New Carlisle Animal Clinic PC

8935 E. US 20
New Carlisle, IN 46552

(574)654-3129

newcarlislevet.com

BEHAVIOR COUNSELING

The most common reason that owners give up their pets is due to unacceptable behaviors.  If caught early, these can often be corrected.  We can provide detailed behavior consultations, and of course, need to rule out medical factors that might be causing them.  These discussion can be lengthy, so be sure to have the receptionist schedule it appropriately.  In some animals, special training devices, medications, and follow up evaluations are needed along with environmental changes and training classes.   Most importantly, the owner needs to learn how to work with the pet through specific protocols and proper reward methods.  Physical punishment is never appropriate.  An owner with a pet with a behavioral problem must realize that there is never a quick fix; correct requires daily exercises and constant supervision.   We strongly encourage early socialization and training through positive rewards; nearly all dogs can benefit from puppy kindergarten or obedience class participation.  Call our office for a list of obedience classes in the area; when contacting each organization, be sure to ask them which classes they have are appropriate for your pet's age.   Remember, though, that obedience training does not solve a behavior problem but rather it is one tool (of many used) to help get your dog to listen to you, for you to learn how to interact with your pet is a positive manner, and an opportunity for your pet to be exposed to strangers and strange dogs in a controlled environment. 

One of the most common behavioral problems that we address in cats is inappropriate housesoiling.   After ruling out bladder & hormonal problems, we work to re-direct the cat to use the litter box by having multiple boxes that are cleaned daily with use of a litter box additive.  Areas that are being soiled need to be cleaned appropriately and access to these areas is limited.  Other issues causing anxiety in the cat need to be addressed; one of the most common of these is having multiple cats (studies have shown that nearly 100% of houses having 5 or more cats have at least occasional housesoiling episodes).  Use of Feliway plug-ins can help too.  Neutering or spaying of unaltered pets is the first step.

Dogs demonstrate a much wider variety of behavioral issues, ranging from separation anxiety to various types of aggression.   The latter can include fear induced biting, protection of owners and environment, and dominance.   Neutering is strongly recommended for any dog demonstrating aggression.  Common techniques for dogs include keeping them busy with lots of exercise (a tired dog is not destructive!) and entertained (using stuffed Squirrel Dudes or Kong toys), controlling them with a Gentle Leader ( a head halter that gives instant control over a dog's movement, much mores so that a training collar), and using positive reinforcement and praise (never physical punishment - this only causes a pet to be fearful of a hand coming towards them).   Command-Response-Reward is a vital technique for nearly all behavior problems:  instead of yelling or hitting the dog, interrupt the bad behavior by giving a command (possibly so simple as "sit"), and then once the response is obtained, the dog is rewarded with a treat or lavish praise.  Pheromone (Adaptil) and natural (Anxitane) anti-anxiety products are available in our office; sometimes prescription medications are needed too.


PET SELECTION

Appropriate pet selection can help prevent many behavioral problems.  When you are ready to get a new pet, we will be more than happy to advise you on the types of pets and breeds are available, their traits and problems, and which ones are best suited to fit into your lifestyle.   For a start, try the Animal Planet website "quiz" at http://animal.discovery.com/breedselector/dogselector.do.  Ask for a copy of our handout "Where to get a Puppy" to be emailed to you for advice on puppy selection.
If you are after a specific breed, we might be able to hlep you locate breeder or even a rescue club that is seeking homes for abandoned animals.  Checking the AKC web site for links to breed parent clubs' rescue groups is another source.  Of course, we strongly urge people to consider adopting a homeless pet at any of the area rescue organizations such as the Humane Society of St Joseph County, South Bend Animal Control, Michiana Humane Society, LaPorte County Small Animal Shelter, Pet Refuge, Independent Cat Society, and others.  We have arrangements with many organizations to provide you with discounts for services following adoption.