Pets can develop a range of behaviour problems, such as aggression, destructiveness, inappropriate toileting, self-mutilation, inappropriate vocal behaviour, nervousness, and phobias.
Such behaviour can be inconvenient for you, the owner, but more importantly it is often a sign that your pet’s welfare is poor.
Find out how to meet the five welfare needs of your animal by visiting our pet pages.
Seek expert advice from your vet first
If your pet develops a behaviour problem you should seek expert advice. It is important to get your pet checked by a vet first to rule out any form of illness or injury that could be causing the behaviour problem. Your vet can then refer you to a behaviour expert.
How to find a behaviour expert
It's important that the behaviour expert identified is someone with the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to treat your pet. Anyone can call themselves a behaviour expert, but many do not possess up-to-date knowledge or the necessary skills required to treat pets with behaviour problems.
Inappropriate or outdated advice or methods may adversely affect your pet’s welfare and even make your pet’s behaviour problem worse.
The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) accredits Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists (CCAB), who possess the appropriate skills, knowledge and abilities. This includes having an Honours or higher degree in a relevant subject, attendance at appropriate specialist courses, and at least three years of regular clinical experience.
The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) also represents animal behaviourists. APBC members will have at least a relevant degree and two year's experience or a postgraduate qualification and one year's experience.
CCAB and APBC behaviour experts will work to identify the cause of the behaviour problem and then develop structured treatment plans that are suitable for you, your pet and your circumstances.
If you are on a lower income, many leading pet insurers in the UK now allow their policy holders to claim for consultations provided by full members of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. Some APBC behaviourists also offer reduced fees, though this is at the discretion of the individual.
Find an ASAB Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) - visit: www.asab.org and click on 'Accreditation scheme'
Find an APBC behaviourist - visit: www.apbc.org.uk