THE field of behaviour is frequently presented as complicated and labour intensive, involving copious letter-writing and inordinate amounts of time spent in the presence of one particular client. But, says Kendal Shepherd, the same ground rules apply to creating and maintaining appropriate behaviour as a lifestyle for both human and dog as to treating behaviour problems once they have already arisen. Advice regarding these rules should be given in a generic fashion in the same way as advice regarding vaccination, worming, grooming and diet. Managing a client's relationship with their pet in the most fruitful and welfare-oriented way will hugely enhance a client's relationship with the veterinary practice. She suggests that by demonstrating a practical knowledge of learning theory and its impact on emotional and behavioural welfare, practitioners should aim to instruct not merely ‘do as I say’ but ‘do as I do’.
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