What Is The Behaviour Modification Process?


A Behaviour Modification Consultation is what is required if you are dealing with problem behaviour with your pet. This style of consultation will look into the root cause of the issue, increase your understanding on what the problem actually is and advise on how to solve and fix the unwanted behaviour. The result is happier people and happier pets.

As an Animal Behaviourist I act as a kind of interpreter for your pet. This provides a vital communication link that is missing between you and your pet. Once you have a full understanding of the problem I then equip you with the skills necessary to solve and fix it so that your pet is content once again. This can usually be done in around 1 hour per behavioural issue.

Behaviour Modification is a stepped process which allows for results to be realised. This process has been tried and tested for over a decade so we are sure that we are helping you and your pet in the best way possible. It is efficient, affordable and WORKS!

Step 1: Pre-consultation evaluation of your pet and personal situation:

Before I even see you or your pet you will be asked to complete a Modification Behaviour questionnaire. This will give me the ‘full story’ of not only the situation or issue you are concerned with but also and very importantly your lifestyle, routine with your pet and of course will ask many personality type questions about your pet and their normal behaviours. When these are completed I get a complete picture of your pet’s life, personality and troubles. At this stage you can also upload video that demonstrates problem behaviour easily by following the instructions on the questionnaire and that will be very useful for me to review prior. Depending on the case I may ask you for video of certain elements.

I now review your case and look at how I can best help you. I do this EVEN BEFORE I SEE YOU.

Step 2: I then meet your family and your pet via video-call:

It is important for me to see your pet in its natural behaviour state (how it acts generally on the day to day). People don’t realise the importance of this and think that is only necessary for me to examine their pet’s unwanted behaviour. It is actually more important to see how your pet behaves on the day to day and what is ‘normal’ behaviour for them. This can tell me a lot about how or why the unwanted behaviour has arisen. This is why videocalls work best because if you were to bring your pet into clinic to see me their behaviour always changes as it would also if I turned up to your house for a home visit.

The other really important reason that video-call work far better is that they can be arranged at a convenient time to allow all the family members to attend. A behaviour consultation is different to taking your pet to the vet to get fixed or to have a vaccination. Any family member can do that as the vet will fix your pet and then return them to you. What I do requires YOU to fix your pet. That’s means that everyone needs to know exactly what to do, why and how! The amount of information relayed to you in the consultation is immense. Everyone needs to listen so as a family you are all on the same page and are tackling the problem in a unified way.

Step 3: A written Behaviour Modification Plan (BMP):

After your consultation you can choose to have your case and your step by step instructions devised within the consultation written up into a Behaviour Modification Plan. These are case specific. No two BMP’s are the same as no two animals and situations are the same. This is highly recommended as the information you will receive will be lengthy, some instructions can be quite subtle and getting them right is the key to success. You can take your own notes on the day but these are usually not detailed enough as you have enough to do with listening and getting your head around what you have to do and how!

Vet Referral:

Your vet may refer you to me. This is encouraged as with behaviour modification I may need to contact your vet to get a medical history and your pet needs to be checked out medically by a vet to ensure that no medical issues are contributing to the behaviour problem. It is more efficient when your Vet refers first up as I don’t need to chase them. I can follow-up with them though if you haven’t got a referral.

The referring Vet will get given Case Notes to add to your pets file at their clinic which will explain what the problem is and how it is being managed and treated – key elements advised within the Behaviour Modification Plan devised. This is helpful for them as they can also then guide and support where necessary. Sometimes medication assistance may be beneficial and this can be discussed with your Vet and they can prescribe this for your pet.

Timeframes and Follow-Up Appointments:

I often get asked how long will this take to fix? And will it be very costly with a lot of repeat visits?

The short answer is it depends on the severity of the problem, the complexity of the case and the commitment by you to fix the problem. You will be given a full understanding behind the problem and what you need to do to fix it at the first appointment. Sometimes the fix is quite quick and sometimes it can take a little longer and need a bit of work.

Follow-up appointments are sometimes required to ensure that you stay on track and of course allow us to vary our plan if some things don’t go as expected. There is no 1+1 = 2, in pet psychology! Our pets like to keep things interesting for us! And each animal is different so may respond differently. You are working from best gauged plan A which usually works with a few minor tweaks here or there. Sometimes you can make the tweaks yourself but sometimes further advice and support is needed. Most owners like to show the extent of the improvement as they are elated with progress in the follow – ups and this is fantastic to see! It’s all down to their own hard work and by them getting the right advice for their pet and their particular individual situation.

So the consultation itself gives you the road map. You then need to travel the road and stay on course! Sometimes the journey is long, sometimes short but you will notice progress, usually quite dramatically at the beginning as some vital things are put in place which are usually quite simple. This is great as at the beginning you are most frustrated so seeing some immediate progress fuels your journey. It is also critical for some cases.

We are the perfect team to ensure your success!

Your Behaviourist, your Vet and you are the perfect team who work in unison to make sure that you solve your issue in the most efficient and effective way so that you can get back to the relationship that you should be having with your pet. We believe that your relationship with your pet is important and love is worth it! Don’t give up on your pet! You just need to understand them and to ‘talk to them in a way that they understand. That’s what a modification consultation allows for.

To recap using a travel analogy. Your pets Behaviour Modification journey will take the following steps:

Step 1: Pre-consultation evaluation - I think about the journey you need to take;

Step 2: Consultation - We discuss the logistics of the journey and how you will get there and I evaluate your pet in their normal every day behaviour state;

Step 3: Behaviour Modification Plan - I draw you up a roadmap. This can be communicated to your Vet so that they are in on the journey with us. You travel the road to modify your pet’s behaviour and have a happy pet;

Step 4: Follow–up support if required - You stick to the roadmap and get support as required in follow-up appointments. Detours are sometimes required!

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