Behaviour Problems in Pets
Our dogs and cats have an important role in our
lives; many of us feel that our pets are members of the family.
However, our companion animals can suffer
from a variety of behaviour problems, such as aggression, fears and
phobias, separation anxiety, house-soiling, destructive behaviour and,
for dogs, barking or howling.
These behaviours cause
anxiety, stress or embarrassment to the owner, damage the bond between
people and their pets, and are usually the result of underlying distress
in the animal, so don't delay in seeking qualified, professional help!
Click on the links below for more information about the behaviour of our
pets and the problems they can develop.
do I arrange a Behaviour Consultation?
1. First, have your pet checked by your
vet. Ask the vet to refer you to me for behaviour counselling (they may
wish to carry out medical investigations before doing so) and to
complete my referral form (download it
here). They can
send it to me with any significant medical history, or you can keep it
until we meet at your behavioural consultation.
with me via email or phone. Let me know a
little about your pet's behaviour, and your location. I will advise on
the most appropriate approach for us to take, and what this will cost,
and I will let you know how to book the first session.
3. If your pet is
insured for Vet Fees, my fee may be covered. Please check your
policy: many insurers cover costs of referral to a Clinical Animal
Behaviourist or member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.
If you will be claiming, let me know so that I can provide you with a
receipt and evidence of my membership.
The importance of Veterinary
Because behaviour problems are
sometimes a symptom of pain or another underlying medical condition, it
is essential that your pet is seen by a vet to rule
out medical causes before you begin behavioural modification.
Before making an appointment please visit your vet so that any medical causes of
the behaviour problem can be ruled out. Ask your vet to complete my referral
form (which can be downloaded
here), then bring it along
to your behavioural consultation. My report will
then be copied to the
referring vet to be kept with your pet's medical records.
I will not be able to carry out your
behavioural consultation without the vet's signed referral form.
happens during the consultation?
The behavioural consultation takes
place in your home, with as many members of your household as can
attend. This is so that I can obtain the fullest possible picture of
the problem and see the pet in its normal surroundings.
The first behavioural consultation
lasts around 21/2 hours.
I'll take a complete history of the pet and the problem, make a
diagnosis and talk you through the treatment plan, demonstrating
methods where necessary.
Following the consultation I'll
provide a written report to you (and send a copy to your vet),
summarising our discussions and confirming the step-by-step
Please don't expect a magic wand or a quick fix!
Behaviour problems are complex and it is essential to address the
underlying emotional issues, rather than merely treating the
symptoms, otherwise the pet is likely to exhibit more problems in
the future. There will be work involved for you, but we will discuss
how to fit this in around your other commitments and routines. While I will leave you with some starting points at the
end of the first consultation, and there may be improvements in some
areas fairly quickly, be prepared for the full treatment plan to
take weeks or months to complete.
In most cases your fee will include at
least one follow-up visit, and may also include some practical
We will arrange follow-up sessions at a
suitable point in your behaviour programme. In these sessions we will
review your pet's progress, and if appropriate I'll help you get
started on the next stages of your behaviour programme. Follow-up sessions last
approximately one hour. After you have completed your "package", additional sessions can be arranged at any
point if you feel they would be helpful, and are subject to an
hourly fee and travel expenses.
I encourage you to keep in regular
contact so that we can monitor your progress and make adaptations to
the plan as needed, in a timely manner. Outcomes are greatly
improved when clients provide regular updates. Your fee includes
ongoing support via telephone or email support for up to six months
after initial consultation.
Click here for full Terms and Conditions
does Behaviour Counselling cost?
A behaviour consultation and follow-up
support costs £200-300 depending on the nature of the problem. I
offer different packages based on the type of behaviour problem,
which are designed to offer enough support to optimise outcomes
while remaining affordable to you.
The fee includes:
the initial consultation (a home visit lasting 2-3
demonstration of handling, management and
any necessary communication with your vet (for
example regarding further investigation of potential medical problems or
prescribing of medication to assist the treatment programme)
follow-up visits and/or training sessions as
detailed in my confirmation email to you
follow-up telephone / email support for 6
Please contact me for a quote for a
or email for advice?
I don't offer any advice for dog
behaviour problems (except emergency safety advice) over the
telephone, as I don't believe it is safe or professional to attempt to make a
diagnosis without seeing the dog, or to offer a treatment plan without a full
discussion with owners, and demonstration of techniques.
In some cases I may be able to offer
advice over the telephone for behaviour problems in cats, rabbits and other
pets. If I think it's likely that I will need to see the pet I'll let you know
early in the conversation.
For telephone consultations I charge £30 for up
to one hour, £10
per hour thereafter.
I don't carry out email
consultations as it isn't possible to gain a full picture of the problem
without speaking to the owner.
Of course you can
phone me at no cost for a chat about your pet's behaviour and to arrange a full