After cleaning Jasmine's wounds Donna had to leave for a meeting. She thought this was just a freak thing since nothing like this had ever happened before, but when she got back, same show, said the Easthampton attorney. And another episode a week later. So they went from leaving their dog alone with no problem to "my dog has freaked out overnight."
As many pet owners know, animal behavior can be confounding. There are dogs who bark incessantly, cats who hide, and unruly hounds who jump on people. There are biters, compulsive self-groomers, house soilers and pets who panic when left alone. While some behaviors are merely annoying others can impact the animal's and their owners quality of life.
Sadly, many people simply banish their troubled companion to the back yard or surrender them to a shelter. One part of H.O.P.E.'s program is to help pet parents with behavior problems so relinquishing their pet is not the answer. Most behavior problems are solvable according to the Adam Goldfarb, director of the HSUS's Pets at Risk program, and this is where the experts come in.
After much research in the recent years, the pet modification business has steadily grown, and people with a variety of academic backgrounds and training have found careers in the field. Because credentials vary, there's no hard and fast rule about which type of expert can resolve your pet's problem.
More serious or or mysterious behavior issues may warrant a visit to a veterinary behaviorist or certified animal behaviorist. For most out-of-the-blue behaviors, you should first take your pet for a complete veterinary exam. Pain is a powerful stressor, and something like compulsive licking or sudden aggression can indicate a medical problem.
After Donna's veterinarian cleared Jasmine of any health problems, he referred her to a nearby Animal behaviorist clinic where the behaviorist diagnosed jasmine with noise phobia - likely the result of new construction in their neighborhood. Donna left with anxiety medication and instructions for creating a doggie haven where Jasmine could retreat from loud sounds, and in time Jasmine was back to normal.
Of course, we all don't live near an animal behavior clinic, but most qualified experts can be found in most regions. My advice when screening for potential experts: ask about experience treating similar issues, check references and resumes, and be leery of anyone who is quick to mention shock collars, choke chains and the outdated training methods that stress alpha roles, domination, and pack mentality.
Veterinarians and pet-loving friends are sometimes good resources for recommendations. My advice is to rule out a medical problem and consult with a behaviorist or trainer. There are generally reasons that are solvable. So before you decide to surrender your pet to a shelter make some phone calls and keep your pet with the only family he has ever know.
The reason H.O.P.E. was founded was due to all the families having to surrender their pet(s) due to financial difficulties, and behavioral issues can contribute to their problems. Our mission is to keep families and their pets together during their financial difficulties. So we are potentially helping families and pets before they have to make the difficult decision of whether or not to relinquish the pet.
For a pet owner to have a sick or injured animal and not take them for medical attention it is considered neglect. With no funds available the only way to have their pet seen by a professional is to relinquish the pet to a rescue group (which are great and are a needed group in our community), where the group takes them to a veterinary for medical attention, but places them in a foster home until they can find a forever home to adopt him, when the pet originally had a loving forever family who came upon temporary hard times. This is a situation I have a real problem with, no explanation necessary.
Written by Susan Reabe