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Pet behaviour problems can emerge for many different reasons and many owners remain extremely tolerant of these difficulties over a prolonged period of time. This can lead to tension in the relationship between pet and owner, and may eventually lead to owners taking the very difficult decision to re-home or even euthanase their pet.

Whilst dealing with the strain that pet behaviour problems can create within families and attempting to limit and manage the amount of damage caused, it can be difficult to sit back and ask ourselves why our pet is behaving in this way. Yet without removing the cause of the pet's inappropriate behaviour, it will be impossible to find a permanent resolution to the matter.

A dog trainer has practical experience in teaching a dog a new behaviour.
A pet behaviour counsellor is trained to identify and explain the motivation for the problem behaviour of a wide range of companion animal species and to assist the family in devising a treatment plan that will enable the pet to alter its behaviour.

As the pet behaviour profession is, as yet, unregulated, there are a multitude of well meaning but inexperienced and inadequately trained individuals offering advice in pet behaviour. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the R.S.P.C.A. advise vets and members of the public to ensure that they seek guidance on the behavioural welfare of companion animal species from professionals who have been certified as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (Click for ASAB Website) who are Members of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (Click for APBC Website). 



WHAT IS A COMPANION ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR COUNSELLOR?  Your counsellor has practical and post-graduate level academic experience of the ethology, psychology, neurophysiology, pharmacology, learning theory, legal and welfare issues associated with companion animal behaviour problems. They understand and can explain why your pet is behaving as they are and they can explain and demonstrate what needs to be done to alter your petís behaviour.

WHAT PROBLEMS CAN BE HELPED?  The range of behavioural problems exhibited by pets and horses is varied and can include aggression, destructiveness, toileting and marking problems, self-mutilation, vocal behaviour, nervousness, travel problems, livestock chasing and general control issues.

HOW CAN A COUNSELLOR HELP? All behaviour problems are individual to an animal and its environment. Establishing the cause of a behaviour and developing a treatment plan that is suitable to the individual and its family takes time.    Following  a referral from your vet, a counsellor is able to offer the time and experience necessary to achieve objectives at an affordable cost.

WILL MY PET INSURANCE POLICY COVER THE COST OF THE CONSULTATION?  You will have to check this with your individual company, but most specific veterinary pet insurance companies will cover behaviour consultations by a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist or a Member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.

HOW QUICKLY WILL I SEE RESULTS?  The behaviour modification programme that you design with your counsellor may produce results very quickly. But any programme will take time,  effort and commitment from the entire family. The animalís current behaviour may have been a problem for some time and you need to be prepared to continue working on the programme for at least several months.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A CONSULTATION?   Consultations are held on an appointment basis and normally lasts up to three hours. Canine consultations are usually held at the clinic but all other species are seen in their own environment. If possible all family members are present.  During the consultation an extensive history of the problem is taken  and your petís temperament will be assessed after which the counsellor will explain the motivation for the behaviour and help to devise a treatment plan.

DO YOU MAKE HOUSE CALLS?  Yes, for a charge this service is available. However, if clients live so far from the clinic that travel arrangements or costs become a problem, by supplying a detailed video or DVD of the problem and the home environment, it is possible to hold a telephone based consultation at a prearranged time.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE CONSULTATION?  Treatment programmes vary according to the nature and severity of the problem and a report summarising the information that you have discussed during your consultation will be written and forwarded to you and your veterinary surgeon. If the problem has been occurring for a long time it may take several months to obtain an improvement. Usually only one consultation is necessary but follow-up appointments can be arranged. Further advice and support is available over the íphone at no extra charge.

WHY DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY VET?  Behaviour problems may arise directly and indirectly as a result of current or previous medical problems. Veterinary involvement is essential to eliminate medical causes of the problem and to ensure the animalís welfare.

HOW DO I BOOK AN APPOINTMENT?  Either you or your veterinary surgeon can arrange an appointment by telephone. If you telephone the clinic, an appointment will be made and you will be sent a questionnaire to complete and a referral form for your vet to complete. Alternatively, you can download a questionnaire appropriate to your petís species and referral letter Ė once these are completed please telephone the clinic to arrange an appointment at the earliest possible date. 


Would you like your vet to refer your pet to the clinic? Please download (Click Here) a case history questionnaire and referral form and once you and your vet have completed them, please phone the clinic for an appointment.

Claire HargraveBSc(Hons), MSc,
PGCE, C Sci, C Chem, MRSC,
Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist
and Member of the Association of
Pet Behaviour Counsellors
Companion Animal Behaviour Referrals
Erw Wastad, Llwyn-teg, Llannon, Llanelli, SA14 8JW 
Tel. 01269 844770