MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Prognosis of Behavioral Problems


Gary M. Landsberg

, BSc, DVM, MRCVS, DACVB, DECAWBM, North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic

Reviewed/Revised May 2014 | Modified Nov 2022

Client understanding and compliance are critical if animals with behavioral disorders are to improve. Because the strategy to modify undesirable behavior requires that the owner be prepared and capable of identifying each situation and substituting a more desirable response, the initial approach should be to avoid or prevent the provocative situation. The predictability of the problem, the ability of the owners to implement initial preventive strategies, the expectations as to what might be achieved, the pet's temperament, how the pet’s behavior will need to be modified over time, and the practicality of implementing the program considering the environment, family, and pet should all be reviewed and must be both acceptable and practical for the owners. In addition, special consideration will need to be given in cases of aggression to evaluate risk and ensure safety. (For guidelines on risk factor assessment, see

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