attacking” household furnishings.
  • Put away your favorite objects to reduce the temptation.

Excessive Barking

When a dog barks excessively, it can be about territory, fear, frustration, or even social interaction with other dogs. Whatever the reason, you must train your dog to keep the noise to acceptable levels. The Humane Society recommends these and other anti-barking techniques.

  • Communicate with your dog using a quiet voice.
  • Eliminate barking triggers by closing curtains or moving objects out of your dog’s view.
  • Teach your dog to respond to a “Quiet” command.

Aggressive behavior

When a dog growls, snarls, bares his teeth or rushes toward a person or animal, his aggressive behavior can be a warning that he plans to attack. If he does attack or bite, it can leave you with costly liability, legal, and insurance issues. A history of previous attacks can lead to quarantine or a seizure by Connecticut Animal Control.

Dogs behave aggressively because of age, illness, fear, and many other reasons. If your dog has an aggression problem, consult your vet for recommendations to resolve the issue.

Cat Behavioral Issues:

Destructive tendencies

When your cat shreds your upholstered furniture a little bit each day, the destruction is costly and frustrating. A cat scratches to show ownership or territory. They do it to sharpen their claws and also because they enjoy it. You can’t stop your cat’s scratching behaviors completely but you can redirect or modify them.

  • Provide a scratching post or scratch toys.
  • Keep your cat’s claws trimmed.
  • Cat-proof your home with cat repellent spray and furniture covers.
  • Talk to your vet about cat training behaviors.

Litter box Issues

When your cat gets finicky, she might decide to use your floor… or your shoe instead of her litter box. There are a few things you can do to control the problem.

  • Keep the litter box clean.
  • Get a litter box that’s roomy and comfortable.
  • Put the litter box in an easily accessible location.
  • Fill the box with enough litter but not too much
  • Make sure your cat doesn’t have urinary tract problems or other health issues.

Aggressive behavior

Although a cat can’t injure people or animals the way a dog can, their claws and teeth can still cause harm. Aggressive cats swat, scratch, and even bite. In some cases, they transmit infection. Talk to your vet to learn more about options for understanding and managing your cat’s aggressive tendencies.

Counter-Conditioning and Desensitization

The Humane Society website explains how counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques can help modify pet behavior issues over time. Counter-conditioning teaches a pet to behave differently. Desensitization changes a pet’s behavior by gradually familiarizing them with the issues that trigger their bad behavior.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

Call us at (860) 228-4324 before you tackle these and other pet behavior issues. Our vets can provide more information and help you determine if your pet’s bad behavior is related to a health issue.