2011-03-21 to 2011-03-30
1. Aggression 35%
- Dominance Aggression 20%
- Sibling Rivalry 5%
2. House Soiling and Marking 10%
3. Separation Anxiety 15%
4. Uncontrollable 15%
5. Excitability 5%
6. Fearfulness 5%
7. Barking 5%
8. Stereotypies 5%
1. House Soiling and Spraying 50%
2. Aggression between Cats 10%
3. Aggression to People 5%
4. Household Destruction 5%
5. Hyperactivity 5%
6. Stereotypies 10%
Source: Small Animal Practice, Ontario Veterinary College
Dominance Aggression in Dogs
a) Factors Affecting Dominance
- Inheritance (degree varies between breeds)
- Physical weight, size, color, sex, age, stage of heat...)
- Hormonal (testosterone and H-Y antigen)
- Learning (petting, mounting, games, a person backing away from a growl)
b) Signs of a Dominant Dog (most common)
- Resists standing over, hand over head or back
- Resists disciplined and responds in aggression
- Protects food, toys, sleeping place, members of its social
- Shows prolonged eye contact
c) Treating Problem
- The dog must learn that nothing in life is free. He must learn that you
control all valued factors and that he must earn food, attention, touch,
exercise and freedom.
- Consistent training is essential.
- Train the dog to sit, stay, come, down, down-stay, and heel, in that order.
The 20 min. down-stay, without the trainer present, is the most important
- Avoid any confrontation which the dog might win. Do not discipline the
- Remove all valued assets (toys, bones, etc.). This shows the dog that you
control his toys.
- No games, dog win all games they play. Winning a game increases the
- Feed the dog only when he responds to a command.
- Do not touch the dog for several weeks.
- Do not allow the dog to sleep on beds or other furniture.
- Exercise the dog, on leash, for 15 minutes every day.
Territorial Aggression in Dogs
- The intensity of the territorial drive is inherited.
- Territorial aggression can be augmented by learning (i.e. aggression
drives people away - the mailman).
- Dominant dogs are more likely to be territorial.
- Females can be as territorial as males.
- Territorial aggression is augmented by excitement.
- Defense of territory (car, house, etc.)
- Generally expressed near puberty.
- Aggressive dogs may be friendly on neutral territory.
- Aggression is frequently observed simultaneously with a fear component.
- Confine dog in a cage, room or on a leash when people come to the door.
- Train - Control - come, sit, stay
- Counter condition by diversion and reward
- Systematic desensitization to someone coming to the door
- Train dog to sit quietly some distance from the door
- Successively train to sit quietly when doorbell rings
- Bell rings, door opens and closes - bell rings, someone
enters who dog knows stands inside and leaves - the bell
rings, stranger enters, stands and leaves, etc. and reward
the dog for sitting quietly under control. If dog breaks at any
point, stop and start over.
- Castration does not help.
Sibling Rivalry (Competitive Aggression)
a) Factors Affecting Sibling Rivalry
- Two dogs are not allowed to establish the pecking order because a kind
owner punishes the bully.
b) Signs of Sibling Rivalry
- Very vicious fighting which may continue for long periods and is usually
triggered by competition for: owner's attention, food, toy or sleeping place.
- Generally, these dogs are littermates, males and of near equal
c) Treating Problem
- Determine which of the 2 dogs is most likely to be dominant. This would
be based on who is the aggressor, size, age, health...etc.
- Don't punish the aggressor, but reward. Ignore sub-missive dog. Owner
must be dominant over both.
- Set up frequent situations when owner pets and praises dominant dog
and lets submissive one come into room. It may be necessary to start
dominance training with both dogs together on neutral territory (i.e.
park). Once dominance is established on neutral territory, then gradually
repeat in the home.
- One must be careful not to stimulate aggression between the dogs - the
fights can be severe.
- Always feed, exercise, praise and pay attention to dominant one first, but
- Castration of both dogs may be of some value. The castration of one dog
does not reduce aggression.
- Keep dogs together when owner is away. All toys and food should be
removed during this period.
- Give dog, which is most likely submissive, pro-gesterone and subject both
dogs to above training.
House Soiling and Marking
- House breaking - ineffective or lack of proper training.
- Urine territorial marking - urine, stool, ground scratching.
- Separation anxiety.
- Excitement - hyperactivity.
- Diet - too much, inappropriate diet, compulsive eating.
- Diseases - polydypsia, gastroenteritis, cystitis.
- Early experience.
- Attention-getting behavior in older dogs.
- Prevent all defecations and urinations in the house.
- The dog must not be loose in the house unless under supervision.
- Owner should know how to detect pre-eliminative behavior.
- Confine to a small space when not under observation. Train dog to a
large cage. Do not use cage as punishment. No food or water should be
left in cage.
- Reinforce proper behavior - take dog outside on a leash to eliminate at the
same convenient location each time. Praise the dog whenever urination
and defecation occurs at the correct location.
- Punish the dog for urination or defecation in the house only if you catch
the dog in the act.
- Clean and mask odor (moth ball crystals on carpet). Clean every other
day with pinesol soap or dettol if soiling has occurred on tile.
- Dogs are social animals and form strong attachments to other dogs and
- Puppies usually show anxiety when first separated from their mothers.
- Most frequently seen where there is a strong attachment encouraged by
one person, who spends a lot of time with the dog and then this routine is
- Owner practices emotional departures and reunions which increases
excitement level of dog.
- Dog is usually a dependent type, not dominant and often has had a
previous separation trauma.
- Destruction (chewing or digging, licking).
- Hyperactivity (pacing, stereotype drooling, etc.).
- Hypoactivity and depression (anorexia).
- Defecation or urination.
- Diarrhea, vomition, constipation.
- May show aggression when owner leaves.
- Behaviors may be self-rewarding (chewing reduce tension).
- Getting a pet for your pet does not usually work.
- Punishment does not work and may increase fear.
- Tying the dog to chewed objects, or painting them with hot sauce may
stop him from chewing them. However, the tension he feels will be
- Take the dog for a fast walk on a leash at least once a day.
- Obedience train for 10 minutes twice daily. The goal is to achieve a 20-
minute down-stay. Reward behavior.
- Give the dog an acceptable item to chew, only when you go out (i.e. hard
nylon bone). Give the bone to the dog about 15 minutes before you go
out, and before you give the dog any cues that you are that you are about
- Everyone in the family should totally ignore the dog for 15-20 minutes
before leaving the house and for at least 20 minutes on returning home.
Reduces excitement before leaving, which reduces tension when gone.
- The person the dog is most attached to should totally ignore the dog for a
minimum of 3 weeks.
- Make a list of the things that you do before you go out for the day (and the
destruction occurs), and the things you do before you go out for a short
time (and no destruction occurs). Then, mix up the cues.
- Inherited, excitability more closely follows the bitch.
- Early experience - social and environmental deprivation and excessive
exposure to adversive stimuli, particularly during the sensitive period of
- Play - play may be excessive in the evening if puppy is left alone all day.
- Learned - hyperexcitability can be inadvertently rewarded by the owner or
the environment. The reward may be in the form of attention or even mild
- Diseases and conflicts.
- Highly reactive to stimuli.
- Constant motion, running, pacing, barking, digging.
- Increased metabolic rate, drooling, increased respiration and heart rate.
- Excitement may escalate aggressions such as prey, territorial and fear.
- Displacement activities.
- Excessive greeting behavior.
- Excitability generally decreases with age and maturity.
- Learning - ignore excitable behavior
- pay attention and reward the dog when it is quiet and
- try to reduce excitable environmental stimuli
- train calmness
- counter condition
- Fear behavior is a response to a threatening stimulus which in the wild
would protect it from damage and involves a mixture of physical,
emotional and physiological responses.
- Examples of fear-inducing stimuli: noise, odor, touch, visual (objects,
motion, people and certain environments).
- Fear is increased by proximity, size, speed, intensity, unfamiliarity and
- Fear may develop at any age and has no sex predilection.
- Predisposition to fear is probably inherited, with fear to various stimuli
being inherited separately.
- Early experience - animals deprived of exposure to normal stimuli
during critical periods of development.
- Flight - desire to escape, run, hide, digs, chews and scratches to escape.
- Fight - aggression when cornered, bite, growl.
- Freeze - may become immobilized when cornered.
- Identify the stimulus causing the fear.
- One must control the fear-inducing stimuli so that it can be presented at
an appropriate intensity.
- Desensitization and counter-conditioning - the fearful stimuli is presented
at a reduced intensity or for a brief period and the dog is given food
rewards for not showing fear. Food is an antagonist to anxiety. The
intensity is gradually increased without evoking any anxiety or fear.
- Flooding can be used but the stimuli must continue until there is no fear
response or it is greatly reduced. Flooding works best for mild fear, but is
not commonly used.
- If animal is successfully treated, it should be periodically exposed to the
fear-inducing stimuli and rewarded for not responding fearfully.
- Drugs may facilitate acute correction, but may not work in a non-drug
- Some global fears may not be correctable and may require continued
Barking has many different causes, and because of this, can be an extremely
difficult behavior to control. Excessive barking is usually caused by some
of the following:
- Inherited drive.
- Learned - by rewarding (mailman goes away)
- by attention from owners
- by letting in from yard
- teach dog to speak for food
- Territorial defense (barks at strangers).
- Play, chase.
- Stereotypic barking - dealing with conflict or stress.
- Separation anxiety.
- Train - ignore barking
- reward quietness
- do not reward barking (shouting at dog may
- train to come sit and stay, just before barking starts
(be consistent and barking will go into extinction)
- punishment is not effective unless the timing is
correct and it is consistent
- Debark shock collars
- Shock collar with a vibration detector and a buzzer are very
effective if used correctly.
- Human activated shock collars are less effective because of
inconsistency and must not be used.
Stereotypic behaviors are sequences of behavior that are repetitive, consistent in form
and orientation, and which do not serve an obvious purpose.
- Stereotypic behavior is a manifestation of conflict, which can arise from
environment induced stress or inconsistent interaction between the owner
and the dog.
- Some stereotypic behavior may become conditioned. -There is some
evidence that the development of stereotypies is facilitated by an inherited
- Stereotypies may originally be specific to a certain context, but may later
perform out of the original context.
- Grooming - flank biting
- lick granuloma (large dogs)
- chewing front feet (small dogs)
- tail biting
- scratching self or objects
- licking self or objects
- Eating - chewing objects
- fly chasing
- appetite excesses
- Locomotion - circling and figure 8
- fence running
- Identify the conflict (difficult).
- No discipline.
- Obedience training.
- Ignore the dog.
- Counter condition the dog.
- Drug treatment.
House Soiling and Spraying in Cats
Cats that are house-soiling with urine may be differentiated from those that are spraying
by the amount of urine that is released. A spraying cat eliminates small amounts of
urine at a time, usually on vertical objects, whereas a house-soiling cat tends to empty
his bladder, resulting in a large puddle or wet spot.
- Litter or pan aversion.
- Too clean - washing pan with strong soap.
- Too dirty - not cleaning frequently enough.
- Change of pan location.
- Change of litter type (deodorant, physical characteristic).
- Change of pan type.
- Not enough litter in pan.
- Litter pan becomes associated with pain or fright.
- The cat finds a more attractive material to defecate or urinate on.
- Two pans.
- Environmental stress (not common).
- Disease problem.
- Odor, sound and sight of another cat (competitive stimuli).
- The more cats in the environment, the more likely spraying will
- Stray neighborhood cats.
- Females in heat may cause others to spray.
- A frustrating environmental stress or anxiety.
- Hormones (androgens) facilitate spraying.
- Progestins inhibit spraying.
- There is an inherited predisposition to spray.
- Cystitis may induce spraying (speculation).
- Address the list of causes above.
- Place litter pan where cat is soiling and gradually move to the
- Complete physical and urinalysis in the cat.
- Take off dry food and place on low Mg and Ash diets.
- Keep cat in a small room with litter and when using it, allow gradual
access to house.
- If diseased treat.
- Clean up areas where cat has urinated or defecated.
- Clean carpet and tiles (same as for dog soiling).
- Use pure blood meal, moth ball crystals or mouse traps for
soiled flower pots.
- Keep cat out of a room where soiling took place.
- Feed cat on soiled area.
- Cover floor area with tinfoil or plastic so the cat will get splashed
- Castration of males is approximately 90% effective in stopping
- Spaying usually stops females that spray while in heat; spaying
females in the environment of a male that sprays may be very
- Reduce number of cats, particularly the number of males.
- Prevent the neighbor's cat from stimulating territorial behavior of
- Keep cats in the house.
- Change the environment.
- Cleaning the sprayed area is very useful in preventing spraying.
- Remove environmental stimuli which induces anxiety.
- Drugs (i.e. progestins, valium).
- Check for cystitis, etc.
- Reward and punishment are not useful for stopping spraying.
Aggression between Cats (Intermale Aggression)
- Bite wounds are a common complaint concerning cat behavior and
accounts for massive numbers of abscesses which are rarely fatal.
- Environmental - male cat population density, female cats in heat, the
relative dominant level of the cats and the relationships of the cats.
- A mixture of threat and physical contact.
- Body and facial expressions are offensive.
- Usually vocalize.
- Face each other, slowly approach and the attack is directed at head and
neck (wrestle, bite and claw).
- Drugs, valium, progesterone.
- Castration and drugs.
- Conditioning is of little value.
Psychogenic Problems/Stereotypies in Cats
- A very common problem in pet cats.
- Acute or chronic fear, stress or conflict.
- Usually environmental conflict with another cat, owner or change in
- Hospitalization, boarding or moving house.
- Some types have been suggested to be a partial epilepsy.
a) Environmental Stress or Conflict
- Insufficient grooming and the cat may become matted.
- Excessive grooming with hair loss and hair balls.
- Not eating and drinking.
- Excessive eating and drinking.
- Social withdrawal.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
b) Periodic Agitation
- Periodic compulsive body movements (sudden dashes).
- May have partially dilated pupils.
- Compulsive licking, usually over the shoulder or front legs.
- Skin twitch or crawl over the back.
- Licking the front leg.
- Temporarily freezing in one position.
c) Psychogenic Dermatitis/Lick Granuloma
- Excessive licking.
- Hair loss, usually on the posterior half of the body and mostly on
abdomen and inside thighs.
- May be bilaterally symmetrical.
- Skin may look normal with only broken hairs.
- May develop skin abrasions and granulomas.
- There may be several somewhat circular raised granulomas on
abdomen behind the umbilicus.
d) Hallucinations (acute severe, fear or conflict)
- Periodic hallucinations.
- Cat is normal otherwise.
e) Chewing of Tail or Feet or Scratching Face
- Sudden attack and aggressive, bites tail or foot.
- Usually associated with vocal aggression.
- Attacks variable in frequency and duration.
- Provide the cat its own box to hide in.
- Provide its own space away from other people and animals.
- Identify anxiety inducing stimuli or remove the conflict.
- Change environment.
- Drugs: Valium, Librium, Elavil, Haloperidol, Phenobarb.
- Counter condition.