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Below are some of our frequently asked questions, but please contact us if you would like any additional information!
A veterinary behaviorist is a veterinarian who has completed a specialized training program in veterinary behavior and achieved board certification.
After earning a veterinary degree and completing an internship, a veterinarian may apply for a residency or training program in veterinary behavior. During this 3 - 4 year training program, behavior of all species of mammals and birds is studied.
These are the general requirements of the training program:
1. Manage 200 cases under supervision of a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB).
2. Submit three case reports for review by a Committee of ACVB Diplomates.
3. Publish an original research paper in a peer-reviewed journal.
4. Pass a 2-day comprehensive examination.
After completing the specialty training program and passing the examination, a veterinarian can be considered board-certified. Board-certified specialists are known as Diplomates. Diplomates must stay current, attending and presenting at professional continuing education meetings.
There are many amazing dog trainers. Dog trainers can help you teach your dog basic skills as well as advanced tasks. Most trainers offer foundation lessons in socialization and manners to help young dogs develop to their fullest potential. Some trainers have pursued higher level training of their own and are able to help with mild cases of fear or distress related to being left alone. Dogs with complex behavioral problems including aggressive behaviors generally need an assessment that is beyond the scope of most dog trainers. Underlying medical conditions can contribute to the development of serious behavior problems. Once the behavior has been evaluated, a dog trainer can be part of the team that helps you implement your behavior modification plan.
The term "certified" is not very revealing. For that matter, the term "behaviorist" can be confusing as well. You may find some people with no specific credentials still use these terms. It is up to you to learn about a "certified trainer" or "behaviorist's" education and knowledge base.
A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, or CAAB, is an individual who has received certification from an organization called the Animal Behavior Society. The ABS is a group of highly educated scientists that study behavior in all animals. CAABs are members of this organization that have a special interest in the practical application of behavior. To earn the title CAAB, the candidate must meet rigorous standards, not unlike those required to be board-certified veterinarians. CAABs are experts in researching behavior in animals, evaluating behavioral problems, and applying behavior modification. However, CAABs usually do not have a medical education and are not licensed to prescribe medication or evaluate underlying medical conditions that affect behavior.
Veterinary behaviorists are trained to treat conditions that are purely behavioral as well as those that may have an underlying medical basis.
Trainers can teach you how to effectively reinforce behaviors but may not have the knowledge base needed to determine the basis of a complex behavioral concern. Aggression, anxiety, and phobias are complex and can be challenging to assess. If you have already worked with a trainer and the problem is not responding as expected, then an evaluation by a veterinary behaviorist is recommended.
Of course! It will be important that we work as a team and agree on methodology. Otherwise your dog may become frustrated or confused.
Only if you want to. We are available to help you through telephone and email as well as for hands on behavior modification sessions. If you would like to work with your own personal trainer, let us know as we may suggest that your trainer to attend your consultation.
Typically, not that much time at all. Most behavior modification exercises require only a few minutes of practice each day.
As a veterinarian, Dr. Lindell will treat your pet humanely. She will always explain the rationale for her treatment recommendations to be sure that you are comfortable and have no questions or concerns. Behavior modification strategies focus on non-confrontational techniques.
It is difficult to calculate a meaningful numerical success rate. The outcome or prognosis for an individual pet is affected by many factors. Underlying medical conditions, the number and severity of behavioral concerns, and even the personalities of household people all affect the success of treatment.
Some behavioral concerns can be resolved in one visit. Other cases may benefit from up to 4 recheck appointments. Complex behavioral concerns may need to be addressed in stages. Anywhere from 1 - 4 recheck appointments might be advised. Once Dr. Lindell has evaluated your pet, she will be able to determine an ideal follow up schedule for you. When rechecks are advised, they are usually spaced about 4 - 6 weeks apart.
Absolutely. Our skilled technicians are available to provide behavior modification sessions. They can coach you every step of the way. Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly behavior modification sessions are available. We also offer behavior modification packages to provide this service at a discounted rate.
Unfortunately we cannot. Veterinary Practice Acts specify that veterinarians must establish a veterinarian – client – patient relationship before offering any diagnosis or specific treatment advice. Depending on the nature of the behavioral concerns and the progress you are making, if you live a great distance away or cannot easily travel, follow up appointments may be done by telephone.
It is not usually necessary for Dr. Lindell to see your pet engaging in a problematic behavior, particularly if that behavior poses a risk to a person or another animal. Many behavior problems are rooted in anxiety or aggression in which case it can actually be detrimental to attempt to elicit the behavior. In fact, treatment is most likely to be successful if your pet is never again motivated to perform the problem behavior.
It is particularly helpful for Dr. Lindell to see acceptable behaviors which can positively affect the treatment program. She will notice the subtle changes in posture that reflect signs of anxiety or aggression and will point these out to you during the visit. When you return home to begin working with the behavioral treatment plan, you will be able to recognize these postures so that you can more effectively modify your pet's behavior.
If it is safe, you are welcome to provide a videorecording of behaviors that you would like Dr. Lindell to observe and evaluate. It is essential that you do not put any person or pet at risk for the purpose of obtaining a videorecording.
The main advantage to a house call is that it will be more convenient for you. You don't need to photograph the environment and you don't need to drive. If you have many pets, they may not all fit in one car, making an office visit somewhat challenging.
The main disadvantage of a house call is that household pets often spend too much time focusing on the veterinarian in their home. Cats may hide, and dogs may be fearful or even aggressive, in which case behavior modification techniques cannot be properly demonstrated. An in-home consultation generally takes more time than an office consultation and therefore the cost is higher.
Dr. Lindell does not prescribe medication for every patient. During your consultation, Dr. Lindell will assess your specific situation. A recommendation to medicate will be based on several factors. First, the behavioral diagnosis will be considered. Some conditions have been shown to improve more rapidly when psychoactive medications are used. In addition, your pet's overall health and your own preferences will be considered before any medication is prescribed. Dr. Lindell will never require that you medicate your pet. She will explain her recommendations and encourage you to consult with your own primary care veterinarian if you have any special concerns.
When you schedule an initial consultation at any of our offices, we will ask for a credit card to reserve the appointment. The $150 reservation fee is non-refundable and will be applied to the cost of your pet's appointment.
If you reschedule more than 72 hours in advance of your original appointment date, we will apply the reservation fee, which represents approximately half your estimated visit cost, a single time to your new appointment. If an appointment is cancelled or is rescheduled less than 72 hours in advance of the scheduled appointment, the $150 reservation fee will be forfeited and no refund will be given.
Initial consultations that are scheduled on weekends or as house calls are subject to a $300 non-refundable reservation that will be applied toward the cost of your consultation. If a weekend or house-call appointment is cancelled or is rescheduled less than 72 hours in advance of the scheduled appointment, the $300 reservation fee will be forfeited and no refund will be given. If we receive your request to reschedule with more than 72 hours notice, we will apply the $300 reservation fee toward a follow-up appointment, but we will not be able to apply that credit to your initial appointment.
We understand that unexpected events can occur. We certainly don't want you to come to a visit if you or your pet are not feeling well. The cancellation charge will be applied a single time to another appointment that is scheduled and completed within one month of the original date. For weekend and house call cancellations, the charge will be applied to a follow up appointment.
From the time you schedule your appointment, we begin our preparation for your consultation. Arrangements are made at the appropriate facilities and team member schedules are coordinated. During the days before your visit, we carefully review medical records, videorecordings, and behavioral history forms so that we can be as efficient as possible during the actual consultation. We are committed to doing our best to help you, and we appreciate that paying a reservation fee represents a commitment on your part as well.
Indeed the term "information overload" is a valid one. It can be difficult to separate facts from fiction. Dr. Lindell will always explain the rationale behind her treatment recommendations. If there has been a study about a treatment that might help your pet, she will share the evidence with you.
Perhaps you have already tried several techniques without success, and you are not ready to invest more time unless there is hope of improvement. We offer assessment-only appointments. These shorter consultations are a perfect opportunity for you to discuss prior treatments and to learn whether more effective interventions are available before committing to additional treatment.