Call us to schedule an appointment: 484.443.8738 Combining experience, humane behavior modification and good science.

Behavior Clinic

Problem Prevention Services

Thinking ahead can significantly lessen the chances that problems will develop. Our Problem Prevention Services are designed to help you to reduce the risk of fears and phobias, aggression and other behavior problems in puppies and kittens and newly introduced adult pets.

Welcoming a New Puppy (for puppies up to 6 months old)

Bringing a puppy into your home is exciting but can also be daunting. Everyone seems to have advice to offer, but much of it might be confusing and even contradictory. A problem prevention appointment will help ensure that your new puppy starts out right and grows up to be a much-loved and contented family pet. Problem prevention appointments include:

  • Assessment of your puppy's unique personality and needs
  • Demonstration of basic training, using only humane methods and positive reinforcement
  • Choosing behaviorally useful toys and accessories
  • Discussion of housetraining, socialization, crating, chewing, choosing a collar and lead, and teaching polite walking, and allaying fear of touch (including vet exams)

Welcoming a New Kitten (for kittens up to 6 months old)

A new kitten is loads of fun but can also be daunting. Starting out right with a kitten is more complicated than it might appear at first glance, and much of the advice you hear can be confusing and even contradictory. A problem prevention appointment will help ensure that your new kitten starts out right and grows up to be a much-loved and contented family pet. Problem prevention appointments include:

  • Assessment of your kitten's unique personality and needs
  • Discussion of normal kitten behavior and body language
  • Demonstration of basic training principles using only humane methods and positive reinforcement
  • Choosing behaviorally useful toys and accessories
  • Discussion of litter box management, socialization, dealing with claws and play, nighttime activity, and allaying fear of touch (including vet exams)

Welcoming a New Adult Rescue (dogs or cats 6 months and older)

Newly re-homed dogs and cats all have "special needs" of some kind. In addition to the trauma of losing their original homes and connections, some have been taken from place to place and were housed in crowded, often stressful environments. It is no surprise to learn that many newly adopted animals have behavior problems ranging from separation anxiety and aggression to litter box problems and house-soiling. A problem prevention consultation for new adult rescues includes:

  • Assessment of the new pet's individual personality and needs
  • Adjustment to a new environment and schedule
  • Adjustment to new human and animal family members
  • Housetraining and litter box management
  • Basic training (dogs) using only humane, positive-reinforcement methods
  • Problem behavior management (if significant problems are identified, a behavior problem consultation will be needed)

Preparing for a New Baby

A baby changes everything, for your dog or cat as well as for you. Even before the new baby arrives, there are likely to be significant changes in your pet's environment - and in the owners' stress level (this may be "good" stress, but it can be just as challenging for the family dog or cat). A "Preparing for a new baby" consultation is designed to cover all bases prior to the new arrival so that stressors are lessened:

  • Assessment of your pet's individual personality and needs
  • Mapping out a "safe haven" for your pet so that you have an easy way to separate him or her when necessary
  • Training to accept and enjoy the safe haven
  • Use of baby gates
  • Safety issues and discussion of dog-child (or cat-child) interactions for all ages from newborn to teen years
  • Schedule adjustment assistance

Combining Pet Households

When one animal lover moves in with another, the result might be inharmonious for the animals themselves. Cats or dogs who, in their previous environments, led uneventful lives and were accustomed to a familiar routine are now placed in a new and sometimes frightening place with animals they don't yet trust. Problem prevention appointments include:

  • Behavioral assessment of resident dogs or cats in each family, to identify sensitivities and risks
  • Assessment of the new home environment and help with identification of "safe havens" for individual animals
  • Litter box management
  • Help with separation, desensitization and counterconditioning plans if needed
  • Preventive safety strategies for both people and animals

Children and Dogs: Building Friendship and Minimizing Risk

Any dog can bite, and children (and parents) are often unaware that many activities might be threatening or provocative to dogs. A successful child-dog relationship is most likely when children are confident of how to interact with dogs, and when dogs learn that children are associated with good things. Problem prevention appointments are designed to intervene before problems develop, and include:

  • Assessment of the dog's behavior and temperament (from history and observation)
  • Individual attention to the family's needs and possible limitations
  • Help with basic behavior modification, including teaching the child or teen how to train safely and humanely
  • Management of the dog's behavior in busy households and schedules

Non-profit rescue organizations, foster homes and shelters are eligible for a 20% discount (tax ID # required).