Clarify staff roles and responsibilities


  • Assess every patient regardless of appointment type (wellness, acute care, follow-up visits) for normal (that is, age and life-stage appropriate) behavior and behavioral problems.
  • Develop behavior management standard operating procedures (SOPs), including procedures for:
    • Using standardized behavior assessment tools
    • Obtaining patient histories that include assessment of behavior problems
    • Implementing patient-friendly handling techniques in the hospital setting to minimize stress during examinations and hospitalization
    • Using chemical restraint to facilitate examination and treatment
  • Implement the practice's model behavior management protocol
  • Develop a network of qualified pet trainers and animal behaviorists for case referral
  • Provide staff education on
    • Effective client communication and education about pet behavior problems
    • Normal canine and feline behavior for the animal’s age and life stage
    • Recognition and assessment of canine and feline behavior problems
    • Pharmacologic intervention for treatment of behavior problems and in-hospital restraint


  • Obtain patient’s medical and medication history, including indicators and potential sources of problem behavior
  • Anticipate procedures or situations that can contribute to anxiety or aggression
  • Use patient-friendly and stress-relieving techniques during examinations or with hospitalized patients
  • Recognize signs of problem behaviors
  • Administer medications and other treatments as directed by the veterinarian
  • Observe interaction among patients and their owners that may indicate or contribute to behavior problems
  • Maintain effective client education and follow-up, including verbal and written instructions

Reception and other client-service personnel

  • Watch for indicators of problem behavior in canine and feline patients
  • Schedule follow-up appointments to monitor behavior management interventions
  • Contact clients after the office visit to respond to questions and concerns
  • Refer questions to clinical staff as appropriate
  • Remind clients that they are part of a team approach to behavior management, requiring their understanding, compliance, and feedback