What is Ethology?
Ethology is the science that studies animal behavior in its environment. In the domestic sphere, it analyzes the reactions and behaviors of pets. Then it provides the exercises and instructions necessary to solve emotional conflicts and their associated abnormal behaviors. For more information you can read (in Catalan) the interview with our ethologist veterinarian Tommaso Piermarini.
Ethologist vs Trainer
An ethologist analyzes abnormal behaviors and/or emotions (constant barking, aggressiveness, marking, jealousy, fears, anxieties…) in dogs and cats and corrects them with instructions, exercises and even medication if necessary. For this reason it is important to verify that the ethologist is a licensed veterinarian specializing in ethology.
A trainer teaches to obey commands and/or basic rules of behavior at home, as well as more advanced tricks.
To sum it up with the equivalence in humans; an ethologist is like a psychiatrist (a psychologist who can medicate his patient if necessary) and the trainer is like a trainer / coach.
What problems are treated with an Ethology visit (canine or feline)
- Aggression in Dogs and Cats: Aggression with other dogs/cats or people. There can be many causes for aggressiveness:
- Punctual fear, pain or startles
- Invasion of territory, protection of family member or object
- Protection of social status or fight for female in mating season
- Recurring fears or phobias: they must be treated in time because they can lead to aggressive behavior.
- Separation anxiety: A highly demanded case that often occurs in adopted dogs that come from shelters.
- Stereotypes: Repetitive behaviors that seem to have no reason. Examples: prolonged barking or meowing for no reason, constant tail chasing, non-stop licking, self-inflicted injuries…
- Jealousy: You must be attentive when new members arrive in the family (pets, babies,…)
- Stress: The symptoms of stress are similar to those of humans. He may suffer from stress if you see that he is hyperactive, whines, has skin problems, and is easily startled. They are basically exaggerated behaviors that you don’t normally have.
- Urinary marking: It can be triggered if a new member of the family arrives, disproportionate punishments, changes of house or hormonal factors.
When should you request an Ethology visit?
Behavior problems should be dealt with as soon as possible as they are much easier to correct. So we must go to the ethologist when we see that abnormal behavior is repeated.
How does it work? How many sessions?
The ethology sessions last about 1 hour. The cost of the visit includes:
- The visit where the ethologist will analyze the case, issue a diagnosis and, if necessary, teach you correction exercises. The visit must take place in the environment and/or circumstances (home, walks, park…) in which the behaviors we wish to correct occur.
- Then he will give you a report with the guidelines and instructions to guide you on how to react or how to perform the exercises for the correct correction of behaviors
- Later you will be able to solve doubts online
In some cases, although not frequently, a review visit may be necessary at the cost of a common visit (€60).
Especially for the first visit, it is important that all of you who live with the animal at home are present and it is recommended that you compile videos of the animal’s problematic behaviors to show them to the ethologist.