Clinical Animal Behaviour

Dr Emma Creighton is an animal behaviour consultant who works with owners and their pets to resolve behaviour problems in dogs, cats and horses.

"I have found Emma’s prompt expert advice extremely helpful with challenging and changing the behaviour of my lively and impulsive rescue Sprigador, Sweep. Emma has supported me and Sweep over the past few weeks and taught me how to understand Sweep’s body language and to respond so that he adopts new behaviours. She has helped us to develop our relationship to a point where I feel confident that I can continue to train him to become a well behaved and trusted canine companion.  Heartfelt thanks Emma."

Fran Dryden, Cockermouth.

Emma is a Provisional Member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors – see www.APBC.org.uk. This means she is recognised as having the necessary qualifications to be a clinical animal behaviourists and is now developing her practical expertise to qualify for full membership.

A behaviour consult involves 2-3 hrs working with you and your pet, putting in the time and expertise needed to understand why the animal is behaving in the way it is. This leads into developing a practical behaviour modification plan to suit your particular circumstances and the specific needs of your pet.

 

Weekly follow-ups are used to coach you through making the changes necessary to resolve the behaviour and problem-solve any hitches along the way.

 

There is one-off fee of £225, with consults in West Cumbria on Fridays, and on the Solway Plain, Eden Valley or Carlisle on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some Saturdays by negotiation.

Veterinary referral is needed so we can check there are no medical concerns that may be causing or affecting the problem behaviour. You can ask your vet to refer your case to me directly using the veterinary referral form here. Or, with your permission, I can liaise with your vet on your behalf.

To book a consult email dr.emma.creighton@gmail.com or call her on 016973 49951 or 07726 553 779.

Case Study 1: A Labrador that had bitten

A lovely dog when with his owners and people he knew, but was aggressive towards unfamiliar people, and had recently bitten a man.

As a rescue dog we knew little about his early life, but he probably had limited socialisation, and he was fearful in unknown situations.

He has a very close bond with one owner whom he had taken upon himself to defend from everything he felt was a threat.

He had free access to the garden and had gained confidence in “seeing off” people passing along the adjacent footpath.

He then used aggressive displays to manage what he saw as threats to his owner, and her worry confounded his fear, increasing his aggression.

We changed his relationship with his owners so that he came to see that they did not need defending.

The owners learned how to reduced their dog's fear arousal, to thank him for his concern, and to divert his behaviour away from aggression.

They learnt how to reward relaxed emotional states and behavioural responses, until they re-gained confidence in their dog and themselves.

Finally we addressed remaining concerns the dog had about unfamiliar men carrying large objects, until his fear abated and his aggression resolved.

Case study 2: The collie “fix”

A beautiful border collie who in the last year had taken to chasing after large vehicles in the distance.

This developed after major changes in the owner’s life affected the dog-owner relationship, and the dog was struggling to cope.

The owner's attempts to manage the dog's behavioural changes had confounded the breakdown in their relationship.

The dog was now chasing after vehicles as a breed-specific herding “fix” to relieve her emotional turmoil.

I helped the owner understand how the changes in her life had affected her dog and the relationship between them.

And how, as a collie, the dog was seeking the endorphin rush of chasing after the vehicles as a way of releasing her stress.

We explored how the owner could rebuild her relationship with her dog to fit her new life.

And developed activities built into their daily routine to meet the collie's behavioural needs, replacing the need for the vehicle chasing “fix”.