Dog Behavioural Counseling
More dogs are euthanized due to behaviour problems than for any other reason. Many of these concerns can be effectively addressed through proper training. The single best thing you can do for your dog from a behaviour standpoint is to have them well socialized during the critical period of 8-20 weeks of age. If you’ve adopted an adult dog, who missed this socialization period you can still make huge inroads on problem behaviours if you seek help from a certified, reputable dog trainer.
How can dog counsellors help?
A well trained and educated dog counsellor, with your help at home, can assist your dog in overcoming many problem behaviours. Not all trainers are created equal, so it is well worth your time to investigate options in your neighbourhood. Avoid trainers who rely on any punishment (e.g. shock collars, prong collars, choke chains, etc.). It has been proven time and time over that dogs learn best with a positive reinforcement model where good behaviour is rewarded, and poor behaviour is ignored. We recommend asking if you can sit in on a trainer’s class to see if they fit you and your dogs’ needs.
What happens at the consultation?
Your dog trainer will want to get a lot of background information from you, including lifestyle, habits, information about other pets and people in the home, and medical history to name a few items. If your pet has not recently had a physical exam and general blood work, the behaviour counsellor may request this to be done to ensure there are not any underlying medical issues contributing to the problem behaviour(s). Once the trainer feels they have a good handle on your dogs’ home life and health they can address the specific issues you have brought forward and provide you with tools to help eliminate the behaviour(s). Like any learning experience, practice is essential to the success of the training program so expect lots of homework if you want to see results!
Will my pet insurance policy cover the cost of consultation?
Some pet insurance companies cover behaviour counselling that has been recommended by your veterinarian. Restrictions may apply that limit who you can use as your counsellor based on certification/educational background. Please check with your provider before moving forward with behaviour counselling.
What should I expect after the consultation?
Once your dog has been assessed and all necessary information gathered you should expect a behaviour modification plan that is tailored to your dogs’ concerns. Every plan will be different with some concerns being faster to resolve than others.