We recently welcomed ITV into our practice at The Pet Vet Barnsley, where Head Vet Mihai helped them with some content towards a feature around dog aggression. According to the British Veterinary Association (BVA), half of UK vets have seen an increase in people coming to them concerned about their dog's aggressive behaviour. This is thought to be largely attributable to the boom of households acquiring a puppy during lockdown in 2020 and improper socialisation.
BVA's Senior Vice President Justine Shotton says: "We urge pet owners who are concerned about their dog’s behaviour to talk to a vet, who will be able to check for any underlying medical issues that could be causing issues, give advice and refer to an ABTC-accredited veterinary behaviourist. Don’t delay seeking help, as poor behaviour can deteriorate and can become harder to deal with as a dog matures."
Behavioural issues as a result of improper training or socialisation aside, there are many other reasons why a dog could behave in an aggressive manner and this may be the very reason you're bringing them in to see us in the first place. For example, if they're in pain. Other dogs may behave this way if they're frightened.
Here are some tips for bringing your dog in to see us if they have behavioural issues you believe could escalate into aggression:
- Be upfront with our team. If we know what to expect, we can be better prepared. Our customer experience team will even be able to look in the diary and try to find you an appointment at a quieter time, if you'd prefer.
- You're welcome to visit the practice when it's not so busy so your dog can become more familiar with the sights, smells and sounds of the surgery. If they visit us without having to receive an examination or have any treatment, this may help to reduce their anxiety next time they need to come in.
- Reward good, calm behaviour with treats and plenty of positive reinforcement.