Behavior Counseling

You used to fully trust your pet, but these days, sometimes they get surprisingly aggressive. You’re not sure where such a nasty streak came from, but it’s starting to concern you. You’re afraid your pet might bite somebody, which could lead to a lawsuit and possible euthanasia.

It’s better to curb your pet’s bad behavior now before it gets too ingrained. Here’s all you need to know about behavior counseling.

happy family with well behaved dog after behavior counseling with Hilltop Animal Hospital

What Is Behavior Counseling?

Behavior counseling is a veterinarian-led program to unteach a pet’s unwanted, potentially aggressive behaviors. This is sometimes also called animal therapy, but the premise is the same.

A trained veterinarian will spend time with your pet to uncover the trigger that has led to these behaviors. Over time, thy will then teach the pet to stop said behaviors.

As the pet owner, you too will be involved to learn what you can do to ensure your pet is on their best behavior in the future.

How Do You Know Your Pet Needs It?

Your dog doesn’t always listen when you tell him to sit or stay. Does he need behavioral therapy? No. In such a situation, the dog needs further training at home by his owner.

Pet therapy is for animals who are a risk to people and themselves. The two biggest behavioral problems that this therapy treats are anxiety and aggression. We’ll now explain more about both.


Pets can get anxiety just like people can. Cats tend to get most anxious during big life changes, such as moving or introducing a new person (or people) into your life. That said, they can get unnerved by something as simple as switching litter brands.

Dogs get anxious when they don’t get enough attention from their owners. These animals need companionship, and without it, they may seem nervous or lethargic.


Cats show their anger in many ways: baring claws and teeth, rapid tail movements, ear flattening, and hissing. These are indicators the cat is likely to scratch or bite a person. They may do this for a variety of reasons. A cat may have an injury or illness that’s causing them discomfort. They may also feel the need to claim their territory.

Dogs will also snarl, growl, and bare their teeth. They too can scratch and bite if agitated. For some dogs, they may become aggressive after seeing other dogs, typically when out on a walk. They also become territorial around toys, food, and people.  

About Hilltop Animal Hospital

If you need behavioral counseling for your dog or cat, you’ve come to the right place. At Hilltop Animal Hospital, your pets matter to us. We’re led by Dr. Scotty A. Gibbs, a trained veterinarian who will work with your pet to overcome their bad behavior.

We also offer other services at Hilltop Animal Hospital, including nutritional counseling, diagnostic imaging, veterinary dermatology, emergency care, orthopedic surgical services (including advanced soft tissue surgeries), pet dentistry, and pet wellness exams.

Call us today at (919) 567-9700 or visit us at Hilltop Animal Hospital on 3425 North Main Street in Fuquay Varina.


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Read What Our Clients Say

  • "The best. Dr Scotty Gibbs always takes the time to comfort our dogs and us. Have gone there for years. Would not want to go anywhre else"
    Sandy Brink
  • "Dr Gibbs & all the Staff at Hilltop are gifted, talented, caring, and amazing. It would be hard to find a better veterinary clinic."
    Steve Holbrooks