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  • Writer's pictureThe Dogzbody

The limits of Veterinary Advice in Dealing with Severe Dog Behavioural issues.

Updated: Sep 30, 2023


When facing severe behavioural issues in dogs, seeking professional guidance is essential. While veterinarians are experts in animal health, their expertise may not always extend to complex behaviour problems. In this blog post, we will discuss why relying solely on veterinary advice for severe dog behavioral issues may be inadequate and why a multi-disciplinary approach is often the most effective solution.

The Role of Veterinarians

Veterinarians play a crucial role in ensuring the physical health and well-being of your dog. They are experts in diagnosing and treating illnesses, performing surgeries, and providing vaccinations. However, when it comes to behavioural problems, their training primarily focuses on medical aspects rather than behaviour modification.

1. Behavioral Issues Are Multifaceted

Severe behavioural issues in dogs can be complex and multifaceted. These problems often involve a combination of factors, including genetics, early life experiences, environmental influences, and learned behaviours. A veterinary doctor's expertise may not cover all these aspects comprehensively.

2. Misdiagnosis or Incomplete Evaluation

Veterinarians may not have the tools or training to conduct a comprehensive behavioural evaluation. This can lead to misdiagnosis or an incomplete understanding of the underlying causes of a dog's behavioural problems. Addressing only the symptoms without addressing the root causes can result in ineffective treatment.

3. Limited Behavior Modification Knowledge

Veterinarians are generally not trained extensively in behaviour modification techniques. While some may have a basic understanding of common behaviour issues, they may lack the specialised knowledge required to address severe problems like aggression, anxiety disorders, or compulsive behaviors effectively.

The Benefits of a Multi-Disciplinary Team.

To address severe dog behavioural issues comprehensively and effectively, it's often best to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of professionals. This team typically includes:

1. Veterinary Doctor: A veterinary doctor may be able to diagnose medical conditions that may be causing or impacting animal behaviour. They can advise on the impact of medication where it may help to manage or could impact negatively on animal behaviour.

2. Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT): Certified dog trainers are experts in behaviour modification techniques and can work directly with dogs and their owners to implement training and management

3. Animal Welfare Experts: Certified Professionals in this field can provide guidance on creating a supportive and enriching environment for dogs with behavioural issues.

4. Animal Guardian: The animal guardian or person responsible for/living with the animal can provide detailed insight for diagnosis and valuable feedback during treatment programs.


While veterinarians are vital for your dog's overall health, they may not have the specialised knowledge required to address severe behavioural issues. Relying solely on veterinary advice in such cases may lead to inadequate treatment and unnecessary frustration for both you and your dog.

A multi-disciplinary team approach, involving experts in both veterinary medicine and animal behavior, can provide a comprehensive and effective solution. These professionals can work together to diagnose, design, and implement behaviour modification plans tailored to your dog's unique needs. By considering the expertise of various specialists, you can increase the chances of successfully resolving severe behavioural issues in your beloved canine companion.

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