Behavior

Behavior

The veterinarians in the Clinical Animal Behavior program focus on behaviors in a wide variety of species including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, horses, and cattle. The service includes veterinarians board-certified in both Veterinary Behavior and Veterinary Welfare along with resident veterinarians, in the nation's largest veterinary behavior program. Common problems that are treated are aggression, anxiety behaviors, repetitive behaviors, separation anxiety, and housesoiling, as well as species-specific problems, such as feather-picking in birds. We derive our humane behavior modification techniques from the fields of applied animal behavior and veterinary medicine, and apply these scientific principles to help solve problem behaviors. Our goal is to help clients understand an animal’s behavior as they strive to reach their goals.

Specialty areas include:

  • Dogs:
    • Aggression toward people or other animals
    • Anxiety-related problems, such as separation anxiety and noise phobia
    • Housesoiling
    • Repetitive behaviors, such as light-chasing or tail-chasing
    • Intolerance of handling or of veterinary procedures
  • Cats:
    • Inappropriate elimination, including urine marking
    • Aggression toward people or other animals
    • Pica (eating of inappropriate objects)
    • Scratching
  • Birds:
    • Feather-destructive behavior and self-mutilation
    • Aggression toward people or other animals
    • Screaming
  • Small companion animals (rabbits, rodents):
    • Aggression toward people or other animals
    • Repetitive behaviors
  • Horses:
    • Aggression toward people or other animals
    • Intolerance of handling or of veterinary procedures
    • Trailering problems
    • Repetitive behaviors, such as cribbing and weaving
    • Foal rejection
  • Cattle and other production animals:
    • Welfare and husbandry issues related to veterinary procedures, handling, and production

Research areas include:

  • Clinical animal behavior:
    • Relationship of coat-color and behavior in cats
    • Risk of illness in puppies attending socialization classes
    • Effect of medications on urine marking in cats
  • Human-animal bond:
    • Owner attachment and problem behaviors related to relinquishment of dogs to shelters
    • Relationship of the terms guardian and owner to the human-animal bond
  • Welfare:
    • Effect of enrichment on cats in shelters
    • Use of pheromones to decrease stress in weaned foals
    • Relationship between cribbing and colic in horses