Behavior Expertise Can Generate Revenue

A new AAVSB-approved program allows for veterinarians, technicians and assistants to address dog behavior personally.

It’s not uncommon for clients to ask a veterinarian about their dogs’ behavior. While most veterinarians refer their clients to trainers, a new AAVSB-approved continuing education program developed by a canine behavior specialist and author of “Good Dog!” means veterinarians, technicians and assistants can address the behavior themselves, possibly increasing overhead at the same time. 

“The ASPCA reports that 42 percent of dogs acquired in the U.S. annually are surrendered in the first year of life because of behavior,” says the behaviorist, Donna Chandler. “If veterinarians take behavior training into their clinics, not only will the dog remain in the family, but the veterinarian will keep the client.

“No one has to lose if there is someone on the staff who can help.”

Jeanette Raikos, DVM, of VCA West 86th Street Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind., notes that relinquishment is a big problem.

“So we are pre-emptive,” she says. “If we have a first-time dog owner, we’ll help them start out right so they don’t have a problem down the line. We have Donna come in and conduct classes here, and then she follows up with the patients at home.

“Having someone on staff who can help with behavior is definitely an added value to our clients. And the owner maintains that pet for a lifetime.”  

Chandler’s class and seminar provides the training to teach basic principles of canine training and behavior modification. It is approved for eight hours of continuing education by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Veterinarians are approved by their state.

Chandler says a veterinarian’s bottom line can increase by $75,000 to $250,000 a year, depending upon the practice, by offering behavior training. Veterinary technicians and assistants trained in animal behavior become more valuable employees.  

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