At Animal Allies Humane Society we love and advocate for animals but understand that they will occasionally have problems that may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, most behavioral issues can be solved with some time, effort, and a little patience. Below are common behavior reasons we see for pet surrender and some additional information and resources.
These resources are here for you to try and help as you work with your pet on unwanted behaviors, but remember to always consult with your veterinarian or a professional trainer as well. Animal Allies is unable to provide medical counseling and there may be an underlying medical concern to your pet’s unwanted behavior. We have included the information for the veterinarians in our area as well as the contact information for trainers that Animal Allies has worked with. If you would like help navigating this information, please feel free to give us a call at 218-722-5341 or email our Intake Specialist, Kari, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Litter Box Problems
Cats can occasionally experience what may seem to be an aversion to their litter box and may urinate or defecate in inappropriate places around the home. Should you notice your cat going to the bathroom in unusual places, a call to your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems is the first step, as there are several possible behavioral or medical reasons that this behavior could develop. Here are some tips and tricks to try in addition to a vet visit!
Similar to inappropriate elimination, this issue involves your cat not using their litter box. Just like dogs, cats can get territorial of their area and urine marking can be a way for them to establish their space. Here is more information regarding urine marking, how it differs from inappropriate elimination, and things you can try in the home to help resolve this behavior.
Aggression with Other Cats
Cats can be territorial and sometimes struggle with adjusting to new faces in the home, even feline faces. Patience, managing interactions, and time are going to be key in dealing with these issues and getting your cats to the point where they will enjoy - or at least tolerate - each other.
Aggression and overstimulation are often put into the same category because when a cat is feeling overstimulated they can sometimes act out. However, with overstimulation, letting your interactions with your cat be on their terms, being conscious of their body language and potential warning signs, and giving them lots of space and time to adjust will be very helpful. With other forms of aggression, there could be other underlying issues so determining those is important.
Not Doing Well with Children in the Home/New Baby
Cats can struggle with changes to the household or their routine and may struggle with a new baby in the home -- especially if they are used to being the baby! Make sure you are working with your cat to prepare them for the exciting arrival and give them lots of time to adjust to their new reality.
Aggression in dogs is something that can be very scary and stressful for you and your pet. There are many different types of aggression and a multitude of different reasons that could be causing the behavior. This resource can help you read your dog's body language and give background information on different types of aggression, but please also seek out the help of a behavior professional trainer when dealing with a dog experiencing aggressive behaviors. Contacting your vet is encouraged as well, as sometimes dogs will become aggressive due to pain.
Mouthing and nipping behaviors are incredibly common and natural in puppies, but what happens when an adult dog is exhibiting these behaviors? Oftentimes adult dog nipping and mouthy behavior stems from the same things: playful energy, lack of training, potential herding behavior, or lack of proper exercise/boredom. However, taking precautions to ensure that you are working with your adult dog on these behaviors will be important to ensure this problem does not result in something more serious.
Just like people, dogs can experience anxiety and sometimes your dog can turn into a whole different animal when you aren’t at home with them. Destructive behavior, going potty indoors, barking and howling, and chewing are some pretty common issues in a dog experiencing separation anxiety. There are steps that can be taken to help your dog through their anxiety and back to their confident self. A veterinary visit would also be recommended, as there can be relief in the form of medications or pheromones.
Destructive (See Also Separation Anxiety)
Destructive behaviors are common in dogs experiencing separation anxiety, but destructive behaviors are not exclusive to that. Your dog may be experiencing a lack of proper exercise or boredom or even stress and frustration and taking out on your belongings.
Leash reactivity is a type of aggression we commonly see in dogs. This can be not only hard on your pup but hard on you as you manage the reactivity of your pet when you are out on walks. Sometimes leash reactivity will appear in dogs who otherwise do well with other people and dogs, but once they are on a leash it can be a whole different story. Here are some things you can try as you work slowly with retraining your dog’s leash behavior.
Sometimes dogs will get protective of their food, high value treats, toys, and even their humans and growl or nip to “protect” their cherished belongings. This is an area that can be worked through with your dog but be sure to move incredibly slowly and cautiously as you work with your pet on this issue, as you do not want to push them too much too soon and cause an even larger problem.
Local Dog Training Resources
We have worked with both RR Professional Training and K9 Dynamix at Animal Allies Humane Society. Though there are many tips and tricks you can try at home, we also encourage you to reach out to behavior professionals as well.
RR Professional Training