I have heard from many pet owners that expertise in animal behavior is sometimes lacking in veterinary professionals. When owners want concrete advice on how to solve a pet behavior issue, they frequently have to go outside a veterinary clinic to find a different person for advice. I have always been interested in small animal behavior. Luckily, we have the chance to take animal behavior courses here at Cornell. The class I am taking now focuses on small animal behavior and is taught by a veterinarian who is working on her board certification in animal behavior (DACVB: Diplomate American College of Veterinary Behaviorists).
Even though I am interested in large animal medicine, small animals are everywhere. Let’s be honest! Most of the farms I will be visiting someday will have small animals as well as large animals. To me, this reiterates that learning about animal behavior is important for all veterinarians. Gone are the days of us training to just be doctors that give a shot, do surgery, or provide medications. Our clients and their animals deserve the best, and we have the chance to bring them our best effort.
Not only that, but it is fun to learn about animal behavior! Ever wonder why your old house cat attacks your feet when you walk by? How about why your dog barks at people walking by? Even more important, would you like to know how to solve some behavior problems that you do not like? All of this is possible with understanding animal behavior and providing positive training opportunities for your animals.