SINGAPORE – In this 14-day column, National Parks Board veterinarians answer questions about pet health and behavior.
Nippy nub of the problem
My dog seems to be happy when our guests are at the dining table. But any sudden movement near them, such as B. a guest who gets up from his seat causes her to suffocate the person walking past her. She also pinched the hand of a guest who tried to reach out to her. While she looks contrite after the “attack”, she has repeated this behavior several times, although it is not provoked. Is it because she’s scared or does it have to do with being territorial? How can I help you?
Dogs nibble or bite for a variety of reasons. A certain amount of sipping and “mouth gusts” is part of normal behavior during game time. But it can also indicate stress, fear, or frustration. In some cases, this can be a sign of pain or illness.
It is important to identify the underlying reasons for this behavior in order to minimize your dog’s stress and protect the health and safety of those around him.
Your dog’s behavior can be a sign of fear when unfamiliar guests are at home. It could lead her to perceive seemingly normal activities or movements as a threat.
This could be due to a lack of socialization when she was a puppy. Socialization is usually helpful in making dogs comfortable when they meet different people.
First, make sure your dog has a comfortable and quiet area to rest. Having the opportunity to distance yourself from others when necessary makes him feel safe. Remind the people in your home, including guests, not to disturb them while she is resting.
It’s also a good idea to keep your dog off the dining table when guests are around and offer them something like a chew toy to keep them occupied.
As you introduce people to your dog, watch out for warning signs of stress that he is uncomfortable and needs to escape. This may include licking their lips, yawning, flattening their ears, showing the “white” of their eyes, and growling or avoiding people by turning or moving away.
Remind people to approach your dog carefully and slowly so as not to startle him.
While entrapment may not cause serious injury now, this behavior tends to become more severe over time.
Early intervention can help change this and minimize potential risks to your guests and family members.
Talk to your veterinarian or a qualified animal behaviorist for information on science-based methods.
Answers from Dr. Christine Lee, a veterinarian with the Animal & Veterinary Service who graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in the UK.
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Join a free Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) webinar on the AnimalBuzzSG Facebook page on February 27 at 11 a.m.
The AVS veterinarian Lin Anhui and Dr. Chow Hao Ting of Joyous Vet and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will talk about how to manage and protect your pet’s emotional health by understanding their behavior.