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How Training & Socialization Change With an EPI Diagnosis

Dogs are social creatures by nature, but this doesn’t mean they get along with every canine they come across. At the same time, they shouldn’t socialize with all animals, especially those that could pose a risk to them, like venomous snakes for example. But for the most part, we want our four-legged best friend to be safe around other pets they will encounter.
 
Even if you’ve trained and socialized your four-legged best friend, when they’re afflicted with EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), their bodies’ lack of an ability to produce insulin and digest nutrients properly affects them in many other ways besides their appearance. Medically speaking they’re obviously struggling with digestive issues like diarrhea, but also a lack of blood sugar and vitamins (especially B12) usually causes them to become: 
  • Weak and lethargic
  • Confused and disorientated
  • Anxious and fearful
Because of these reasons, socializing dogs with new animals and attempts at training them to understand new behaviors isn’t recommended. This doesn’t mean they can’t still be rewarded for good behavior and praised for their efforts, it simply isn’t the time to expect too much from them or force them into possible, uncomfortable situations.
 
If they’re already in an environment with multiple animals, try to limit their exposure to these other pets who may have more energy than they possess. This will help to reduce anxiety and confusion with all the animals involved and ultimately help with the healing process.
 
When they begin to feel better, you can regain control of their personality and behaviors with some time and patience. Please see our infographic “30 Positive Reinforcement Training Tips For Your Pet,” for more information on how to use these types of techniques to teach your new dog how to continue being your best, well-behaved friend.