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Canine Aggression with Dr. Pike

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, Animal Behavior Wellness Center, Fairfax, Virginia



In this episode, host Alyssa Watson, DVM, is joined by Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, to talk about her recent Clinician’s Brief article, “Canine Aggression Toward Other Dogs & Humans.” Dr. Pike reviews the foundations of aggression in dogs discussing both the medical and behavioral factors associated with aggression. She shares great everyday tips for how to manage these cases—even through telemedicine.

Key Takeaways

  • Recent papers have shown higher incidences of behavioral disorders in some of the pediatric spay/neutered breeds that have been studied, leading Dr. Pike to recommend waiting until behavior maturity, which is approximately 18 months of age.
  • If a dog is already showing signs of aggression, spay/neuter will likely not resolve these behaviors.
  • The SOCRATES mnemonic for pain assessment:
    • Site: where does the aggression occur?
    • Onset: when did it begin?
    • Character: how does the aggression manifest (offensive/defensive)?
    • Radiation: how long does it take that dog to balance out to normal after trigger has been resolved or does it continue?
    • Associations: is aggression associated with an event?
    • Time course/pattern: does aggression follow any sort of pattern?
    • Exacerbating or relieving factors: what measures have been taken prior/how did those measures work?
    • Severity: according to the pet owner, how bad is the behavior on a scale from 1 to 10?
  • If a behavioral issue is revealed during a wellness examination, schedule a separate behavior-focused appointment. Often, if there is one behavioral issue, there are others.
  • Always rule out potential medical triggers for behavioral issues first.

About the Author

Amy L. Pike, DVM, DACVB, is owner of the Animal Behavior Wellness Center in Fairfax, Virginia. She earned her DVM from Colorado State University. Dr. Pike was a captain in the US Army Veterinary Corps and was responsible for US customs and border patrol horses as well as military working dogs. She has since worked exclusively in small animal practices, with intense focus on canine and feline behavior, and has been board certified since 2015.

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The Team:

  • Alyssa Watson, DVM - Host
  • Alexis Ussery - Producer & Digital Content Coordinator
  • Randall Stupka - Podcast Production & Sound Editing
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