What Might Be Causing the Behavior Problem?
I brush Chobani and Sammy’s teeth daily. Not everyone can because of the time, effort, and training involved to accomplish this. However, we knew that Chobani likely has some genetic predisposition to having dental disease so we taught him Happy Handling to allow having his teeth brushed. Chobani recently went in for a dental cleaning and exam. However, upon being under anesthesia and having x-rays done, it was realized that he had a significant bone loss since his last dental and needed a remarkable number of his teeth extracted. Chobani is generally a happy-go-lucky dog who was likely in pain but showed no discomfort in his mouth until the weeks leading up to his procedure when he was slightly sensitive to me brushing the right side of his mouth. Finding this out after the fact made me feel so very sick. I wonder how much pain or discomfort he has been in and for how long? It continues to amaze me how well canine companions can hide their discomfort and pain. In a study, conducted at several veterinary locations around the world, researchers found that the co-occurrence of pain and behavioral problems ranges from 28% to 82% of all cases, with hip and spine pain being the most prevalent, (Mills, et. al., 2020).
Have you or someone you know ever been cranky and irritable when in pain? I am sure the answer is yes. Our dogs can get the same way when they are in pain or are feeling discomfort. It is for that reason, we always want to first rule out any medical condition because it can affect behavior.
If there is a sudden onset of a behavior change, with no clear explanation, or persistent behavior that seems resistant to training, then we always recommend that your dog get a thorough complete check-up from your veterinarian. Treating the medical issue can, in some cases, eliminate the need for behavioral intervention or make the training issues resolve faster. This can also help ensure your pup is feeling happy and healthy.
Mills, D.S.; Demontigny-Bédard, I.; Gruen, M.; Klinck, M.P.; McPeake, K.J.; Barcelos, A.M.; Hewison, L.; Van Haevermaet, H.; Denenberg, S.; Hauser, H.; Koch, C.; Ballantyne, K.; Wilson, C.; Mathkari, C.V.; Pounder, J.; Garcia, E.; Darder, P.; Fatjó, J.; Levine, E. Pain and Problem Behavior in Cats and Dogs. Animals 2020, 10, 318. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/2/318