1. News
  2. Pet News

Does your dog need a therapist?

Pet have issues too, you know

© CALLALLOO CANDCY - Fotolia.com
Your dog is acting a little weird. Maybe it needs therapy. This isn't just a Hollywood thing. With so many rescue dogs out there looking for homes many have deep issues and well, a good therapist can't hurt.

“Ten to 15 percent of owners say that they have pet behavior issues,” says certified applied animal behaviorist Stephen L. Zawistowski, PhD, science adviser to the ASPCA. To put it simply, if your dog's behavior puts anyone in danger then, yep, they need therapy.

It's not just being aggressive -- there are other signs that your dog is stressed out and having a little trouble coping with the world around him.

Is your dog running in circles chasing its tail? Does your dog just chase things out of the blue? There are numerous things and ways dogs react that can indicate it needs a little help from a friend.

Aggressive behavior

As the dog parent you know when your dog is being aggressive or just playing. Aggressive behavior includes growling, showing the teeth, charging, barking, snarling, snapping, nipping, and biting.

Sometimes just taking a walk in the neighborhood can create the aggression in a dog and for these dogs there are "growl" classes. In these sessions, behaviorists put together two to four dogs in a controlled situation, to teach them social skills, Zawistowski says.

The dogs and their owners are watched very carefully and given plenty of space. The dogs are trained so they can get closer to the other dogs without showing signs of aggression. It will help at the dog park or just going for walks when they encounter new friends.


Anxiety is another big one and there are even anxiety medications given to dogs to help them with their fears. It can be loud sounds, kids, bikes a number of things. Even changing up your work schedule and then changing your dog's routine can create anxiety in your dog.

Some signs of anxious dogs are relieving themselves where they shouldn't, and destroying things around the house. Some pets lick themselves so compulsively that their fur comes off and their skin is raw.

It's not a reflection of your parenting skills if your dog needs meds. Many times it's one of the best ways to treat anxiety with medication while working with a animal behaviorist so you can eventually wean off of the meds.

To find an animal behavior consultant in your area, see the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants or American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

Quick and easy. Get matched with a Pet Insurance partner.