dvm (47)Behavioral issues are the leading cause of relinquishment of pets to local shelters and also the number one reason for euthanasia of pets in the United States. Many pets lose their lives because of myths about behavior problems. A little understanding of these issues could prevent needless loss of otherwise healthy animals.

One prevalent myth is, “I can’t take my puppy to puppy classes until he’s had all of his vaccines.” The fact is that dogs are more likely to be euthanized due to a behavior problem than to die from contracting parvovirus or distemper at a training class. Puppies that are properly socialized beginning at around 8 weeks of age are more tolerant of new stimuli and people and are less likely to grow into nervous, fearful dogs. Find a class that is held in an indoor, easy-to-clean facility that requires the puppies be vaccinated and groups them by age. It is important to avoid places such as parks and playgrounds until puppies are fully vaccinated.

Another common misconception is, “My dog was abused as a puppy.” By focusing on this unlikely scenario, pet owners and veterinarians often miss opportunities to address more common causes of behavior problems such