Behavior Service

Photo: Behavior

Dr. Melissa Bain of the UC Davis Clinical Animal Behavior Service works with "Pocket Change" a male puppy in one of the Behavior Service exam rooms at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).

Welcome to the Behavior Service!

Many clients are referred by their veterinarian or trainer, but a referral is not required to make an appointment. Even if you've consulted multiple veterinarians and/or trainers regarding your pet's situation, we are happy to see you.

How to make an appointment:

  • Please call (530)752-1393.
  • We offer morning new patient appointments (9:00 am - 9:30 am) and afternoon appointment (1:00 pm - 1:30 pm) Monday through Friday.
  • If you have questions, check out our FAQ tab, call or email us at vetbehavior@ucdavis.edu (NOTE: appointments cannot be scheduled via email).
  • Click here to review our Canine Questionnaire or Feline Questionnaire.

Behavior problems are a leading cause of pet relinquishment to shelters. Issues such as anxiety, aggression towards owners, animals or visitors can result in a breakdown of the bond between an owner and pet. These issues aren’t “training” problems, they’re deeper emotional issues which require careful and methodical treatment. We are committed to providing evidence-based, humane, fear-free non-confrontational treatment for our patients. Our goal is to help you understand your pet’s behavior and achieve realist goals which provide safety, harmony and comfort for everyone in the home.

Behavioral issues we treat include:

  • Aggression to people and other animals
  • Fears or phobias regarding people, animals, noises, places or owner interactions
  • Problems when home alone
  • Compulsive disorder
  • Destructiveness, hyper-excitability and reactivity
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • House soiling (cats and dogs)
  • Cognitive dysfunction and senior pet behaviors
  • Excessive whining, barking or meowing
  • Preparation for major household changes (such as moving or a baby’s arrival)

What happens during an appointment?

A patient questionnaire is emailed once you’ve made an appointment. Initial consultations typically last 2 to 3 hours. We invite anyone who lives with the pet to participate. The appointment will include:

  • Evaluation of submitted data: video, pictures, medical record and questionnaire
  • Observation of the pet(s)
  • Discussion of the diagnosis
  • Establishment achievable goals and the outlook for treatment
  • Establishment of management strategies
  • Recommended tools to aid in the treatment process 
  • Practice of new training methods/cues
  • A written detailed treatment plan including behavior modification exercises
  • Discussion whether drug therapy is indicated.

If diagnostic testing is recommended, some procedures can be performed during your pet’s appointment or may be done by your referring veterinary health provider.

Follow-up:

Phone and email support is provided, at no additional charge, for one month after your consultation. This post-appointment support can improve the success of navigating through stumbling blocks during the initial training process. Less complex cases can be treated in one visit, though patients may return for one to three recheck consultations during the first year of treatment. The need for Recheck is typically based on the complexity and severity of the behavior(s) treated. Recheck appointments are typically 30 to 60 minutes long.



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