Health issues affecting dogs with behaviour problems

Prof. Daniel Mills, University of Lincoln, UK

Veterinarians are generally trained to think about health issues and especially pain in terms of its sensory effects, e.g. lameness, and trainers obviously consider an animal’s behaviour in terms of the effects reinforcement might have had while an animal was sick. It is becoming increasingly apparent that an understanding of the emotional impact of pain and medical problems is vital to both professions. In this talk I will outline both case histories and research which highlight the importance of understanding medical aspects of behaviour problems, with a focus on pain,  and how it can present as a behaviour problem or poor training response. With our growing appreciation of this issue, a recent review of our caseload indicated that 45% of the dog behaviour cases we now see at our behaviour clinic have some sort of pain or medical issue, so this is not just something for the behaviour specialist.