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Managing Behavior

​At the Oak Bay Pet Clinic, our dog behaviour expert is pleased to offer a full range of behaviour consultations and evaluations for dogs and cats. Whether you are a new pet owner having difficulty, or perhaps you are struggling with a particular area of concern, Dr. Eva Dudzic has been an expert in animal behaviour for 25 years. Dr. Dudzic is currently in training to become a board certified veterinary specialist in animal behavior and a resident of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is under the mentorship of board certified veterinary behavior specialist Dr. Sagi Denenberg of Toronto, Canada.  


The initial consultation focuses on diagnosis and assessment, followed by a diagnosis and treatment plan. History-gathering is a major component of behavioural therapy because of the complexity of potential causes. Considering current environmental triggers, using behavioural modification techniques to unlearn acquired behaviours is stressed. Medication is used only when necessary, in extreme cases, and at the behaviour expert’s discretion. Dr. Dudzic is also happy to work alongside outside trainers once the initial diagnosis and severity have been established.



Why Do a Behavior Consultation?


If you feel that your relationship with your cat or dog is suffering because of symptoms they are displaying, or you feel that you cannot live a relaxed, normal life with your pet, then your pet could use an expert in animal behaviour in Victoria, BC.

Many dogs do not have inappropriate or problematic behaviour and can truly benefit from something as simple as good obedience classes. However, behavioural problems in cats and dogs are among the leading causes of pet abandonment in North America. "Problem" behaviours can be a symptom of deeper anxiety and inner turmoil in our pets. If small problems are not addressed early by a dog behaviour expert or are addressed poorly, they can develop into lifelong, severe and very serious behavioural tendencies, which can prove life-threatening. The longer an inappropriate behaviour persists untreated, the longer and harder it will take to solve it.

An expert in animal behaviour trained in providing behavioural consultations and assessments can be highly effective in addition to a good trainer. A veterinarian can distinguish whether behaviours have a medical or anxiety component or whether they are simply poorly learned tendencies. A behaviour problem is much different than a problem behaviour.   Figuring out the difference, whether there is an undelying medical cause is imperative.


Behavioral assessment vary between 1-2 hours on the initial consult, followed by 30 minute assessments one and two months later.  A questionnaire is necessary to be filled out prior to the consultation to assist in history taking.  All consults will be reviewed by an accredited veterinary behavior specialits, Dr. Denenberg from Toronto, following consultation with Dr. Dudzic.   



We Help Your Pets Relax


During her years at veterinary school, Dr. Dudzic was one of only two graduates that was given the opportunity to travel to the Ontario Veterinary College to complete an externship with Dr. Leuscher, a board-certified veterinary specialist. She has completed two intensive training modules at the Veterinary Post Graduate Institute in Florida with Dr. Karen Overral, Dr. Kersti Seksel, Dr. Jacqui Nielsen, and Dr. Vint Virga. Eva has also studied behavioral issues in Australia with Dr. Seksel, all of whom are board cerified with the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and specialist in the field. 


When To Consider Behavioral Consultations



You should consider a behavioral consultation if your CAT is:


  • Biting or attacking feet or hands

  • Stalking people or other cats

  • Fighting with other cats

  • Soiling inappropriately



You should consider a behavioral consultation if your DOG is:


  • Incessantly barking at strangers

  • Running and charging at strangers

  • Growling at strangers

  • Charging and/or growling at other dogs

  • Growling when food or toys are taken away

  • Hyper-excitable

  • Biting people or other dogs

  • Chasing cats, farm animals or wildlife followed by a propensity to hurt or kill them



What is the Difference Between Behavior Consultation and Training?



Although more trainers are adapting their systems to use positive reward structures, some are still based on punishing systems, with the main goal being to produce a well-behaved dog quickly.


Behavior assessment and modification focuses on minimizing the anxiety and conflict that lead to problematic behavior, and replacing the behavior problems with positive responses. The focus is thus to distract dogs and cats from their environmental stresses and to teach them appropriate ways to act. We attempt to alter their environments to minimize the occurrence of an anxiety response, which helps to strengthen your bond with your pet.


Research shows that problems addressed early on have a much better chance of being resolved successfully than do lifelong habits which have already been established. However, it is never too late to help your pet since most behavioral problems can be managed or improved.


In certain cases, medication and/or blood work may be necessary elements of your pet's behavioral assessment. We recommend your pet has a complete physical as well as a comprehensive blood panel prior to a consultation.


A behavioral consultation will provide you with an assessment of your pet's problem and the correct resources and information you will need to help your dog or cat; but it is important to remember that there are no guarantees when dealing with animal behavior. All solutions are up to you. We can provide you with the tools, but it is up to you to put them to good use.


Happy pets make healthy pets.

Horse and goat in a green field looking into the camera
Peaceful friends, Java Dudzic and Adam Dudzic
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