Behavioural First Aid

If you have a suspected Behavioural Problem with your pet that is causing immediate and immense
frustration & consternation, the following can be helpful until you can see us at the clinic for a
behavioural Consult.

  1. Avoid the problem situation – temporarily remove the pet from the situation e.g. board at
    kennels, keep separate; OR suspend trigger activities e.g. walking, playing etc.
  2. Stop Punishment – pets cannot associate the punishment with the crime and are more likely
    to develop fear or aggression tendencies when punished. Rather distract the pet with a
    noise or lock it away for “time-out”.
  3. Avoid “quick fixes” like citronella or shock collars. Although these have their place, they do
    not solve the underlying problem.
  4. Stop rewarding the problem behaviour. Pushing a dog down that jumps up encourages the
    behaviour; shouting at a barking dog is seen as “barking” back to the dog. Turn your back;
    provide no eye contact; no voice reward etc.
  5. Start rewarding good or desirable behaviour. When the dog or cat is doing something you
    wish it to do, like playing with a toy, or even lying at rest, give it attention, be it treats or play
  6. Be consistent in your ignorance and reward therapy.
  7. Use remote distractions like a shake can (can with stones or coins in it) or water sprays. This
    should be used while teaching the pet alternative good behaviour.
  8. Always have small treats on hand to reward the pet during training, or when it is doing
    something good.

Contact the clinic for a Behavioural Consult to go into more detail about your pet’s specific problem.
Dr Colin van Rensburg

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