N. Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic

99 Henderson Ave
Thornhill, ON L3T 2K9

(905)881-2922

www.northtorontovets.com

Behaviour Services

Our clinic provides behaviour consultations with Drs. Denenberg and Landsberg who are presently the only two board-certified veterinary behaviourists practicing in Ontario.  We require that our history questionnaires which can be found below be completed by both you and your veterinarian and returned at least FOUR days before your consultation.  These questionnaires provide us with much of the background information we may require to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.  Completed questionnaires can be emailed to us at northtorontovets@gmail.com.  Please note that we require a credit card to hold an appointment time. If you cancel at least seven (7) days before your scheduled appointment, you will not be charged. If you cancel less than seven days before you appointment, a $300 fee may apply.  Last minute cancellation, or a "no show" will be charged a full consult fee. 

Although space is somewhat limited, we suggest that you attend the consultation with your pet and up to 3 additional people that might be involved in the management and behaviour modification program (e.g. other family members, or trainers).  We ask that you bring videotape, recordings or pictures of the problem and your environment if available.  Please do not capture videos when there is a risk to you, your pet, or other people and pets.  Please do not feed your pet on the day of the consultation, and bring along your pet's favoured treats.

What is the fee for a behaviour consultation?

Our fees are based on the type and duration of the consult.  All our fees are subjected to HST.  The types of consultation we offer are initial consultations, follow up consultations, telephone consultations (with referring vets only), risk assessment consultations, legal consultations, pre-purchase consultations, and end of life decisions consultations.  Our consultations include up to two months of telephone and email support for minor adjustments or modifications. 

As per the regulations of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, our prices are not available through our website.  Call 905-881-2752 or email us at northtorontovets@gmail.com if you would like a quotation.

What services do you offer?

  • Canine behaviour problems: we offer management for problems such as fear and anxiety, noise phobias, separation distress, sleep disorders, house-soiling, repetitive and compulsive disorders, and aggression.
  • Feline behaviour problems: we offer management for problems such as house-soiling, urine marking, aggression, fearful behaviour (avoidance), eating disorders (such as excessive sucking or chewing) and repetitive or compulsive behaviours.
  • New Introductions: these consultations include bringing home baby, introducing pets to other pets, and moving.  This consultation is approximately 60 minutes and will help you with the transition and preparation or prevention of potential problems.
  • New pet consultations: if you are obtaining a puppy or kitten or are a first-time pet owner, we offer a "new pet" consultation of approximately 60 minutes.  We provide you with behavioural guidance on problem prevention, setting up to succeed, reward-based training and how to deal with emerging problems such as house-soiling, destruction, stealing, and play biting.  If you are considering obtaining a new dog, we offer a 60 minutes selection consultation to help you choose a pet that is appropriate for your needs (breed, age, sex, source) as well as advice on preventing and dealing with common behaviour problems.  We ask that you narrow your choice to up to 5 breeds before the visit.
  • Senior pet behaviour problems: a variety of behaviour problems may begin to emerge as your pet reaches its senior or geriatric years.  Common signs range from decreased awareness and disorientation to repetitive activities, anxiety and night waking.  Assessment, diagnostic and treatment advice for these cases generally takes 60 minutes.
  • Life-ending decisions: it is sometimes difficult to know if this is the time to say goodbye to our friends.  If you are not sure about your pet's quality of life, and what to do we may be able to offer advice.  Having a professional and objective view of your situation may help. 

What is a behaviour consultation and how might it help my pet’s problem?

There are four components to a behaviour consultation:

Diagnosis: to explain why your pet might be exhibiting his or her problem(s), we must first determine the cause as well as any factors that might be reinforcing or aggravating the situation.  Our diagnosis will be based on the information you provide in your questionnaire, the information you provide at the visit, and observation of your pet’s behaviour at our clinic.  We also advise that whenever possible, that you collect a videotape or recording of the problem so that we can best assess the pet's actions as well as your interactions.  If there is the possibility of an underlying medical problem, additional diagnostic tests may be recommended.

Risk assessment: the next step is to determine the different risks involved in each case.  These risks exist not only in cases of aggression but in many other cases.  These risks include risk for the pet, you, and other people and animals.  We also try determining the risk of implementing different steps of the management plan or leaving the situation as it is.  Unfortunately, many pets are euthanised or relinquished due to behaviour problems.  We consider this factor in our risk assessment.

Treatment plan: next, we will help you to implement a treatment program that is suited to your pet and your household.  Often by achieving a better understanding of canine and feline behaviour, and how pets learn, you will be able to understand better how to manage the problem.  A treatment program generally involves behaviour modification techniques based primarily on positive reinforcement and shaping (i.e. what to do and what not to do) and environmental management (i.e. adjustments to your environment to better manage the situation).  We might also suggest the use of products such as a head halter, body harness or clicker to help modify your pet’s behaviour, or in some cases medications, pheromones, or other natural products.  Following your appointment, we will provide you and your veterinarian with a complete behavioural and environmental management program. 

Follow-up: the final aspect of the consultation is the follow-up on the case so that we help to guide you through the program and monitor the pet’s response.  Email support for minor adjustments or modifications to the initial program will also be available for the first two months following your visit.  If a follow-up in-person visit is required, we will schedule a 50-minute follow-up visit.  Our staff can also meet with you and provide you with hands-on help to implement training and behaviour modification.  If you are working with a trainer to assist and guide you in the implementation of the program, we can help guide you in the selection of an appropriate trainer and, with your permission, will communicate our findings and suggestions.

It is impractical for me to travel to your clinic. Can I schedule a telephone consultation? 

Telephone consultations are not available, as you must attend our office in person with your pet to establish a legal, veterinary-client relationship and to be able to assess your pet and the problem fully.

Therefore, our options are to see you and your pet in person or to schedule a consultation with your veterinarian, who can then discuss with you our suggestions and findings.  For telephone consultations, we ask that you complete our questionnaire and that it be submitted to us by your veterinarian, along with the medical history.

What is a veterinary psychiatrist?

There can be major differences in the background, training and expertise of those providing behavioural advice.  The veterinary psychiatrist/behaviourist must first be a graduate of an accredited veterinary college.  A veterinary degree ensures a comprehensive background in anatomy, neurology, physiology, medicine, and pharmacology, as well as the type of medical problems that might affect the behaviour of the pet.  The veterinary psychiatrist must also receive training in normal species-typical behaviour, comparative animal behaviour, the principles of learning and behaviour modification, abnormal behaviour, psychopharmacology and the effects of disease on behaviour, and must work for at least three years seeing cases under the mentorship of a board-certified behaviourist.  Publications, presentations to other veterinarians, case histories and a four-part examination are all then required to achieve board certification (see www.dacvb.org and www.ecawbm.com for details).  In short, the veterinary psychiatrist has a unique combination of education and training, clinical expertise and medical knowledge to be able to diagnose and design a treatment program for your pet’s behaviour problem.

Behaviour questionnaires - to be returned at least FOUR days before your visit

Please download a copy of our canine or feline forms from the links below and return them by email to our clinic so that they arrive at least FOUR business days before your appointment.  These forms have been designed to be filled out on your computer and emailed to northtorontovets@gmail.com.  Please contact us at 905-881-2752 or by email at northtorontovets@gmail.com if you would like to schedule an appointment.