The first telephone conversation or e-mail will be to briefly discuss the difficulties you are experiencing and to form a plan in order to assess those fully. There are a number of different routes through the assessment and treatment process depending on the problem and of course, every dog and situation is different too. We will then direct you to our website to book your initial assessment appointment.
There are many canine behaviour issues that have physical causes, so we may ask you to book your dog in for a clinical assessment with your vet first.
Most dogs will need a full assessment although there are exceptions depending on the problem.
The assessment will either take place at SPPOT DHQ on our Canine Behaviour Clinic days or at your home, depending on the nature of your dog’s issues.
What to expect at the Initial Assessment
The initial assessment usually takes at least two hours and covers every aspect of the dog’s life so far. We will need to ask you questions about your dog’s lifestyle with you, and record as much detail as possible. While there may be a lot of questions for you to answer, this is a very informal discussion with plenty of opportunity to ask questions and cover everything that concerns you.
Further assessment may be required, for example, there may be the need to observe the dog in certain situations, or the customer may need to keep a behaviour diary for a while. If a dog is behaving aggressively or is fearful, we will never ask to see your dog behave in that way – it is unnecessary, unethical, and unkind to your dog. Modern methods of assessment enable us to treat all unwanted canine behaviour in a professional and ethical manner.
Once all the information is gathered, a comprehensive programme is individually written for you and your dog. This can usually be ready around two weeks after the assessment but we usually give you some aspects that you can start work on immediately.
Implementing Individual Plans
The way in which each plan is implemented is individual to each customer and dog. Sometimes all that will be required is a plan to follow which can be emailed. Mostly however, at least one follow-up session will be needed. In the case significant problems, the treatment will usually involve a number of sessions.
All subsequent sessions are planned with the customer to be affordable and effective, with subsequent included e-mail support.
Things to Consider
It is true that some behaviour problems are very simple to address, but more often some changes will have to be made to the dog’s lifestyle, which could be minor or more significant. Please remember you have a legal duty to ensure your dog is under control at all times and the laws in Wales are stricter than ever and set to become even more so. The kinds of measures that may be in your dog’s best interests could be:
- An increase in mental stimulation
- An increase or decrease in exercise
- A change of diet
- A change in the way you manage your dog’s behaviour
- Daily training for general life skills; or more complex behaviour work
All measures to change the behaviour you find difficult will be discussed with you and full tuition given. However, you must be prepared to work consistently with your dog as very, very few problems get better by themselves.