If someone a few years ago had said that you should take dogs to the psychologist, we probably would not have believed them. But now, thanks to research and scientific studies on the dog’s emotional world, we know that there are actually many benefits to taking your dog to a psychologist.
Remember: our furry friends do not just need food, water and protection. They also need love, companionship and relationships with other dogs to stay happy and achieve an inner balance.
Not all dogs need to see a psychologist
Of course, not all dogs need to go to someone who is an expert in dog behavior. However, there are certain occasions, and specific cases, when there are many benefits to taking your dog to a psychologist.
Dogs are social animals, and their senses can react in many different ways depending on different situations and mental states. In some cases, for example, hostile or traumatic events can lead to behavioral problems that you may not really know how to solve.
If a dog has spent a lot of time alone, without contact with other dogs or its human family, it can also lead to problems. This has also led to dog behavior experts having more patients than not many years ago.
Emotional deficiencies in dogs
Dogs feel best about spending their days with the people they like. But it can easily get stiff and forced, especially in cities. Dogs are animals with specific temperaments, personality, intelligence and their own special needs. But not all needs are physical – dogs also have emotional and psychological needs.
Like humans, dogs can have psychological problems that lead to behavioral problems. This may mean that you have to give your dog special attention. This is where dog psychologists and behavioral experts come into the picture.
Steps to take your dog to a psychologist
Lack of training is not the only reason why a dog may overreact or react in an unusual and inappropriate way. Still, it can be very confusing as an owner when it happens, and chances are you do not know what to do.
That is when it is best to get professional help. You can start by talking to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian should be able to give you good advice on how to proceed. If things get worse or the problem persists, your dog will need the help of a specialist.
If your dog has psychological problems, it will probably experience major behavioral changes. It includes things like lack of appetite, destructive behavior and repetitive movements. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to a psychologist as soon as possible.
Depression in dogs
One of the most common problems in dog psychology is depression. The symptoms in dogs are basically the same as in humans: lack of energy, appetite and interest in the world around. As always, the best defense against depression is to prevent it. So you need to make sure your dog has a good quality of life.
This is especially true for city dogs. They have to adapt to conditions that do not really follow their nature. If you look at their genetics, you will see that dogs are not made to live in apartments, be connected or follow a fixed schedule.
The best way to compensate for this is to find a way to let your dog get his natural needs met. Let your dog run through open fields, spend time with other dogs or take it for long walks. This is a great way for your dog to release his energy and it will make him balanced and happy.
Some European countries have a really high level of pet awareness and they do a lot of research on animal behavior. In fact, it is also common for owners to take their dogs to a psychologist when they need to. Many of these countries have started programs that involve the use of pets (such as dogs) as part of therapy. They make them part of the treatment to, for example, help children with psychological problems and people with, for example, Alzheimer’s.
Sometimes it is just necessary to change the bad habits you have with your dog. For example, you may not have a proper hierarchy established with your dog and you may not live up to your role as a pack leader. This can lead to all kinds of behavioral problems, especially if you have a dominant dog.
It is also good to talk to people you trust who have taken their dogs to a dog psychologist. Learn from their experience and try to be the best owner you can!