|Pet Behavior Counseling|
Green Acres Kennel Shop offers behavior consulting for cats & dogs.
Don Hanson is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP) accredited by the Bach Foundation, and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), and Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) credentialed by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). He offers behavior consultations at his facility, Green Acres Kennel Shop, in Bangor, Maine. Don’s recommendations are based on his training and knowledge as well as personal experience. He has lived with pets that have exhibited undesirable behavior from mild separation anxiety to serious aggression.
Typical behavior problems with dogs include but are not limited to: aggression and reactivity (growling, barking, lunging, and/or biting of people, dogs, or other animals), resource guarding (food, spaces, objects, and people), fears and phobias (thunderstorms, loud noises, children, fireworks, separation anxiety, etc.), destructive behavior, nuisance barking and excessive stress and anxiety. Typical behavior problems for cats include aggression towards people or other pets and litter box issues.
The following article from my blog, Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do?, will give you some guidance on my recommendations on how to proceed. - http://bit.ly/HelpDogAggx
While cats are a different species than dogs, many of the same rules to changing behavior apply: do NOT punish the cat, talk to your veterinarian about the behavior, and seek professional help as soon as possible.
Behavior consulting is not the same as training (see FAQs below). Changing your pet’s behavior will take time, patience, and commitment on your part. It is imperative to understand going into this process that it is not always possible to alter an animal’s behavior to the desired level; many factors are at play, some of which we have no control over such as genetics and illness.
A behavior consultation with Don is typically a process involving several steps which may occur over several weeks or months. Behavior problems are seldom resolved quickly or with a minimal effort on your part. It is extremely rare for a pet to “grow out of” a serious behavioral issue or for there to be a single cure for the problem.
If you have questions on behavior consulting, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section at the end of this document or on our website: http://www.greenacreskennel.com/behavior-consultations/frequently-asked-questions
Do NOT Punish Your Dog for Their Behavior
Punishment, physical or otherwise is extremely unlikely to make your dog less fearful or reactive and is in fact very likely to damage their bond with you. Punishment almost always makes these problems worse. If you are currently using a shock, choke or prong collar with your dog, please stop doing so immediately. Before you choose to work with us we believe that it is important that you understand our approach to training and behavior modification. We suggest that you read our Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogs which can be found at http://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear
Talk to Your Veterinarian
If you have not yet done so, before contacting us, please connect with your veterinarian to discuss your pet’s behavioral problem. Many behavioral difficulties can be caused by health-related issues. Your dog's veterinarian needs to rule out any medical issues that could be contributing to your dog’s behavioral problem. We would be doing a grave disservice to your pet to treat a physical malady as a behavioral concern; not only would the problematic behaviors continue, the physical illness would go untreated.
Email or Call Don or Consider a Behavior Help Now! Session
Typically, we will start with a short email or brief telephone conversation (15 minutes free, additional time billed at $75/hour in 15-minute increments ($18.75) to discuss the behavioral issues of concern. We will not be able to resolve your pet’s behavioral issue via email or over the phone, but will only be able to discuss the next steps in the process. If Don is unavailable when you call, please leave your name, a phone number where he can reach you, and the best times to reach you. Don returns calls during regular business hours (M-Th 9 AM to 5 PM). Unless there are extenuating circumstances, he will typically return your call or respond to your email within two business days.
If you would prefer that Don see you and your dog in person, email him (contact list) or phone him at 207-945-6841, x103 and ask to make an appointment for a Behavior Help Now! session. Behavior Help Now! sessions are scheduled during regular business hours (M-Th 9 AM to 3 PM). They are only meant to determine the recommended course of action for you and your dog; a behavioral consultation, further dog training classes or things you can do at home. Don will not be able to resolve your dog's behavioral issue at a Behavior Help Now! session. The fee for a Behavior Help Now! session is $37.50 for a thirty-minute session.
Sign-Up for Our Pre-Consultation Seminar
If you decide you wish to work with us, we will ask that you attend our Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. seminar. This seminar is held every four to eight weeks, from 11:50 AM to 4 PM; however, depending on the number of people attending and the number of questions, this seminar may continue until 5 PM. There is a $60 fee per household for this seminar, and we suggest that ALL adult family members that live with the dog attend. You must register and pay in advance, no later than a week before the seminar.
The seminar is for people only, so please do NOT bring your dog. We will be discussing behavioral issues in general terms only; we will need to see you and your pet individually to offer behavioral programs designed for your particular situation.
To register, call us at 945-6841 and you can pay with a credit card. We must have at least three individuals, or families signed up for a seminar to move forward. If that should not happen, the seminar will be postponed to the following month.
At the seminar you will gain some general strategies that you can begin using immediately. Topics covered include; common myths about dog behavior, the common causes of aggression and reactivity, their underlying emotions and the role of stress in behavior. We also discuss the importance to refrain from using any and all aversives in training. We provide handouts on canine body language and review common signs dogs give when they are stressed so that attendees are better able to intervene before the dog starts reacting. We also emphasize the absolute need of a management plan that prevents the dog from experiencing the triggers to their fear/aggression while at the same time prevents potential targets of their behavior. Lastly, we discuss the legal and medical perspective of dog bites and how someone can move forward if they choose to work with us.
Attendees will be provided with links to several articles which discuss topics covered at the seminar. This includes management strategies, keeping a journal, deal breakers and dog bites, tools that may help relieve stress and minimize problem behaviors, common reasons for aggression and reactivity, signs of anxiety and stress in dogs, how dogs communicate, and training behaviors useful in managing dogs with reactivity. We stress the importance of using positive reinforcement for training and avoiding all use of positive punishment and negative reinforcement.
Start Keeping a Daily Journal
No matter whom you see to help with the problem you are experiencing with your dog, we recommend that you immediately start a daily journal. Dedicate a computer file or notebook for this purpose. If you keep your journal in a word processing file on your computer, it will make it easier for you to share it with us before your consultation.
Your journal should contain the following basic information:
Manage Your Dog and It’s Environment
One of the most critical components to changing your dog’s behavior is to manage them and their environment to prevent the undesired behavior from happening. In other words, if your dog reacts aggressively towards people coming into your home, have the dog in a crate in another room before answering the door. If your dog is reactive to other dogs, keep them away from other dogs. This is important for two reasons; 1) safety – we do not want any person or any dog, including yours, to get injured and 2) every time your dog exhibits an undesirable behavior it become more likely to happen again making it harder to change.
Complete Questionnaire, Veterinary Referral, Daily Journal & Deposit
After you have attended our Pre-Consultation Seminar and contacted us to inform us that you have decided to move forward with a consultation, we will email you a behavioral questionnaire. The questionnaire will be sent to your email address as a PDF form. We ask that you complete the form on your computer, save it, and email it back to us with the additional information noted below.
We require a referral letter from your veterinarian to proceed with a consultation. If your veterinarian determines that there are no medical reasons that could be responsible for your pet’s behavioral issue, please ask them for a referral letter on their clinic’s letterhead at this time. The letter needs to specify the following seven items:
An example is as follows:
March 1, 2015
“I am referring Fido, a two-year-old mixed breed dog, owned by John Doe to you for a behavioral consultation to include the use of Bach Flower remedies. It is my understanding, based upon conversations with Mr. Doe that Fido is displaying aggression towards visitors to the home. At this time there are no apparent underlying medical or physical conditions that are contributing to this behavioral concern.”
When submitting your questionnaire and referral letter from your veterinarian, we also request that you send us an updated copy of your daily journal.
We require that you make a $350 deposit at the time you submit the behavioral questionnaire, your daily journal, and the veterinary referral. Once we have these items, they will be reviewed by Don, typically within 10 to 14 business days of its receipt. At this point, all time spent on your case will be billed at $75/hour which will be deducted from your deposit. You will be invoiced for any costs that exceed the deposit.
Upon review of these materials, we may email you with additional questions. Once all of the questions have been answered and reviewed we will call you to book a time for you to bring your pet in for the initial consultation.
The Initial Consultation
We strongly recommend that all adult family members that live with the dog attend the consultation. You will meet with Don, and at the end of the consultation we will review our recommendations verbally and provide you with your pet’s first bottle of Bach Flower Remedies. After the consultation, we will prepare a written copy of our recommendations along with handouts to help you implement what we recommend, which we will send you via email. This process may be delayed if additional issues come up during the consultation, which were not indicated in the behavior questionnaire. We will also send a report to your veterinarian.
Continued Assistance Implementing Recommendations
If you need our assistance implementing our recommendations with your pet, we are available for that purpose at the rate of $75/hour, billed in 15-minute increments.
Our fee for a behavior consultation services is $75/hour and is billed in 15-minute increments ($18.75). We bill for the initial phone call after the first 15 minutes, review of your pet’s records, behavior questionnaire, daily journal and emails, in-person consultations, preparation of handouts and behavior modification plans and working with you and your pet on the implementation of those plans. Your first bottle of Bach Flower Remedies is included; additional bottles will be $10 per bottle. We will also provide you with instructions on how to prepare the remedies if you wish to do that yourself. We ask for a payment of $350 as a retainer at the time you submit your completed questionnaire. Any funds remaining at the conclusion of our services will be returned. Additional fees will be billed as they are incurred.
How Much Does A Consultation Typically Cost?
Each case is different, and thus costs may vary widely. The cost of a pet behavior consultation depends directly on the amount of time we spend working with you. The base cost is $75/hour. Travel to your home is billed at $75/hour, portal to portal.