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Behavior Overview

Behavior problems are the number one killer of pets in the U.S. Countless pets are surrendered and euthanized every day because the owners did not educate themselves about the commitment needed before getting a new kitten or puppy, they did not have the knowledge to recognize early signs of problem behaviors or take the time to try to solve the problems once they became too much to handle.
According to the ASPCA website:

Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats)" nearly half of these are young animals owned for less than one year and relinquished because of behavior problems.

Behavior problems are the primary reasons given by the owner when pets are relinquished to shelters. Problem behaviors often begin as "cute" behaviors that are encouraged as kittens or puppies but become undesirable as the pets age. Problem behaviors weaken the bond between people and their pets and result in the increased likelihood that the pet will be surrendered to a shelter. Increased education about problem behaviors and their causes and treatment can save countless lives.

Medical Causes of Behavior Changes
arthritis, pain, stress, loss of vision or hearing, senility, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, liver disease, urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and many many more.
Most of these can easily be diagnosed by a veterinarian with a physical exam and some routine lab testing. Many of these medical conditions can be managed with medications or diet changes, especially if diagnosed early.

Addressing Behavior Problems
The key to addressing behavior problems is first understanding "normal" behavior of dogs and cats, especially certain breeds. Unrealistic expectations often lead to behavior complaints. Always research a particular breed before committing to a lifetime of care. People often adopt pets expecting to be able to relate to them like little people, when in fact their body language, needs, and methods of expression are quite different. Pets in general want to please us. It is our responsibility to learn how to effectively and compassionately teach them how.

Become Informed - If you are noticing an abnormal or problem behavior in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately so that you can figure out why it is occuring and how you can help change it.

Be Proactive - Don't wait until the problem has been going on for too long or until you are so frustrated that you don't feel like there's anything you can do to help improve it. The longer a behavior continues, the harder it will be to address, no matter the original cause. Speak to someone early!

Be Smart - If the behavior you are concerned about is dangerous in any way, especially if it is aggressive behavior, use caution and speak to someone about it immediately! Don't wait and don't put yourself, other people, or your other pets at risk by ignoring it.

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Canine Behavior Problems

Click on any of the links below to get more information on symptoms, causes, and available treatments for your dog's specific behavior problem.


General Behavior
Causes and Diagnosis of Problems
Behavior Management Products
Behavior Modification
Behavioral Drug Therapy
Behavior Problems of Senior Pets
Moving with Your Dog
Play and Exercise
Children and Pets
Complementary Medications
Behavior Resources

Disruptive Behavior
Disobedient, Unruly and Excitable Behavior
Destructive Chewing
Destructive Digging
Submissive and Excitement Urination
Compulsive Disorders
Compulsive Stereotypic and Displacement Disorders

Fear & Anxiety
Fears, Phobias and Anxiety
Fear - Animals and People
Fear - Noises and Places
Separation Anxiety
Storm and Fireworks Phobias - Immediate Guidelines
Storm and Fireworks Phobias - Treatment
Veterinary Office Anxiety
Settle Exercises
Handling and SOFT Exercises
T-Touch Method

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Introduction to Aggressive Behavior
Overview and Diagnosis
Possessive Toy & Food Guarding
Sibling Rivalry
Territorial Aggression
Aggression Toward Unfamiliar Dogs
Aggression Toward Family Members

Learn to Earn
Reinforcement - Learning and Rewards
Controlling Chase Behaviors
Controlling Jumping Up and Door Charging
Controlling Pulling Going for a Controlled Walk
Controlling Stealing and Teaching the Give Command
Crate Training
Head Halter Training
Muzzle Training
Elizabethan Collars
Training Control Products

Puppy Training
Pet Selection Guidelines
Getting Started Off Right
Puppy Training Basics
Handling Food Bowl Excerises
House Training
Play Biting
Socialization and Fear Prevention
Puppy training - Come, Wait and Follow
Puppy training - Sit, Down, Stand and Stay


Feline Behavior Problems

Click on any of the links below to get more information on symptoms, causes, and available treatments for your cat's specific behavior problem.


General Behavior
Causes and Diagnosis of Problems
Keeping an Indoor Cat Happy
Moving with Your Cat
The Multi-Cat Household
Feline Obesity
Behavior Management Products
Behavior Modification
Feline Play Toys
Behavior Problems of Senior Pets
Children and Pets
Behavior Resources

Kitten Behavior Training
Pet Selection Guidelines
Feline Neutering
Introducing Your Kitten to a New Home
Play and Investigative Behaviors
Socialization and Fear Prevention
Using the Litterbox

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Introduction to Aggressive Behavior
Redirected Aggression
Aggression Toward Other Cats

Fear & Anxiety
Fears, Phobias and Anxiety
Feline Fears
T-Touch Method

Disruptive Behavior
Chewing and Sucking
Compulsive Disorders
Nocturnal Activity


Schedule a Consultation

If you need professional assistance with your pet's behavior problems or would like more information, please contact:

Dr JD Warford
Phone: 877.669.8706
Fax: 877.669.8706
Email: hello@dcmetrovet.com
or fill out the form below.

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Due to state licensing restrictions, we are unable to service Virginia.
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