How to Excel at Behavior Consultations

How to Excel at Behavior Consultations

How to Excel at Behavior Consultations - Vetster

Behavior is a broad field, encompassing more than just management of behavioral disorders, and veterinarians who excel at providing behavior consultations are poised to grow their virtual practice. Today’s clients are looking for reliable information on training and environmental enrichment so they can avoid behavior problems in the first place.  They’re also looking to veterinarians for answers to questions about what to expect from their pet’s behavior during puppy/kitten and senior life stages. Additionally, when behavior problems arise, ongoing communication and veterinary guidance are crucial for successfully managing them.

Be sure to check “Behavior” as one of your areas of interest when completing your Vetster profile so clients looking for this highly valued service can find you.

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Behavior is an especially good fit for virtual care on Vetster because it:

  • Gives owners and veterinarians the accessibility and convenience they want
  • Reduces stress for pets and their owners
  • Benefits from increased client engagement
  • Is based on a 2-way exchange of information
  • Places a strong emphasis on observations, rather than a hands-on assessment
  • Requires multiple follow-ups and an ongoing relationship
  • Benefits from collaboration and continuity of care

Virtual care eliminates geographical barriers, making behavior consultations more accessible to pet owners regardless of their location. This is especially beneficial for owners living in areas with limited access to behavior and training services.  Since it’s so convenient, pet owners are more likely to seek professional advice, leading to timely interventions and improved outcomes.  Furthermore, virtual care allows for often-lengthy behavior consultations to be scheduled at mutually convenient times for both veterinarians and clients.

Virtual care eliminates the stress of a trip to the clinic.  This is especially important for pets who are predisposed to common behavior problems stemming from anxiety and fear. Owners are often very reluctant to bring pets in need of behavioral care to the clinic because it’s so difficult. When you provide behavior consultations on Vetster, you are able to assess the pet in the comfort of their home. This not only minimizes stress for the animal but also promotes more natural behavior, leading to a more accurate evaluation and facilitating the implementation of appropriate behavioral interventions. Owners also want access to wellness information on training and other behavior topics, but are often unwilling to schedule a trip to the veterinary clinic for only this reason.

The new generation of clients are digital natives who want quick access to the information they need in order to take the best care of their pets possible. Behavior consultations on Vetster provide them with a more convenient way to access professional guidance, even when they just have questions. By making yourself available for virtual consultations, you offer an alternative to an internet search or social media query that has the potential to improve pet well-being.  When clients are engaged by sharing information, videos, and documentation of their observations, this fosters a collaborative relationship. Involved clients experience greater satisfaction and adherence to treatment plans. They’re also more likely to comply with recommendations for follow-up appointments when those are easy to schedule and attend.

Behavior consultations are time consuming, often to the extent that it isn’t always easy to give them the time they deserve or charge appropriately. As a result, it isn’t just the clients with high demand. Brick-and-mortar practitioners are eager for someone to refer behavior cases to.  Whether you’re addressing normal or disordered behavior, these consultations rely heavily on conversations and a two-way exchange of information. Vetster’s virtual space is ideal for this.

While hands-on physical examinations are crucial in veterinary practice, behavior consultations often rely more on observation of the pet.  The ability to observe the pet in its home environment is more important for an accurate assessment, and Vetster provides an ideal medium for capturing this information. Our file sharing features make it easy for owners to upload videos they’ve taken of their pet’s concerning behavior when it happens, in addition to allowing you to observe the pet for the duration of the appointment. This comprehensive view of the pet's behavior allows for accurate assessments and tailored treatment plans.

Pet owners find value in having an ongoing relationship with a veterinarian who is able to provide them with information throughout the lifetime of their pet, and behavior and training are among the most common topics they want to discuss. Your professional, expert perspective on wellness and the role behavior plays in pet well-being is something they see as worth paying for.

Behavior disorders typically do not have a simple cure, instead requiring ongoing management.  Follow-up appointments are critical for monitoring progress and adjusting the plan.  This is even more relevant when you consider that weeks-long trials of medication are common in behavioral pharmacotherapy.

Telehealth provides a convenient means for ongoing communication and evaluation without the need for frequent in-person visits. This promotes relationships and allows for the timely adjustment of treatment plans based on the pet’s progress.  With telehealth, veterinarians can provide consistent support to pet owners and maintain long-term engagement in the behavior modification process.

Behavior and training consultations often require input from multiple professionals, such as veterinarians, behaviorists, and trainers. Telehealth enables you to seamlessly collaborate with these experts, even if they are in different locations. It’s not unusual for board-certified veterinary specialists to conduct the bulk of their practice remotely. Vetster makes it easy for you to share records (with the client’s permission, of course) so you can exchange knowledge with other professionals and collectively develop comprehensive treatment plans. This interdisciplinary approach maximizes the effectiveness of behavior and training interventions and enhances the overall quality of care since geographical barriers no longer limit access to specialized expertise. The end result is a comprehensive support system for pet owners facing challenging situations which may end up helping to save pets’ lives.

This case study submitted by Vetster veterinarian Kathleen Allison-Black demonstrates all of these aspects.

Beauty was a 6 month old puppy whose family made their first Vetster appointment with me when they needed help integrating her into their existing pack. Over a one-year journey I worked with them and their in-person veterinary care team to evaluate all three dogs’ health and behavior, and carry out a treatment plan.

While I could not put my hands on Beauty as her vet could or even establish a VCPR, I had the luxury of giving this family my full attention and working with them in a way that their vet was unable to do in regular practice. Managing behavior problems relies heavily on training the owner how to observe and respond rather than react, and virtually providing general information is a great fit for this type of client education. By the last visit, Beauty’s family had become incredibly savvy about canine body language and behavior. With the tools learned over our visits, they had given all three of their dogs the environment and training to feel secure and less anxious. What had been something scary had become something manageable.

When you provide behavior consultations on Vetster, it’s a win-win for everyone involved: you, the pets, and their people. The convenience and ease of virtual care appointments makes it easy for you to connect with clients who have training and behavior questions, and also facilitates the long-term management of behavior disorders. Increase your level of familiarity and comfort with providing this type of information by attending behavior CE and stay current with training recommendations so you can excel at this highly demanded facet of virtual care. Be sure to add behavior to your areas of interest on your profile so clients looking for this service will be directed to you.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.
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