There are many reasons a pet may have behavioural problems. Most behavioural problems are due to medical causes, behavioural causes or a combination of the two. When it comes to behavioural problems, the vet will do a full physical examination and may also need to do urine and/or blood tests. He will also take down a full history. Some problems may be due to medical causes, but most problems are due to a combination of factors including learning and environment. Genetics can also play a role in some behaviour. Expression of genetic predisposition can be controlled through early training and socialisation in many pets.
A sudden change in the environment may start up behavioural problems that did not exist before. This can include new members added to the household (spouse, baby, pet etc.), changes in routine, moving to a new home and even the loss of a pet or family member can impact on your pet’s behaviour. As pet’s age they may also become even more sensitive to changes in their environment and respond with unwanted behaviours.
Behavioural issues can also stem from a lack of socialisation and early training. Pets that are trained and socialised when young are often happier and better adjusted than those that are not. Negative reactions such as punishment generally do nothing to improve behavioural problems and often make them worse. Speak to a professional when unwanted behaviours surface so that advice can be given to improve the situation and resolve it. Positive reinforcement is a much better method to improve behaviour but also needs to be used correctly to prevent unwanted habits forming.