Sad Looking Golden Retriever


When your pet has a behavior problem, you and/or your family may experience many emotions including frustration, fear, embarrassment, resentment, anger, and desperation. Your pet is also suffering as he or she may be confused, afraid, anxious, and conflicted. Avery Animal Hospital is sympathetic to your needs and to the needs of your pet, which is why we offer animal behavior consultations.

In our behavior consultations, we insist on consistency and positive reinforcement training, as this teaches quiescence and helps to reduce anxiety in both the owner and the patient. Our goal is to assess the patient and the owner, evaluating situational triggers, teaching owners all they can do to avoid them,
and to equip owners in the behavioral modification techniques that are necessary to instill new and appropriate behavior in the patient.

Several of our doctors and technicians have a special interest in behavior. Dr. Vesper has been an animal behaviorist for 16 years, has attended an intensive study course through Purdue University called DOGS, and regularly receives ongoing additional education regarding canine behavior problems.

How To Get Started With Our Animal Behaviorists

The first step in treating a behavior problem by our hospital involves completing a behavior history form about your family and your pet. Once the history is completed and returned to our hospital, a veterinarian reviews your pet’s history, and a technician contacts you over the phone to schedule your pet’s behavior

The behaviors consultation usually lasts one hour and may include:

  • A behavior assessment that allows the veterinary team to gain insight on how your pet does in everyday situations.
  • Thorough review of your pet’s behavior history.
  • Physical examination to rule out any physical ailments that could be contributing to a behavior problem.
  • Collection of samples for blood work and any other tests that may help to diagnose your pet’s problem.
  • Discussion about your family’s lifestyle and needs.
  • Discussion about realistic expectations for behavior improvement.

After your consultation, the veterinarian will develop a Behavior Modification Plan. You will receive a phone call to schedule an appointment for your Behavior Modification Plan review. During this 60-90-minute appointment, the behavior plan for your pet will be discussed and specific behavior modification techniques will be explained. All household members are encouraged to attend this appointment.

Communication with us is integral to you and your pet’s improvement and we welcome your questions. You will receive follow-up emails 1 week, 3 weeks, 6, 9 and 12 weeks after receiving your plan. These emails include a follow up form to submit back to us, which typically take about 5 minutes to fill out, and will prompt Dr. Vesper to call you with questions as well as gain insight on how you and your pet are doing. The technician will consult with the doctor after each form is received to determine if changes in the behavior plan are necessary

There may be additional charges associated with your pet’s behavior problems including laboratory tests, enrichment toys, educational books, and private or group training classes.

We realize that solving behavior problems can be costly and time consuming. We strive to provide you with the best information and support so that the process can be carried out efficiently and minimize additional charges. Cooperation by you, your pet, and your family offers the best chance for a favorable and timely outcome.

Get Started With Animal Behavior Consultations Today

Please use the link below to complete the behavior history form and submit it to us at least 48 hours before your consultation. If you would like to email the form, use the second link with the PDF file and send it to [email protected]. You can also fax it to us at (614) 876-2555.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us or Make An Appointment today.

Click to access our behavior history forms

*Please check out our new article that was published in Benchmarks 2015. It highlights our behavior program and how we are expanding it to better fit our clients needs!

Client testimonials and success stories:

Jessica and Chance

Chance has been such an amazing member of our family! We feel so lucky to have him in our lives and we know he feels the same! From the beginning, we realized Chance was very cautious of strangers and was timid of new items or environments. As it started to get worse and we began to limit his time with strangers, we knew we needed some more help. At one of Chance’s vet appointments in January, it was clear he was suffering from a lot of anxiety and Dr. Fletcher picked up on his body language and avoided unnecessary stress for Chance. We then made an appointment with Dr. Vesper to receive some guidance and medication management. The staff was amazing throughout the entire process. Gretchen responded to my e-mails promptly and offered behavioral tips and general education on Chance’s anxiety and medications.

She was always there to answer any questions and checked in on Chance’s progress frequently. Then, in May, I was able to have a guest visit for a week with no problems from Chance, something I feared would never be a possibility due to his anxiety!! This was a result of behavioral training, understanding my role in his anxiety, external triggers in the environment and medication management. I would not have been able to help Chance get to this point without their help. We will always have to be aware of Chance’s anxiety and continue our training but I am forever grateful for the jump-start help we received.

Bolt the border collie

Border Collie sitting down

Our family has always had at least one four legged friend living in our home, several times we have opened our home up to two of these furry creatures. We especially love dogs and love them being part of our family. The breed of choice in our family up until July 2013 was always Shetland Sheepdogs or Shelties for short. Our Shelties were always very friendly, loving and easy to live with. In July of 2013 our teenage son begged my husband and I for a puppy. He had his sights set on a Border Collie puppy. Our current resident dog was approaching 16 years old and was definitely in retirement mode. Our son wanted a dog that was active, that he could teach tricks, one that would become his lifelong buddy. In his mind the Border Collie, known for his smarts and active lifestyle, was the perfect choice.

Just a day after the 4th of July, Bolt came to live at our home. Bolt was only 4 ½ months went we brought him to live with us and came from a very reputable breeder. It did not take long for us to realize that along with the characteristics of intelligence and athletic ability came stubborn and strong willed! It wasn’t long before we saw some behaviors that we had not yet seen in other family pets. For one, Bolt hates having his paws wiped clean, bathed, brushed or ever being told he needs to go up to bed and sleep in his cage. Yes! The last one actually made us laugh, could a dog truly understand that he had to go to bed and even more interesting be mad about the idea? Well, as we learned he had that capability. His dislike for certain things caused him to air snap, growl and nip at our family members which obviously raised concern for both my husband and myself. We and especially my son, loved Bolt and wanted him to remain a part of our family. In order to keep harmony in our lives we reached out for help from Dr Vesper and Gretchen at Avery Animal Hospital. Bolt went through a series of lab tests to rule out anything medical. When the tests came back normal, our next step was to attend a meeting with them to discuss Bolt’s behaviors and possible solutions. The session was so helpful because it allowed us to identify triggers and gave our family a better insight into why Bolt reacted the way he did. The very insightful session lasted for over 1 ½ hours and we were given written material to share with those family members who were unable to attend the session. Avery provides follow-up after the initial session. Gretchen does a great job of following up via phone. We have seen improvement in Bolt’s behavior and as a family are more aware of ways to both avoid certain behaviors from occurring and stopping certain behaviors before negative outcomes occur. Dr Vesper and Gretchen gave us the tools that allows Bolt to remain living in our home and coexisting with our family like our other dogs have. We would recommend any family needing help with behavior issues to Dr Vesper and Gretchen and are thankful we made the decision to give it a try.