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Managing Behavior

At the Oak Bay Pet Clinic, we are pleased to offer a full range of behavior consultations and evaluations. Whether you are a new pet owner having difficulty, or perhaps you are struggling with a particular area of concern, Dr. Eva Dudzic has over 25 years of experience in treating behavior patients.


The focus of the initial consultation is diagnosis and assessment, followed by a diagnosis and treatment plan. History-gathering is a major component of behavioral therapy because of the complexity of potential causes. Looking at current environmental triggers, then using behavioral modification techniques to unlearn acquired behaviors is stressed. Medication is used only when necessary in extreme cases. 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 he/she is displaying, or you feel that you are unable to live a relaxed, normal life with your pet, then your pet would benefit from a behavioral consultation.

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

A veterinarian trained in providing behavioral consultations and assessments can be highly effective in addition to a good trainer. A veterinarian is able to distinguish whether behaviors have a medical or anxiety component, or whether they are simple poorly learned tendencies. A behavior problem is much different than a problem behavior.


Behavioral assessments and consultations from Dr. Dudzic are based on the knowledge of leading veterinary specialists around the world and can prove invaluable in providing the best guidance for your animal companion.



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.


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.

Peaceful friends, Java Dudzic and Adam Dudzic
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