Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

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Red
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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Mon May 21, 2012 12:35 am

I am not sure I understood where the disagreement is.The quote you used, refer to the work some Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist do, in office work.It serves no purpose to elicit problem behaviors when the dog is brought in (they might not even being displayed due to a different environment) Especially when it is behavior that is potentially dangerous and does not need to be practiced or reinforced, not even once. They have questionnaires in place for a reason, to obtain a neutral description of problematic behavior being witnessed and go from there.Footage is often used, if available.

As a simple behavior consultant, I have my questionnaires filled up with a health history, but there are also home visits in which I gather more information by observing the home dynamic, including what the dog does vs what the owner does.Of course a lot of owners make easy use of the word "aggression" but each person in the behavioral field is there for different reason and might work differently.

As for reinforcement, I expect that most people will have observed the dog's behavior many times before going for help. If a single additional instance would cause significant reinforcement, then by the same logic we should be able to cure anything in just a few days. But no, neither direction will change that quickly or easily.


No, but if I am dealing with a dog who has bitten people on several occasions I am certainly not going to provoke or elicit the behavior one more time, or ask the owner do do it. There is no point in doing that, I do not need to see a dog going after a person to see how far the behavior can escalate, there is plenty to observe before it gets to the point.

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gerry
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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby gerry » Mon May 21, 2012 7:58 pm

On my point of disagreement, I've also seen trainers and behaviorists do the same thing. As for a different environment possibly changing the behavior, of course that's right, but it's also additional information. If the behavior is not exhibited in another environment, I would begin teaching a replacement behavior under those conditions, before later transferring it to the target environment. It is far easier to teach a new behavior without conflict, and I feel that sequence is far more time efficient. I agree, of course, with use of footage.

I recently dealt with a dog who had bitten people on several occasions and nobody knew what to do or what precautions to take. This was not a question of how far the behavior could escalate (which was somewhat obvious). The question here was why and what could be done. It took a series of specific tests to determine the issue, and the dog was then transferred to a facility having the knowledge and resources to help him. Yes, the dog was provoked, multiple times. No, he was not unduly distressed, and recovered each time within seconds. During the tests, he attacked people (me), places and things, including a building. From those results I could give them appropriate handling precautions.

As to their being plenty to observe before that point, that is not always true. In my example case, what had people confused was that the dog would be completely fine and calm one second, then lunging for a bite the next one. While not very common, this does occur. If there should instead be a great deal to observe, then I'm just fine with that.

With the more common cases, there are still the questions of intensity and focus. In recent play groups, for instance, a dog who ramps up slowly and can be easily distracted is handled quite differently from one who attacks abruptly and will ignore common adversives during her attack. In previous groups I handled with more difficult dogs, it was important to make this distinction before the dog was brought into a group setting. Unless you have this knowledge, you cannot make this distinction.

Having said all this, I will still agree that your advice and comments are valid for the greater majority of cases. Also, that I tend to work more with the minority cases. With that I submit that the degree of examination and testing required depends on the problem details, and no simple formula or single approach can cover all cases. And that most failures I have seen have been due to that limitation in their approach, and that this is fostered by many books and articles that seem to imply a particular approach is the best in all cases.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Tue May 22, 2012 1:17 pm

Gerry, this thread was made to make people aware of what is available when help is needed and an owner actually seeks help.

Red wrote:Many dog owners are unsure of who they should contact in case of significant behavioral problems and because there is a difference in what individuals can offer, depending on their qualifications, knowledge and experience, it is important to know what that difference is. The following is just a brief explanation of who is what and how they can help you and your dog.


It was not made to go in details about every case,situation and particular animal. To even attempt that would have been a huge waste of time as people prefer to talk about other things than looking for and participating in a good discussion about canine behavior, on dog forums in general. If you are well versed in functional assessment and analysis on a dog, making use of observable and quantifiable behavior, maybe you can start a thread about a case or dog (need owner permission if applicable) that we could discuss. That would be lovely to have, for once.


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