The Benefits of Taking Your Dog to a Psychologist

As strange as it might sound, taking your dog to a psychologist can be a necessary part of getting through any behavioral or mental problems your dog is going through. Learn more in this article!
The Benefits of Taking Your Dog to a Psychologist
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

If someone had told us a few years ago that we should take our dogs to a psychologist, we wouldn’t have believed them. But now, thanks to research and scientific studies about their emotional worlds, we know that there are real benefits to taking your dog to a psychologist. 

Remember: our little friends don’t just need food, water, and shelter. They also need love, company, and relationships with other dogs in order to be happy and achieve an inner balance.

Not all dogs need to go to a psychologist

A veterinarian lies down with a husky dog.

Of course, not all dogs need to go to a canine behavioral expert. But there are times, and specific cases, where your dog really may need to see a dog psychologist.

Dogs are social animals, and their minds can react in many varied ways to different problems and mental situations. In some cases, hostile or traumatic events can lead to behavioral problems that you just don’t know how to solve.

If a dog has spent a lot of time alone, out of contact with other dogs or its human family, then that could also lead to problems. This has also led dog behavior experts to have a lot more patients than they did not too many years ago.

Emotional deficiencies in dogs

Dogs spend their days alongside people, in a very rigid way, especially in cities. They’re animals with a specific temperament, personality, intelligence, and their own particular needs. But they’re not all physical–dogs have emotional and psychological needs too.

Just like humans, dogs can have psychological problems that lead to behavioral issues. That could mean getting your dog special attention. This is where dog psychologists and behavioral experts come in.

Steps to get help from a dog psychologist

Lack of training isn’t the only reason a dog might react to something in an inappropriate, unusual way. Still, it can be very confusing as an owner, and you might not know what to do. 

This is when it’s best to get professional help. You can start by talking to your vetThey should be able to give you some advice on how to proceed, because if things get any worse or the problem goes on, then your dog will need help from a specialist.

If your dog has psychological problems, it will probably experience major behavioral changes. That includes things like lack of appetite, destructive behavior, and repetitive motions. If you notice any of these, you should take it to a psychologist as soon as possible.

Dog depression

It can be good to take your dog to a psychologist.

One of the most common problems in dog psychology is depression. Its symptoms are basically the same as they are for people: lack of energy, appetite, and interest in the world around them. As always, prevention is the best defense against depression. 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 don’t really go with their nature. If you look at their genetics, you’ll see that dogs aren’t made to live in apartments, be on leashes, or stick to a rigid schedule.

The best way to make up for that is to find a way to let your dog get out its natural urges. Let it run around in a field, spend time with other dogs, or take it on long walks. These are ways to let your dog release its energy and they will make it balanced and happy.

Around the world

Some European countries have a really high level of pet awareness, and they do much more research on animal behavior. In fact, it’s also common for owners to take their dogs to a psychologist when they need to.

Many of these countries have started programs that involve using pets (like dogs) as part of therapy. They make them part of treatment to help children with psychological issues, people with Alzheimer’s, and all kinds of other things.

Important advice

Sometimes all it takes to resolve the problem is to change the bad habits you have with your dog. For example, you might not have a proper hierarchy established with your dog, and you don’t play your role as a pack leader. This can lead to all kinds of behavioral problems, especially if you have a dominant dog.

It’s 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!

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.