Private Vet Behaviour Consultations Also available via online platforms such as Zoom and Skype!
The bond between pet and owner is like no other. They are there for us unconditionally as we are for them. For this reason it can be extremely difficult, frustrating or even upsetting to have a pet with a behavioural problem; especially when you don't know the cause or what you can do to help them.!
At Calm Companions we understand implicitly this relationship and the strain that problem behaviours can have on it. Therefore we strive to help people and their pets to understand each other better so they can see why their pet does what they do and help them to learn more desirable ways of communicating their needs to us.
Due to everyone's situation being unique, we find the best way to help you and your pet is through a one-on-one behaviour consultation, that way we can fully understand the challenges you are facing and create a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs, taking into account your individual lifestyle and requirements.
Whether you have a dog, cat, horse or bird, We would love to help you and your pet understand each other better and to support you to manage the behaviour challenges you are facing.
So how does it work?: Firstly, a qualified Behavioural Trainer will come to your home and discuss with you the challenging behaviours you are seeing. As well as observe the animal in their home environment and provide you with insight as to the likely cause.
Following this, the behavioural trainer will do one of two things. If the problem behaviour is such that training and management alone will be sufficient, they will create a tailored Behaviour Modification plan and organise subsequent session(s)with you in order to go through the training plan and help you to implement it step by step. Following each session you will be sent a report, outlining everything covered and what to focus on at that particular stage of the training plan.
If the trainer believes that the behaviour challenge is likely caused by a physical or mental health concern, they will refer you to our Behavioural Vet Dr Nela Graham who will then see you and your pet at our behaviour clinic (Please note, all aggression cases will require a Behavioural Vet Consultation). Throughout this consultation Dr Nela will ask further questions and observe the pet's body language in the safe and comfortable, yet unfamiliar environment of the clinic. Based on this, along with the information from the trainer's consultation she will then make a diagnosis and discuss with you a treatment plan to help your pet in whatever way(s) required. You will also receive a detailed report outlining the diagnosis and full treatment plan.
At Calm Companions, we believe it is absolutely imperative to empower owners with the skills and knowledge to truly understand their pet. We will teach you all the skills and strategies needed and offer continued help and support so you feel confident in you own abilities to create and keep a happy, calm companion.
No problem is too big or too small, If it worries you, just give us a call!
Please see our FAQ page for detailed information on how an individual consultation can help you and your pet.
Dr Kersti Seksel: Veterinary Behaviour Specialist - Intro to Behaviour Problems video
The Story of “Bella”
Bella, a nine-year-old Shih Tzu, came to live with Megan, her husband and their Miniature Fox Terrier Byron, as a four-year-old. She had been a “Black Tag” dog at the RSPCA shelter, meaning she had experienced abuse or neglect before being rescued. Bella was quite anxious, but had a lovely nature. She settled in happily with Megan and became very attached to Byron.
After four years together Byron, then aged 14, passed away. His passing triggered an increase in Bella’s anxiety and she developed significant separation issues.
She would follow Megan around all day and would not settle at night. She would insist on sleeping in Megan’s bedroom. If Megan left the house Bella would become very distressed, running about the house bellowing and squealing.
Megan and Bella have been working with Dr Nela and Ziggy, a professional dog trainer, using a combination of medication and behaviour training to help Bella become more calm and settled. Bella is now able to sleep at night in a crate in another room. She still has a way to go but they are making progress. Megan said “We are working hard together; Nela has a heart of gold and is so passionate about the animals she works with”.
The Story of "Bubbles"
Bubbles the seven-year-old Shar-Pei lives with Carly and her two young daughters. Bubbles had always been an anxious dog, fearful of many things including separation and storms. She would cry every night and whenever Carly went to work; making such as noise that neighbours complained repeatedly, and Carly received letters from the council threatening eviction. Bubbles would also destroy things around the house, even ripping up vinyl floors in her distress. She was antisocial and aggressive with people she did not know.
For Carly though the real concern began when her oldest daughter Maddie began to walk and Bubbles began to growl at her. Concerned that Bubbles may be aggressive, Carly decided to seek help to manage Bubbles. Carly tried a number of vets but found they were not interested in helping her manage her dog’s behaviour and anxiety.
When Carly moved to a new area she began to see Nela and found that she was both passionate about dog behaviour and also very thorough in her approach. They have worked together to find an effective medication for Bubbles to reduce her anxiety as well as stimulation and enrichment strategies to help her manage better when she is left alone. They have developed a safe place whereBubbles can retreat when she needs to and strategies for managing tasks such as cleaning her ears and cutting her nails safely. Carly said “everyone comments on how much calmer she is and she is now good with the children”.
Carly said “After trying many vets Nela was like a breath of fresh air. She was understanding, thorough, flexible, informative and supportive. Bubbles does not like vet surgeries and Nela has the flexibility to meet me at her home, or in the local park where Bubbles is more relaxed. She goes through every aspect of care and gives very detailed reports and strategies. She goes out of her way to help, even giving phone support out of hours. She is passionate about dogs and I felt that she genuinely liked my dog. Nela's help and support has meant that Bubbles is so much calmer and easier to manage. I now don't feel so worried walking out the door as I know she will be happy and settled at home.”
The Story of "Polly" and "Lana"
Polly the rescue greyhound was adopted by Denise. She was a lovely, easy going dog and so after six months, Denise decided to adopt another rescue greyhound, Lana. Lana had a very different personality and the two dogs began to be difficult to manage.
Issues would begin with Polly getting over excited. Lana, being quite anxious would react to Polly in a way that would sometime result in Polly biting and Lana having tears in her skin. There were often issues when people passed Denise’s yard. Lana would become anxious and bark and this would result in the dog’s biting at each other. Denise sought help from Nela to calm Lana’s anxious behaviour and so reduce Polly’s reactions to her.
Nela helped Denise with practical strategies such as a screen near the fence to reduce the barking behaviour and Denise now also feeds the dogs separately and which allows each dog to be more comfortable when eating. Nela taught Denise how to use commands to quieten the dogs and bring them inside when the barking and excited behaviour began, before it escalated.
Lana is now also on anti-anxiety medication with a plan to gradually wean her of this over the next 12 months. Denise has found that this has helped Lana to be calmer and more relaxed, without changing her personality. She continues to be a happy, active dog but her actions and emotions are not so excessive. Lana and Polly have not had any aggressive incidents in the last six months and the barking behaviour has reduced significantly.
Denise reported “Nela is lovely. She came to our house and saw our dogs in their own environment. She picked up lots from watching their body language and taught me about concepts about how a dog fits into a home and the impact of different personalities. I would also recommend Nela's puppy school for new pet owners to help them be aware of what individual dogs need. Nela carefully manages every aspect so that puppies receive positive experiences of interacting with other dogs at that vital early stage. I would definitely recommend her”.