Behavioural Services

I offer the following services:

Clinical behaviour consultations under veterinary referral
Behaviour assessments
Welfare assessments
Expert witness
Supervision/mentoring for new consultants

What happens at a behaviour consultation?

Unlike vets or doctors, animal behaviour work is not regulated by law and this can make it very difficult for horse or dog owners to know who to choose.  It’s essential to ensure that your adviser will not make matters worse by using unsuitable or unsafe methods, or even techniques that will cause your animal pain or fear.  The Animal Behaviour and Training Council is the only regulatory body working closely with the UK Government to rectify these risks and it sets and maintains the standards of knowledge and practical skills needed to work in the animal behaviour industry.  By making sure that you work with a Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist such as me, you can be assured that you are being advised by one of the UK’s most qualified and experienced behaviourists.

Horse owners: it’s not every day that a behaviourist turns up to help you with any problems you might be having with your horse, so here is some information about what to expect when I visit you.  Firstly, I’m very easy to talk to!  I understand that it can be difficult for you to seek help from a specialist, when we’re all supposed to be expert horse people; and I know I’m never the first person on an owner’s list of “who to call when things go wrong” – you’ve probably asked your instructor, your farrier, your vet, and no doubt you’ve had all sorts of advice from other people on your yard, whether you asked for it or not!  So, whilst my assessments and vet reports are based on good scientific evidence about equine behaviour and ethology, when I am with you and your horse my primary focus is to support both of you in helping you through the problems you’re having, so that when I leave the yard you will have some immediate and positive changes you can make for the better.

Dog owners: following a referral from your vet and receipt of your completed questionnaire, I will come to your home to visit you and your dog, first visits will usually last around two hours.  I will assess the factors contributing to your dog’s behaviour and prepare directed treatment plans which may include changes to your dog’s routine or management, and step-by-step behaviour modification and retraining programmes.  I will explain my recommendations to you and I will follow this up with a written report explaining your dog’s behaviour and the treatment plan I have recommended.  A copy is also sent to your vet for their records.

Before the visit

When you phone me to request a consultation I will take basic details from you together with a brief description of the problem.  I consult on behavioural problems only, not physical or medical issues, and I always work under veterinary referral from your registered veterinary surgeon so that if we do suspect an underlying medical issue we can refer back to your vet.

I will send you a questionnaire to complete and return, where you can give more details about the behaviour problem and your animal’s management and history.

I will obtain a formal referral from your veterinary surgeon; this will advise me of any physical or medical conditions that I need to be aware of.  The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 lays responsibility with vets for the diagnostic health and welfare of animals registered in their care.

Rusty and me by Fiona 023

During the visit

My first consultation visit to you will usually take around two hours and we’ll talk through these areas:

  • daily/weekly routine
  • turnout, stabling and exercise regimes (horses)
  • daily routines at home and on walks (dogs)
  • medical considerations as advised by the veterinary surgeon
  • description of behavioural problems
  • ownership history (this usually applies to horses but can apply to rehomed dogs too)

I will:

  • make an assessment of the behavioural problem and explain to you why it is occurring
  • discuss options that will work for you in your situation
  • work with you to develop a personalised retraining plan that you will be able to carry out to help resolve the problem
  • coach you in how to apply my recommendations correctly

After my visit

I will:

  • write to you summarising my assessment and enclosing a written action plan and advice sheets
  • write to your vet with my findings, assessment and recommendations

The treatment plan I develop for you will be based on appropriate psychological techniques to establish the behaviour you want.  They are scientifically validated and effective.  I will not ask you to make any changes that you feel uncomfortable with.  If you follow my recommendations you will see the positive changes you want in your horse’s or dog’s behaviour, and I will give you ongoing telephone and/or e-mail support while you are working through your retraining plan.

Accompanied dog walks are always available to help you along with your progress, and can be any number to suit your needs. Group training walks can be arranged too if you have dog walking friends who you regularly meet up with.

Fees and services

Insurance: My professional qualifications and accreditations mean that your insurance policy should cover my professional fees, but you should check this with your insurer first.

Full behaviour consultation under referral from your consulting veterinary surgeon:
visit to your premises or home (typically 2 hours)
full assessment of your horse or dog’s history and management and training regimes
behavioural diagnosis and advice
detailed treatment plan provided by email or post as you prefer
one x one hour follow up visit
3 months’ scheduled follow-up by phone, Skype or email.  £250.

Additional follow up visits to support you in the implementation of your behaviour modification plan. £30/30 mins, £50/1 hour.

Accompanied training walks for dogs: individual £25/45 minutes; groups £50/hour for up to 4 dogs

Training/Centered Riding coaching sessions £35 per 45 minute session.

Other consultancy services e.g. expert witness, lecturing, speaking engagements: please contact me to discuss.

Supervision/mentoring for new consultants: please contact me to discuss.

Travel expenses are charged at 40p/mile after the first 40 miles from SK9.

Sanctuaries and welfare organisations, please contact for details of reduced price or pro bono consultations.

2 thoughts on “Behavioural Services

  1. Good afternoon,

    I am looking at taking my dog, a 2 year old female cockapoo, into the school where I am the head. The insurance quotations that I have received stipulate that they must see a certificate or testimonial from a dog behaviourist.

    Is this something that you would be able to help us with? I live in Poulton-le-Fylde so am not too far you in Wilmslow.

    Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Brendan Hassett
    Head
    Carter’s Charity Primary School, Preesall.

    • Hello Brendan,
      Thank you for your enquiry.
      I will consider doing this, subject to your insurance company’s expectations, living animals having that inherent characteristic of unpredictability. Assessments such as these always carry an element of risk analysis and any assurance I can give will be contingent upon conditions being met.
      Please could you email me at info@animalbehaviourclinics.com and I will be pleased to send you my full conditions and prices.
      Best wishes,
      Debbie Busby

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