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 Animal Behavior Network Terms  |  Behavior Modification Terminology                    

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PUPSICLE - is a toy stuffed with frozen canned pet food with a "tasty fuse" to get pets started

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 Behavior Cases  Commonly Used Terms

Primary Concern - The behavior observed by the pet parent designated as the most important concern.

Secondary Concerns - Behavior s observed by the owners that they wish  modified occurring during the same time period as the primary concern

Detailed Concern History - A predetermined set of online questions presented to the pet parent for the purpose of determining one or more behavioral profiles.

Behavioral Profile - A behavioral finding or diagnosis determined by a veterinary behavior consultant intended to explain a motivation for an unwanted pet behavior. A pet behavior may have multiple profiles and multiple profiles may be applied to one pet behavior.

Extinction Burst -- When a pet has learned a behavior and been rewarded for that behavior in the past, and then that behavior no longer works (produces the expected effect or outcome), the pet often intensifies the behavior in an effort to get the expected result.  We call this an extinction burst.  Be prepared for behaviors to get worse before they get better.

Triggers -- are anything you can identify that causes the pet to show unwanted behaviors.  Use the behavioral diary for quick notes on how the pet is responding to each step of this behavior modification program.  All episodes of unwanted behavior should be noted. 

Markers -- pets tell us with their body language how they are reacting or responding to a "Trigger". For example, when the dog sees a cat, it's eyes dilate, lip curls up, teeth are bared, ears come forward, fur on the back and tail goes up - all signs of impending aggression. You will learn how to better identify anxiety, agitation, aggression, relaxation, contentment by reading the pets body language

Mass Effect --  To help you get faster results, a key strategy in the pet's behavioral treatment plan is to "throw the book" at the problem and cover all possible bases that may help to improve the behavior. This includes using medications with behavior modification plus manipulating the environment. 

Plateau Stage
-- The "Plateau" stage or phase is when ALL strategies have been implemented for enough time to achieve a "successful outcome." The Plateau Stage is not completed until the pet has shown no signs of the problem behavior for double the amount of time that occurred between episodes prior to treatment. It's important to CONTINUE the "mass effect"' after the problem is under control to MAINTAIN progress and evaluate any possibility of relapse before changing any of the treatment variables. THEN, the pet parent may choose one thing to remove at a time (limited variables) to see if progress can be maintained.

The Duration of this plateau period is determined by the original frequency of the problem, and the difficulty in achieving the successful outcome.

Successful Outcome -- is defined differently for each case, based on the Pet Behavior History Analysis.  It is up to the pet owners and Veterinary Behavior Consultants to define what is acceptable.  The higher the bar for the definition, the lower the % prognosis.  If the client's expectations are not reasonable, then Case Supervision of a behavioral treatment plan may not be offered.

For example -  in Feline Housesoiling, if the beginning frequency is 2-3x per day, then the "Successful Outcome" might be defined as, "No more than 3 episodes per month averaged over 3 or more months". This might carry a 80% prognosis whereas "1 accident per month or less," might have a 40% prognosis and,  "No further accidents" during the behavioral treatment period becomes grounds to not accept the case due to unrealistic expectations.

...::::::: Copyright 2000-2009 Rolan Tripp, DVM :::::::...