problems are more commonly seen in dogs rather than cats,
and manifest as the dog being
HYPERACTIVE : AGGRESSIVE : TIMID : NOISY: ANTISOCIAL : POSSESSIVE
: DIFFICULT TO CONTROL.
Various surveys* show that between 20% and 80% of owners complain
of problem behaviour of their dogs. This wide variation is
probably due to differing perceptions of what constitutes
acceptable or tolerable behaviour.
There are numerous reports of behaviour problems being directly
linked to diet and the management of all behaviour problems
should include attention to the diet.
It is likely that a significant proportion of these are related
to adverse reactions to food ingredients. (See section on
A basic principle of holistic medicine is that there is no
division of our being into separate physical and mental compartments.
Good physical health promotes good mental health and vice
Traditional Oriental Medicine had a Five Element system of
A weakness of the Water organs (Kidney and Urinary Bladder)
would cause excessive fearfulness. Healthy Water organs would
ensure healthy caution.
A weakness of the Wood organs (Liver and Gall Bladder) leads
to anger and aggressiveness.
All behaviour problems should
include consideration of diet. Stable mental and physical
health are necessary aspects of eliminating undesirable behaviour
and they depend on suitable nutrition.
Behaviour problems may be due
- Genetic: breeders have a responsibility
to avoid breeding from dogs with poor temperament
- Early environment: young puppies need
to socialise with humans and other dogs; diet of dam and
of the growing puppy are vital.
Owners should consider the following
- Suitable breed: e.g. Border Collies
need lots of exercise and stimulation
- Buying a puppy: a puppy bred in a household
may be better adjusted to family life than a puppy from
a large kennel or dealer
- Re-homing: dogs from rescue centres
may have been abandoned because of problems.
- Upbringing: correct rearing as regards
diet, socialising, separation, training.
Many dogs are destroyed because
of their behaviour. The quality of life of a family can be
significantly impaired because of a troublesome dog; it may
be impossible to have visitors; normal dog-walking may be
impossible. Correct diet combined with a suitable emotional
relationship plus re-training can help achieve a rewarding
relationship between owner and pet.
being on Burns my 5 year old bitch is losing her inhibitions;
she will now go to other people, join in games with teh other
dogs and will at last explore ahead of me rather than being
glued to the back of my legs."
Mrs Williams, Deeside
* V. O’Farrell (1992).
Manual of Canine Behaviour, BSAVA publication.