Behavior

Undesirable behaviors negatively impact the relationship we have with our pets. The goal of our Behavior Service is to create a better life for you and your pet by preventing and treating behavior problems using compassionate, scientific methodology that nurtures the human-animal bond.
Common problems addressed: Anxiety, phobias (storms, fireworks, travel, etc.), aggression, inter-dog aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, global fear, resource guarding, leash reactivity, litter box issues in cats

During the 1-2 hour behavior consultation, Dr. Kirby-Madden will review the pet's history, discuss behavior diagnoses, provide a comprehensive treatment plan and behavior modification program, and address any pet owner questions. Behavior consultations are available every other Monday.

Our behavior consultation client questionnaire can be found at VCAsouthshorebehavior.com. In order for Dr. Kirby-Madden to fully evaluate each patient, this form will need to be filled out prior to a pet’s appointment. 

What Is A Veterinary Behaviorist?

A veterinary behaviorist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of behavior problems in pets. Veterinary behaviorists use behavior modification techniques, environmental and lifestyle changes, and medication (when appropriate) in order to manage behavior problems. As trained veterinarians, veterinary behaviorists also have the medical knowledge to determine whether an underlying medical condition is responsible for your pet’s behavioral change. Medical problems almost always have behavioral consequences, but not every behavior change is due to a medical problem. Veterinary behaviorists are uniquely trained to recognize and treat both. Your pet’s primary care veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine behavior problems; however, many behavior issues require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary behavior in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. The treatment of behavior cases requires a very careful accounting of the pet's past history, both medical and behavioral, and his or her current lifestyle. It is important to really understand your pet's emotional and psychological needs and deficits in order to gain insight into the solutions to the issues that concern you.

What is the Difference between a Veterinary Behaviorist and a Trainer?

Veterinary behavior treatment goes far above and beyond basic obedience training. Trainers commonly teach commands such as “sit” or “stay.” To a veterinary behaviorist, however, teaching commands may be just a small part of a larger treatment program designed to address a pet’s behavior issue, whether it be aggression or house soiling. While a trainer’s primary goal is to get a pet simply to act a certain way, a veterinary behaviorist’s primary goal is to understand why a pet misbehaves in order to create a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan to address the underlying cause of the behavior problem. Addressing the fundamental reason for misbehavior, rather than attempting to “train away” the problem, typically leads to longer-lasting results. Veterinary behaviorists are qualified to provide you with the correct diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of your pet’s behavior problem. A veterinary behaviorist is also best able to determine whether your pet may benefit from behavior-modifying medication or if a medical problem may be a contributing factor. While some non-veterinary behaviorists and trainers are experienced and educated, there are others who possess no formal education or proper understanding of animal behavior and may utilize unproven, outdated or even inhumane training techniques to achieve short-term results. By consulting and working with a veterinary behaviorist, your pet will be receiving the highest standard of care from a veterinary professional.

 

Contact Us

781-337-6622

Get to Know Our Team

Highly knowledgeable and skilled veterinarians and well-trained, qualified staff are ready for your pet and you.

Get to Know Our Team

Highly knowledgeable and skilled veterinarians and well-trained, qualified staff are ready for your pet and you.
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