Illustrated Articles

Behavior

  • It is generally believed that a dog or cat’s cognitive function tends to decline with age, much as it does in people. If your dog or cat has one or more of the signs below and all potential physical or medical causes have been ruled out, it may be due to cognitive dysfunction.

  • Some dogs continue to guard their food aggressively even after being worked with as puppies (see Handling and Food Bowl Exercises). Punitive attempts to change them, such as making the dog wait and perform numerous tasks for food, or factors that cause increased hunger might tend to exacerbate rather than diminish the behavior.

  • Possessive aggression is aggression that is directed toward humans or other pets that approach the dog when it is in possession of something that is highly desirable, such as a favorite chew toy, food, or treat.

  • Territorial or protective aggression may be exhibited toward people or other animals that approach the pet's property. Generally, people and other animals that are unusual, less familiar to the dog, or most unlike the members of the household are the most likely “targets” of territorial aggression.

  • Anorexia in Dogs

    03/Mar/2014

    Anorexia is a decrease or loss of appetite for food. While hunger is a physically driven, appetite is mentally driven. There are two types of anorexia: true anorexia and “pseudo-anorexia.” Both result in decreased food intake, but a dog with pseudo-anorexia wants to eat (is hungry) but can’t because of difficulty picking up, chewing, or swallowing food or some other cause.

  • Barking in Dogs

    28/Aug/2014

    Barking is one of the most common complaints of dog owners and their neighbors! But, for dogs, barking is natural. It can serve as a territorial warning signal to other dogs and pack members. Dogs may vocalize when separated from their pack or family members.

  • As cats age, we generally see changes in their behavior. The wild and crazy playful activities we associate with kittens gives way to adult cats sleeping in the sun and prowling around the house. We commonly presume senior cats will take even longer naps in the sun or on our beds. It is important, however, to differentiate normal feline behaviors from abnormal ones, as some behavior changes in aging cats arise from pain and are definitely not normal.

  • As dogs age, we generally see changes in their behavior. The playful ball-chasing and constant running around that we associate with puppies gives way to adult dogs napping in the sun and lounging during evening TV time. And with senior dogs, we accept even more slowing down.

  • With mild or minor behavioral problems, clients are often able to correct the problem by means of reward-based training, as is outlined in the other handouts in this series. However, when problems are more serious, it is easy to make the problem worse rather than improving it.

  • Displacement behaviors are usually normal behaviors that are performed at an inappropriate time, appearing out of context for the occasion. Displacement behaviors arise from situations of either conflict or frustration. Conflict refers to the situation in which an animal is motivated to perform two or more competing behaviors (e.g., approach or withdraw, greeting but fear of being punished).

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