KALM Behaviour Consults – Frequently Asked Questions
“How do you know my pet has anxiety?”
Observation of primary stress response
At Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre, we define anxiety as … “the anticipation or worry of future danger”. In companion animals like dogs and cats, anxiety creates emotional, physical and physiological processes in the body such increased heart rate, blood pressure or movement in response to the perceived threat – whether it is real or imagined. Anxiety activates the body’s primary stress response – known as the fight, flight, fright or fiddle. Typical signs that signify your pet may be feeling anxious are:
- Limited success with training efforts
- Fearful behaviour – eg. aggression
- Yawning – when not tired
- Lip licking – in the absence of a drink or meal
- Excessive barking, licking or scratching
- Excessive salivating
- Low energy / inactivity
- Over exuberance
“How is anxiety treated in my pet?”
Environment, behaviour modification and medication if indicated
At Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre, anxiety is best managed with a three pronged treatment strategy involving environmental interventions, behaviour modification and sometimes medication. If medication is indicated, it is at the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time. Progress can be made around 4 times faster using our three-fold method.
“Can you fix my pet?”
We can definitely help.
If only people and pets were like machinery! Just as you are, your pet is a complex living being – whose behaviour is determined by genetics, environment and experience.
At Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre, we use a scientific, evidence-based vet behaviour approach to:
- accurately diagnose what your dog or cat’s behaviour problem is;
- provide you with education and strategies to help modify behaviour so that it is effectively managed or so that it ceases to be a problem.
The first step is via our Pre-Consultation Questionnaire. It provides relevant background to the problem behaviours experience by your dog or cat. We determine whether there’s a history of the behaviour, what the triggers are, what your dog or cat’s environment is like and what, if any techniques, such as training, have been used to address the behaviour to date.
Next is the in-clinic KALM Behaviour Consult. The veterinary behaviourist clinically observes and reviews your pet to obtain a diagnosis then spends time explaining in detail why your pet is experiencing the problem behaviour.
Then, the vet behaviourist outlines the treatment and management plan specific to your pet and specific behavioural problem which may include prescription of anti-anxiety medications and what follow-up is required in your pet’s case.
Follow-up is a very important part of the treatment process. In almost all cases you and your pet will require a Kalmpets Therapy Appointment with our behaviour modification therapist around 6-8 weeks following the initial KALM Behaviour Consult. Our best practice approach combines veterinary behaviour medicine with an emphasis on reward based training, using 100% positive behaviour modification techniques.
As your pet’s guardian, your commitment to your pet’s behavioural journey towards well-being is an essential factor. At Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre, we equip you with knowledge, provide treatment, demonstrate positive techniques you can use to assist and better understand your pet and provide ongoing support so your pet’s problem behaviour is managed effectively and gently.
“How long will it take?”
A minimum of 6 – 12 months.
Most of our clients are hopeful that the problem behaviour in their dog or cat can be resolved immediately or very soon as a direct result of coming to Kalmpets. Experience tells us that if your dog or cat’s behaviour problem has occurred for 6 months or more it will take a minimum of 6 – 12 months to reach a point where the problem can be considered managed. In some cases complete resolution may not be possible.
It has been scientifically established that in a large percentage of cases behaviour problems are anxiety related, not training problems. Many unwanted behaviours in dogs and cats are evidence of a behavioural condition that requires treatment and in many instances life-long management.
Early intervention, treatment and positive behaviour modification will improve behaviour outcomes for your pet. It takes time and your participation too. Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre provides access to the latest vet behaviour knowledge and best practice positive behaviour modification approaches, education, tools and the support required to assist you on your journey towards improved behaviour.
“What about showing my pet ‘who’s boss’?”
We only practice 100% positive reinforcement.
The ‘show them who’s boss’ concept is common amongst many dog trainers, dog and cat behaviourists and in dog training programs worldwide. So too is the promise of a ‘quick fix’ or ‘guarantee’ to stop a range of unwanted behaviours in dogs and cats. Along with companion animal welfare, vet and training authorities, Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre is unified in the knowledge that dominance-theory based training can be detrimental to your pet’s welfare long term and cannot ‘cure’ an underlying behavioural condition. Regrettably, around 60% of Kalmpets’ canine and feline patients have been seriously affected by the de-bunked theory.
Kalmpets Animal Behaviour Centre is the leader in companion animal behavioural care in Western Australia.
Based on our extensive knowledge and clinical experience in treating behavioural illness in companion animals, we concur with animal services and welfare organisations that:
Dog training that does not use positive re-inforcement:
- Is inefficient
- Generally makes dog behaviour issues worse long term
- Can exacerbate underlying behavioural disease in dogs
- Damages the human animal bond