Behaviour

Pet Behaviour Clinic

Consultations via the Pet Behaviour Clinic are with Carla Foulds Cert(AnBeh) Cert NEBS, V.N. Carla is a qualified Veterinary Nurse who holds a Certificate in Animal Behaviour obtained through the European School of Veterinary Post Graduate Studies. To expand her knowledge further, she has since completed a dog training instructor’s course via the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and assists in local puppy training classes on a weekly basis. She is a member of the British Veterinary Behaviour Association, and regularly attends continuing personal development courses to remain up to date with the latest advances in behavioural medicine.Having had personal experience of owning pets with both minor, and severe behavioural problems, Carla has the ability to empathise with clients, and understand better the difficulties caused by owning a pet suffering with a behavioural problem.

Behaviour problems can be distressing both for you and your pet. Often symptoms become worse with time, which may result in the behaviour being harder to correct. Unfortunately many behaviour problems will require some specific behavioural advice in order to achieve improvement. General advice given without understanding the cause of the problem may not only result in failure to improve it, but more worryingly, can often make it worse. Therefore in order to provide this advice accurately, a full detailed history and evaluation of the problems being experienced is required. The information gathered by this process is essential in identifying the specific motivations behind your pet’s behaviour so that the correct changes can be made. Consultations via the Pet Behaviour Clinic are geared to thoroughly assess the behaviour and provide you with the necessary tools to address your pet’s problems accurately.

The consultation process

You will initially need to fill in a home-completed questionnaire. The more information about your pet’s behaviour you can provide the better. What may not seem so important to you, or even irrelevant, may be integral to unravelling the causes for your pet’s behaviour as well as providing an important insight into your unique family situation. Recommendations can then be tailored as far as possible to your particular home circumstances.

Once you have completed the questionnaire and returned it to the practice, Carla will contact you via telephone to arrange a mutually convenient appointment time for your consultation to take place. All adults within the household should ideally attend the consultation if possible, as well as your pet.

Following the consultation, Carla will write up a report to include a review of the main concerns, explanation for the behaviour, detailed behaviour modification programme, and any additional advice sheets. This will be sent out to you either via post or email depending on your preference. Once received, the report should be read carefully. If you are unsure of anything in the report, you should contact the practice and speak to Carla.

In addition to your written report, you will also receive 6 months additional telephone or email support. This is an important part of your consultation process and we encourage you to utilise this service for the following reasons:

*  Any new problems can be discussed as soon as they arise, and your plan adjusted accordingly.

*  Your progress can be checked and further advice given if necessary to ensure the plan is being followed correctly.

*  It is sometimes necessary with more complex problems to address the most concerning issues initially. We may plan to revisit other problems at a later stage, once this has been done.

*  Making changes to your pet’s behaviour can sometimes be difficult and you may find it hard at times to maintain motivation. Talking through any problems may help you to put these into perspective and provide you the necessary boost to continue to progress with your pet.

Some behavioural changes can be associated with clinical conditions. These may require medical treatment solely, or a combination of this and behavioural therapy. Carla works closely with the veterinary surgeons within the practice to provide the necessary support for your pet’s individual needs.

Many Pet insurance companies will cover for behavioural conditions, but you are advised to contact your specific insurance provider directly to check if your particular policy covers your pet for this type of treatment. We are happy to complete pro forma claim forms in advance of your consultation if this is appropriate.

Please be aware that behaviour modification is not a quick fix. Successful treatment requires hard work, consistency and lots of patience from all members of the household. It is important therefore that everybody at home is committed to making the necessary changes to allow improvement to happen.

Only kind, reward based methods are used in any behaviour modification plan. Carla does not advocate the use of any props, training equipment or techniques, which may intimidate, cause pain or promote fear in your pet.

Cats

Behaviour problems in cats tend to be less noticeable to owners due to their nature. Cats may often become more withdrawn which can result in them spending more and more time hiding or resting away from their owners. This may be the only sign of an underlying behavioural problem. They will also in many cases, utilise a flight response to anything they find frightening rather than involving themselves in any physical fighting. Because of this there can often be underlying friction between neighbourhood cats or even cats in the same household, which goes un-noticed by owners. However, this can be the cause of considerable stress and anxiety for the cat, which in turn can result in other undesirable behaviours arising.

Common problems include:

  • Spraying in the house
  • Indoor urination and defecation
  • Scratching carpets and furniture
  • Aggression to people, neighbourhood cats, other pets
  • Aggression to other cats within a multi-cat household
  • Fear/phobia
  • Attention seeking
  • Over grooming

Dogs

Dog behaviour problems can have a huge impact on family life. Not only affecting the owners, but also friends, neighbours and society at large. Problems can vary enormously in complexity and also severity. There is often a difference in perception of these behaviours from one owner to another. What is acceptable behaviour to some may be unacceptable to others. Problem dogs can also fuel dog prejudice amongst the non-dog owning public. In some cases of aggression, injuries can be caused to a third party, which may then result in law involvement.

Common problems include:

  • Vocalisation at home/in the car
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Aggression towards people, other animals or other dogs
  • Sound sensitivities and phobias
  • Fear of new/novel objects
  • Guarding toys/food or stealing items
  • Chasing
  • Socialisation/training problems
  • Separation problems
  • Handling problems, such as aggression when groomed or on veterinary examination
  • Attention seeking
  • Sibling rivalry

Please enquire at reception for further information or to obtain a questionnaire

“I would like to thank you so much for all your advice and help over some difficult weeks when I really thought I’d ‘lost’ the Lyra we used to know and love. I can’t say how important it was to have that guidance, reassurance and support from you. Again, very many thanks.”

- Kate

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“Since moving house six months ago, my eldest dog Noah had started sitting down and not wanting to move when out for a walk. I filled in a behaviour questionnaire and then had a consultation with Carla. She went through the questionnaire in detail and gave me a personalised action plan. It became apparent that Noah seemed to be scared of traffic noise. Carla advised me to take Noah out in the car to a quiet area away from traffic and to walk him there. This worked really well and Noah started to gain confidence and walk a bit further every day. We also started working on walking him nearer to cars. He is still not 100% confident with traffic yet, but with Carla’s guidance we are seeing a steady improvement. He no longer sits down and loves exploring the golf course and local parks. Carla has been so supportive and has given us great advice. The best news of all is that Noah is happy and enjoying his walks again.”

- Rachel

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“After adopting 7 month old PLUTO I soon realised he came with his own unique bad habits, traits and behavioural issues, and could easily get very excitable. Although I’d say PLUTO was predominantly a very well behaved dog, I decided to seek professional help via the ‘Behaviour consultation’ with Carla at Ashleigh Vets in Chorlton and I’m so pleased I did.
After completing an initial questionnaire Pluto and I attended a consultation with Carla at the practice. She has been wonderful in helping me with Pluto. Carla quickly answered my sometimes lengthy and difficult questions, including support via email over the last 2-3 months. I cannot reccommend this service enough given the support I have received and the long-term change for the better I’ve seen in my dog. Thank you. Nigel and Pluto. Stretford.”

- Nigel

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