Pet Behavior Consultation Services
A behavior assessment is a crucial part of every veterinary visit. Behavior related problems are the number one reason that pets are returned to a shelter, and often pet owners have not sought help from their veterinarian prior to relinquishing their pet. It is important to advise your vet of a behavior problem as soon as you recognize it, since these issues are typically easier to manage if they are not longstanding. In some cases a separate appointment for a behavior consult will be scheduled since more time is often needed to sort through the problem, the diagnosis, and the treatment plan. Referral to board certified behaviorists may also be recommended depending on the complexity of the problem.
Behavior Training Should Start at a Young Age
One very important note is that when it comes to behavior, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is extremely important to carefully select the correct pet for your household and then socialize the pet properly at a young age. Very few puppies and kittens are aggressive, but if they are under socialized, they are more likely to develop aggression or other behavior problems at 2-3 years of age.
All puppies should attend a puppy class (preferably started prior to 15 weeks of age) that uses positive reinforcement (treats and praise) for training. Training techniques such as pinch collars, choke collars, shock collars, and physical and verbal reprimands should always be avoided, at any age. These techniques often cause fear and anxiety in your pet and make behavior problems worse. Although kitten classes are difficult to find, kittens do benefit from early socialization with other pets and people. Litterbox management is important for many cats as well, and we can walk you through how to be sure your cat loves his box!