Dr. Ward specializes in consultations dealing with a wide variety of behavioral issues including (but not limited to):
- Aggression (human and dog-directed)
- Fears and Phobias
- Generalized Anxiety
- Separation Anxiety
- Inappropriate Elimination
- Excessive Vocalization
- Unruly Behaviors (jumping on people, mouthing hands, pulling on leash)
- Destructive and Escape Behavior
- Compulsive Behaviors (e.g., spinning, shadow or tail chasing, etc.)
A primary reason that people relinquish their dogs to shelters is because of behavioral issues, many of which can be greatly improved or eliminated through management and behavioral modification. Dr. Ward works very closely with her clients and provides one-on-one support and coaching along every step of the way. If you have a dog exhibiting behavioral problems, it’s best to seek treatment early on before your dog has the opportunity to practice unwanted behaviors over and over again. Long-lasting problem behaviors can be more challenging to treat, although not impossible.
The Initial Behavioral Evaluation Appointment
Please follow the steps below to schedule an initial appointment for your dog.
1) Contact Dr. Ward to set up an appointment for a behavioral evaluation*
If you feel like your dog may benefit from a behavioral consultation, email Dr. Ward at [email protected] with a brief description of your dog(s) and the behaviors of concern. A bulleted list, where appropriate, works well. Please include your home location. In most cases, the appointment takes place in your home. The advantage to a home-based appointment is that Dr. Ward can assess the problem behavior where it often occurs and suggest corrective measures based on the dog’s living environment. However, if you live out of town, Dr. Ward can set up an appointment with you at a veterinary clinic in Ann Arbor, and in some cases, she offers remote (telephone/Zoom) consultation services. It’s best if all adult family members are present for the appointment.
After emailing, you’ll get an email from Dr. Ward with an online link for scheduling an appointment as well as costing information.
*Note: You can also call to set up an appointment, but online contact is preferable where possible.
2) Schedule the Appointment
Dr. Ward will provide you with an online link for scheduling an appointment for checking appointment availability and scheduling for a behavioral appointment.
Please note that once you confirm an appointment, a cancellation fee will apply for appointments cancelled/rescheduled within two weeks of your dog’s appointment. Dr. Ward believes that every dog deserves the benefit of a thorough and comprehensive evaluation. As a result, Dr. Ward spends a significant amount of time in advance of your pet’s appointment performing a detailed review of your dog(s) completed Behavioral History Form (see below) so that she can spend more time during the assessment working through possible treatments and solutions.
3) Complete a Behavioral History Form on your dog
Once you schedule an appointment, you receive an email with a link to fill out a Behavioral History Form on your dog. **This form must be received by About Dogs at least 3 business days prior to your scheduled appointment.**
The Behavioral History Form is also available below:
- CANINE BEHAVIORAL HISTORY FORM: Fill out and submit online
- CANINE BEHAVIORAL HISTORY FORM: Download, fill out and email to About Dogs
It can be helpful if you are able to safely videotape your dog engaged in the problem behavior(s) prior to the appointment. Please do not set up a situation where your dog is likely to act out aggressively.
4) Other Important Pre-Appointment Paperwork
Download the form WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A BEHAVIORAL CONSULTATION AND HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE APPOINTMENT. It provides information on preparing for the appointment as well as what to expect during and after the appointment.
5) The Appointment
The Initial Evaluation Appointment lasts approximately 2.0 hours. During that time, Dr. Ward will review your dog’s behavioral history with you, get complete details concerning your dog’s behavioral issues, evaluate your dog, and discuss realistic goals and expectations for treatment. This is an essential first step for designing an individualized treatment plan to manage and/or modify your dog’s behavior. Dr. Ward will discuss and demonstrate behavioral modification techniques where appropriate and assign homework to get you started working with your dog. You’ll also receive handouts, an electronic copy of Dr. Ward’s book Relationship Training for a Well-Behaved Dog, and a written treatment plan (emailed to you within one week of the appointment).
In almost all cases, Dr. Ward recommends follow-up appointments past the initial behavioral evaluation appointment to assess progress and modify exercises and recommendations based on how your dog is responding to the treatment plan. Follow-up appointments are 60-90 minutes and are typically scheduled between 2-8 weeks after the initial appointment. However, depending the nature of your dog’s issues or if a significant amount of time has passed since the last appointment, a longer follow-up appointment may be recommended. The number of follow-up appointments past the initial behavioral evaluation appointment will vary depending on the nature of the problem and the progress that you and your dog make. It’s important to do the assigned homework in between sessions, which can take as little as 30 minutes daily, because follow-up appointments build upon each other.
Please fill out and return a Progress Report Form at least 3 days prior to each follow-up appointment. The Progress Report allows Dr. Ward to assess your dog’s progress since the last appointment and make adjustments to the treatment plan according to your feedback. You’ll be emailed an online version of the Progress Report to fill out 1 week prior to the appointment. The Progress Report Form is available here in two formats:
- PROGRESS REPORT FORM: Fill out and submit online
- PROGRESS REPORT FORM: Download, fill out and email or fax to About Dogs.