Let’s talk about pain & behaviour and why so often you will see professionals recommend getting a vet check first.
Yesterday I had a tooth pulled out and consequently I am in a lot of pain.
I have barely slept which has made my temperament short.
In essence, I am grumpy today and my tolerance levels are not good. So I am reaching my ‘had enough’ level much quicker than usual. Some could also say I am trigger stacked still from yesterday’s ordeal.
On top of that, i have found myself doing behaviours I wouldn’t normally do and behaviours which cause pain elsewhere. I have been poking things into my gum, pushing my nail into my lip as well as pushing and grinding my teeth.
Partly for relief for those 2 seconds from the constant throbbing that’s going on in my head and partly to give myself another pain point to focus on, again to take my mind off and away from my original tooth pain.
Dogs will do this too and can self-harm to give themselves a focus point when they are in some form of discomfort or pain.
A dogs sleep may be disturbed due to discomfort and pain, causing them to be a bit more grumpy and have less tolerance levels compared to usual. Dogs will also, so often display other behaviours due to being in discomfort and pain.
No matter how much training you do with a dog, if the underlying issue is pain, you are never going to solve the behaviour that has manifested out of that.
Any change in behaviour should always have a vet check first, prior to looking at it from a behaviour point of view.
Dogs cannot simply tell us that they are hurting or where they are hurting. So looking out for these changes in behaviour, changes in their body movements and listening to them through body language is so important.
Just because a dog isn’t physically limping, it does not mean the dog is not in pain.