Should You Seek Behavioral Advise From Your Veterinarian?
Let me start off by saying that this article is intended to educate the public about who can help you with your dog training or behavioral training . I am sure most people who enter a veterinarian school do have good intentions and care about animals’ wellbeing. But, throughout the years of my career as a dog trainer and behavior modification specialist, I have heard many horror stories from my clients about how their vet has prescribed their dog with medication that they didn’t need to fix simple behavioral problems that can be fixed with some proper training with the help of a professional dog trainer specializing in handling dog behavior problems.
It’s important that everyone keeps their professional opinion in the field where they have spent the majority of their education and continue focusing on that one subject. In this case, I would like our vets to stick to their medical opinions and stop giving people dog behavioral advice unless they hold a degree in veterinary behaviorist that has special training in dealing with dogs with behavior problems. The typical veterinarian student does not spend a lot of time learning about dog behavior and psychology unless they seek special education to become a certified veterinary behaviorist.
Before I became a certified dog trainer I used to work at a doggy daycare. I had a clear duty check list; feed, clean, water, and give medications to sick dogs. Come to find out, there were not many dogs who were ill or in need of medication there. I was told by our daycare dog owners to give tranquilizers to at least 20 different dogs every day. When I asked why, the answer shocked me! They told me that one dog would bark excessively, the other would jump the fence, and another would whine. Therefore, the vet found the solution in a bottle of tranquilizers. TOTALLY NOT NECESSARY!
Even-though most veterinarian understand the importance of dog training some still might not think that training your dog will get rid of %99.9 of all your dog’s behavior problems . Instead, they tell you that your dog has a very rare genetic, psychological problem, but in reality the chances of that happening is %1 or less! some Veterinarian rather prescribe you a bottle of tranquilizers and keep you as a client that has to come back for more on a regular basis. Meanwhile, they are collecting your money and leave your dog with lifelong side effects from these medications.
With all this veterinarian behaviorist are not the only ones that are qualified to help you with behavioral problems, applied animal behaviorist and certified professional dog trainers with certification in dog behavior training are also qualified in behavioral problem solving. To determine seeking which professional help is best for you depends on the problems your dog has and the intensity of the behavior.
First step in determining the problem is to have a good understanding of your dog’s behavior and habits, for example knowing when the problems started, age of your dog when the problem started, medical history of your dog and environmental changes such as moving or adding another pet can help your professional trainer find the roots of your problems.If your adult dog is experiencing behavioral changes after a few years of being in your family with no issues the past the best first step is ruling out any medical issues that can cause that behavior. Some behavioral issues can be caused by underlying health issues, for example if your 6 years old dog who suddenly starts urinating in the house can simply be suffering from bladder or kidney issues versus a formal professional training, In this case by contacting your veterinarian can help you determine if the behavior problem needs medical treatment for the physical illness.