When training is not enough – moods and mood disorders of pets

Dr Cam Day BVSc BSc MANCVS (view profile)

In the last presentation we described that, when implementing solutions for animal behavioural problems, there are always four questions that need to be answered: –

  1. Is there a medical condition contributing to or causing the pet’s unwanted behaviour?
  2. Can the pet be trained to reduce its unwanted behaviour?
  3. How can the behaviour be best managed to reduce risk, and self-reinforcement, of an unwanted behaviour?
  4. Will calmatives be needed to change or reduce the unwanted behaviour?

In that presentation we dealt question two above and described how simple cheats that make reward-based training work.

In this presentation we will discuss behavioural solutions that need to be employed when ‘training is not enough’ to reduce a dog’s unwanted behaviours.

Many animals have mood disorders where they have ‘no option’ but to display and unwanted behaviour and where no amount of training will work to reduce those behaviours.

Many of these animals have mood disorders which in many cases are identical to those mood disorders of people.

This presentation will describe common mood disorders of pets where training won’t work and will summarise the remedies for those. Treatment for such mood disorders often involves examining questions 1, 3 and 4 above.