Helping Pet Owners Follow Through With Behavior Intervention

With Guest Chatters, Dr. Susan Kapla CAAB, and Dr. Megan Maxwell CAAB

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Those of us whose work involves trying to change the behavior of pet dogs and cats understand all too quickly that it is the behavior of the pet owner that must change first. In some cases, the owners’ behavior has directly shaped the problem behavior and currently maintains it. In other cases, the owners’ behavior played no role in contributing to the pet’s problem behavior and yet the owner’s behavior is essential to any behavioral intervention. It is almost always the pet owner that defines the problem as such, contacts the veterinarian, animal behaviorist or dog trainer, and pays for services. And when a pet owner does not follow through on a behavior plan, pet behavior professionals are all too aware that the situation is likely to stagnate or deteriorate rapidly.

Luckily for us, humans learn under the same natural laws that nonhuman animals do. We animal behaviorists profess to know a thing or two about how dogs and cats learn, but we have an equally vast knowledge base at our disposal when we consider that we can use similar tactics to influence and reinforce the behavior we want or need to see in a pet owner.

In this CAABChat, Dr. Susan Kapla and Dr. Megan Maxwell will discuss the role that learning and reinforcement can play in determining pet owner compliance with, and adherence to, behavioral intervention plans. By including the pet owner in our plan for behavior change, and deeply considering what variables might be impacting pet owner behavior, we as pet behavior professionals stand a far greater chance of clinical success.


Over 100 people listened in on this Chat and they loved it!  Here’s some of the comments:

“Multiple practical tips on how to improve owners success with training plans.
LOVE the topic. Was very timely for me and I like that it helps both humans and animals.”  Jen C
“Great topic that should be of concern to all of us as we are only as effective as our clients.”  Leslie S.
“Great Chat, very valuable, Tx.”   Suzanne R.

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