Behavior and Training Resources

Changes in your pet’s normal behavior is often the first sign of illness but illness in your pet doesn’t always stem from a physical cause. In fact, many diagnosed disorders such as separation anxiety and obsessive behavior can be addressed by understanding the cause and utilizing Fear Free training methods. Of course, it’s important to understand how their health may be impacting their behavior and rule out any medical concerns from the onset. From training puppies to addressing unwanted behavior in older pets, our veterinarians can help you achieve a better bond with your furry friend.

Train for a Fear Free Vet Visit

A Fear Free vet visit begins at home, with you! Check out some of these resources to help enhance your pet’s veterinary experience:

Common Behaviors That Can Be Addressed With Training and Behavior Modification

  • Aggression: This is the number one reason dog owners seek dog training. Aggression is a natural defensive instinct in dog behavior. However, dogs must be deterred from taking hostile stances against people and other animals. These aggressive behaviors may include biting, snarling, growling, lunging and posturing. If your dog shows signs of aggression, it must be addressed. These behaviors will not go away on their own and will typically become more severe without intervention.
  • Barking: As a dog’s main form of vocal communication, barking conveys a dog’s wants and needs. However, barking can also become an excessive and obsessive behavior that is a nuisance for you and your neighbors. If your dog barks incessantly or for no apparent reason you should consider obedience training.
  • Chewing: Chewing is an essential behavior in puppies and some older dogs, as a method of maintaining a healthy mouth. However, excessive chewing can indicate anxiety, hyperactivity, stress, frustration or fear. If your dog chews inappropriate items such as furniture, bedding or carpet, you should pursue dog obedience training.
  • Food guarding: This is a behavior that instinctually dates back to a wild animal protecting its precious sustenance from other animals. However, in the modern day home, food or resource guarding can lead to dog attacks and other dangerous interactions between humans and canines. This is a behavior that should be addressed when your dog is a puppy to set up appropriate boundaries for your dog. If your dog guards their food, toys, spaces, or people, this is a behavior that should be addressed sooner than later. Please schedule an appointment ASAP.
  • Howling: Like barking, howling is a normal form of vocal expression. Dogs howl to announce their presence, attract attention and make contact with other dogs, and is more common in some breeds than others. However, excessive howling can also indicate separation anxiety and even medical issues. If your dog howls excessively, we can discuss it at your next veterinary appointment.
  • Mounting: These are also normal behaviors in dogs of all ages for dominance, social and reproductive purposes. Even after spaying or neutering, many dogs continue to mount other dogs in shows of dominance. But in excess, these behaviors can indicate compulsion, stress and certain medical issues. Therefore, it is important to seek veterinary advice if your dog exhibits these behaviors abnormally.
  • Mouthing: While this is perfectly normal dog behavior, mouthing can also lead to more dangerous behavior. Nipping and biting other animals or humans is totally unacceptable dog behavior that can lead to dangerous interactions. If your dog nips or bites during play or other interactions, dog training is essential to stave off potential disaster.
  • Separation anxiety: This is a very common dog behavior. After all, you are the main living being your dog associates with, and when you are not there, your dog wishes you were. Negative behaviors such as destroying property, barking and making in the house can typically be corrected with the right obedience training techniques. Some cases require medication to alleviate the severe stress that the dog is experiencing.
  • Whining: This is also a normal vocal dog behavior. It can convey a need, but can also indicate anxiety, illness or injury. If your dog whines compulsively or incessantly, there could be a medical issue or condition causing this dog behavior to occur. For excessive and/or abnormal whining, give us a call and let’s get your dog the care they need.

Local trainers that can help

​​We recommend trainers who use positive reinforcement, fear free, and low stress handling. EDGE Animal Hospital advises against trainers who use shock collars and other forms of “positive punishment” as these methods can make behaviors worse.

UB Haven

Address: 2414 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33712

Phone: (727) 455-3547

Canine Connection

Phone: (727) 434-1449

Recommended Calming Supplements

Our team also encourages owners to utilize calming supplements to help facilitate training.

Your vet or behaviorist may recommend prescription medications in some situations.

Muzzle up if your dog needs a little extra help.

Muzzled dogs are not “bad dogs”. They provide a fantastic tool to help keep dogs and people safe. The Muzzle Up! Project is a resource to teach you all about muzzles, how you and your pet will benefit, and how to get them to wear one.There are many reasons why dogs might wear a muzzle:

  • They eat rocks, socks, or other non-food items that can be toxic or cause expensive and life-threatening surgeries.
  • They are nervous of other dogs, and the muzzle helps keep everyone safe during off-leash hiking, on-leash walks, or during socialization. 
  • The muzzle works as a cue to tell other owners to give the dog some space.
  • The owner wants to teach their dog to be comfortable wearing a muzzle in case the dog must wear one someday at the vet’s office.

A properly fitted basket muzzle can do all of this, and more! Best of all, if you take the time to train your dog to wear the muzzle, it should be comfortable for your dog.

Muzzle training tips! 

1. Make it fun! 

  • Pair the muzzle with things that make your dog happy! They should know that muzzles equal fun with treats, play time, or even walks!

2. Go slow

  • Let your dog decide the pace of training. Do not push them if they become uncomfortable. Only move forward when they are showing positive responses to the muzzle.

3. A proper fit

  • While the muzzle should fit securely, it should also allow the pet to pant, drink, and take treats while wearing.