In reply to Aine Seavers.
Exactly and if we don’t spread the word then more dogs will die from behaviour issues and mental & emotional health woes than just about any other physical health problem they could suffer from. Often ‘aggressive’ dogs have other health and pain issues so a full medical investigation always needed. Proper socialisation can help but genetics play a huge part. Proper informed matings and proper breeding can prevent a lot of issues. Early recognition by owners and vets even at the first puppy visit is also vital.We have been trying to get owners to understand even at the first puppy visit that in about 1 in 5 pups, we see issues of mental and emotional health concerns already. ‘Training’ doesn’t fix those pups:they need correct behaviour intervention that sets the pup up to not fail but also set them up to succeed. Some pets need medication and often it takes a trial of a number of different medications before you find the one that settles the brain so the dog can learn. However, despite all of that, no matter how much an owner loves and cares and tries their best with a particular dog, some mental illness is so severe in a particular dog that it lives a life of global fear 24/7 and is in total misery, yet to all outsiders it looks perfectly normal. Their owners then feel ‘judged’ by wider society. I weep when I see dogs on their 9th year in a rescue society because it has failed 5 or 7 homes. At what point do we stop and say-for whom and for why do we continue to do this to this animal? We can help the vast majority of pets to lead a normal life but some will not be able to be helped. The Vet profession is trying to have mental health added to all Quality of Life Questionnaires we use to help clients make a decision about euthanasia.