Interview with Feline Behavior Specialist, Dr. Sarah Ellis

While studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Companion Animal Behavior Counselling, Sarah Ellis, discovered that she loved learning about cats. At the same time, she realized that there were so many questions about this “wonderful species” and that she … Continue reading Interview with Feline Behavior Specialist, Dr. Sarah Ellis

Reduce Cat Aggression with a Healthy Cat Environment

When I’m consulted about cat aggression, I first turn to the Five Pillars of a Healthy Feline Environment, which were developed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners and International Society of Feline Medicine. The groups wrote in the 2013 issue of the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery that “a cat’s level of comfort with its environment is intrinsically linked to its physical health, emotional wellbeing and behavior.” For this reason, they contend that “addressing environmental needs is essential for the optimum wellbeing of the cat.” The five pillars are: provide a safe place provide multiple and key separated … Continue reading Reduce Cat Aggression with a Healthy Cat Environment

Enriching the Lives of Dogs and Cats

I’m in the process of becoming certified by the International Association of Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and taking a course called Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice. The setup of the course consists of teaching videos by animal experts, instructional handouts, a weekly online mentoring session with the teacher and all students, weekly quizzes, and a major assignment. Each week I’ll share highlights here from my studies. Jumping back to the eighth week of my Principles and Practices course, animal welfare science was the focus. The module consisted of a definition of animal welfare science and then an exploration of enrichment … Continue reading Enriching the Lives of Dogs and Cats

Using Classical Conditioning in Train Pets

As part of pursuing certification through the International Association of Behavior Consultants, I am taking a course called Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice. The setup of the course consists of teaching videos by animal experts, instructional handouts, a weekly online mentoring session with the teacher and all students, weekly quizzes, and a major assignment. I plan to share highlights here each week from my studies. Sometimes to bring about change, an animal behavior consultant needs to focus on changing an animal’s emotional response to a situation rather than to an environmental condition.  In the eleventh week of my Principles … Continue reading Using Classical Conditioning in Train Pets

Counter-Surfing and Cats: A Behavior Plan

I’m in the process of becoming certified by the International Association of Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and taking a course called Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice. The setup of the course consists of teaching videos by animal experts, instructional handouts, a weekly online mentoring session with the teacher and all students, weekly quizzes, and a major assignment. Each week I’ll share highlights here from my studies. For my Principles and Practices course, I had to develop a Functional Assessment Intervention Design. According to Susan Friedman, a psychology professor who pioneered the application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to companion animals, … Continue reading Counter-Surfing and Cats: A Behavior Plan