What is Pet Behavior Counseling?

What is Pet Behavior Counseling?

What is Pet Behavior Counseling?


What is Pet Behavior Counseling?

The bonds that we form with our pets are so strong that sometimes we can forget that they are not actually human too. This means that we can’t expect them to necessarily understand what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Although we may have been very consistent in the training of our animals, things can happen that can cause even the most normally well-behaved pet to suddenly become difficult to live with.  


As many as 15% of owners believe that their pet has behavior issues. While some behavior issues may seem minor, others can cause pets to hurt themselves or others and these behaviors need to be addressed as soon as possible. It’s very commendable to try and tackle pet behavior issues yourself at home, but in many instances, a professional is needed to determine the cause of the problem and develop strategies to help your pet become a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted animal. This process is referred to as pet behavior counseling and is offered by many veterinarians, as well as some standalone pet therapists.


What is Pet Behavior Counseling?


Pet behavior counseling is a specialist area of pet care that examines the behaviors of animals, why they occur, and what can be done to overcome any undesirable behaviors that your pet may have developed. 


When you first visit your pet behavior specialist, they will want to spend a fair amount of time finding out more about your pet, your home environment, and your relationship with them, as well as the expectations that you have for your pet’s behavior. They will also want to know which behaviors your pet has developed that you are unhappy about, and what was happening in your life around the time that they began. This is because, in many instances, behavior changes are caused by something changing within your pet’s environment that they can’t control. For example, introducing a new family member or changing your routine so that you are no longer at home as much.


Once the causes of your pet’s behavior issues have been identified, your behavior specialist will create a specific plan of action to address the issues. This is sometimes called a behavior modification plan and will outline several steps that you can take to help your pet to overcome their issues. It is important to bear in mind that behavior modification is not something that is going to happen overnight. Much like your pet’s initial training, it will take a regular consistent approach to make a noticeable difference in their behavior. This means that all people living in your home and those visiting are aware of the expectations for the behavior of your pet and will support you in using the techniques outlined in your pet’s behavior modification plan.


What Behavior Problems Can Pet Behavior Counseling Help With?


As we know, animals can easily develop behaviors that are less than desirable, and these can make life together unpleasant if they are not addressed quickly. Fortunately, pet behavior counseling can help owners and their pets to overcome a variety of problems. These include:


  • Aggression

  • Chewing

  • Begging

  • Scratching

  • Spraying (urine)

  • Toileting problems

  • Self-mutilation

  • Nervousness and anxiety

  • Excessive vocalization (barking, whining, howling, etc)

  • Chasing

  • Stealing food

  • Separation anxiety

  • Hyperactivity

  • General control issues such as jumping up at people or not returning when called

  • Being unable to get along with other animals


Your veterinarian will be able to advise you if your pet would benefit from behavior counseling.


Find out more about pet behavior counseling & have your pet evaluated, contact Bergen County Veterinary Center in Waldwick, NJ at (201) 205-2500.