Unfortunately, life with our dogs is not always perfect. Sometimes our dogs develop behavior problems or come into our lives with existing issues. Minor issues like jumping, counter-surfing or running off can be addressed in dog training classes, but more serious behavior issues, like aggression, phobias or separation anxiety, simply cannot.
After a short telephone interview an appointment will be set for a Behavior Consultation. Prior to the consultation you will be asked to fill out an extensive Behavioral Questionnaire, which must be returned to Happy Dog at least 72 hours prior to your appointment. The purpose of the Questionnaire is to get an idea of your pet's daily routines, interactions, and relationships, as well as obtain a detailed description and history of the problem behaviors your dog is demonstrating.
The behavior consultation is approximately a 2-hour visit in our office in Huntington (Long Island, New York). During that time we will:
- Observe your dog's behavior and evaluate your dog's temperament
- Discuss the possible origins of your dog's behavior issues
- Discuss a risk assessment (how dangerous is the dog or the situation?)
- Discuss options for management and/or behavior modification
- Go over a written plan that can help you stabilize the situation as well as outline exercises that can help change the dog's behavior
The consultation includes 3 months of follow-up by telephone and/or email. These follow-ups are to answer any questions you have, make sure you are implementing any lifestyle changes or techniques from your consultation correctly, and discuss any fine-tuning that might need to be done. Clients are required to check in by telephone and/or email at least every 2 weeks to keep their case file open. Follow-up visits may be recommended or requested by the client.
It is important to realize that the Behavior Consultation will not immediately "solve" or "fix" the dog's behavior problem. It will help assess the severity of the problem you're living with, the possible risks and ramifications for your family, and potential for improvement. This information will help you make decisions that are right for your family.
Please keep in mind that there is NO REQUIRED STATE OR FEDERAL LICENSING OR CERTIFICATION FOR DOG TRAINERS OR BEHAVIOR CONSULTANTS - so please choose carefully. As a consumer, you should be aware that it is impossible and unethical for anyone to guarantee results when working with animal behavior. Please feel free to visit the following websites for help choosing a professional Behavior Consultant: www.ccpdt.com, www.iaabc.org, www.apdt.com.
Please visit the "About Ellen Rassiger" page and "Courses and Continuing Education" link for more details on our experience with canine behavior.