May 3, 2013 " Lenexa, Kan. " Punishment and praise when used improperly can make a bad behavior problem even worse in pets. Pet owners need to understand that dogs and cats need the same compassion and patience that go into raising children.
“We know that pet owners often mean well but may fail to address behavior issues when they use the wrong tools such as force or punishment with their dog or cat when it behaves poorly,” said Dr. Debra Horwitz, veterinarian and diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. “Instead, pet owners should consult with their veterinarian about behavior issues. They can offer invaluable advice, guidance and treatment options to address the behavior issues and increase the chances of successfully remedying the problems.”
Dr. Horwitz notes that pet owners should avoid:
- Punishing a pet by swatting, shaking, thumping, stepping on paws or more. “This only increases a pet’s distress and anxiety. Plus, it can lead to much more serious problems such as aggression.”
- Encouragement, praise or fostering are often not helpful either in stopping certain behavior problems, such as a pet that jumps on people, becomes distressed or anxious in certain situations such as loud noises or gets overly excited. “All of these do not help the pet because they do not tell her what “to do” and could unfortunately increase frustration and anxiety, the basis of most unwanted behaviors,” Dr. Horwitz warned. “Instead it is more productive to teach your pet what the correct behavior looks like and how to do it or seek other options from your veterinarian to properly address the issue.”
- It may be the toughest challenge of all, but pet owners shouldn’t panic and show signs of anxiety and anger during episodes of problem behaviors. “This only confirms to your pet that there is something to fear and will ultimately make matters worse. If you are upset or anxious about your pet’s behavior, this will also make your pet more anxious,” Dr. Horwitz explained.
Dr. Horwitz serves as spokesperson for the Keep the L.O.V.E. Alive Behavior Express Tour 2013 campaign. The nine-city tour is focused on raising awareness that there are solutions to behavioral issues for their beloved dogs and cats. Veterinarians play a critical role in providing medically sound treatment options so owners can keep the love alive for their pets.
Ceva Animal Health has partnered with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists to launch the public awareness campaign. Ceva makes Feliway® and Adaptil™, scientifically proven pheromone behavior products that reduce stress and anxiety in cats and dogs.
About the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB): Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB) are veterinarians who are specialists in the field. These specialists have completed a residency or training program in the discipline of veterinary behavioral medicine. As part of this program they have studied topics including: sociobiology; psychology of learning; behavioral genetics; behavioral physiology; psychopharmacology; ethology; and behavioral endocrinology. Visit www.dacvb.org.
About Ceva Animal Health: Ceva Animal Health’s key companion animal products include the Vectra® line of parasiticides, Adaptil® and Feliway® pheromone behavior aids, Senilife® for treating cognitive impairment in aging dogs and Altresyn® (altrenogest) for equine reproduction. The company’s North American headquarters is in Lenexa, Kansas. Visit www.ceva.us.
About Ceva Santé Animale: Ceva’s parent company is a global veterinary health company focused on the research, development, production and marketing of pharmaceutical products and vaccines for pets, livestock, swine and poultry. Its headquarters is in Libourne, France. Visit www.ceva.com.