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Behaviour Essentials for the Veterinary Team: Understanding and Managing Aggression

Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 from 09:30 to 17:00 (BST)

Behaviour Essentials for the Veterinary Team:...

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Standard APBC member
Current APBC members of all levels
24 Sep 2019 £65.00 £0.00
Standand Non-member 24 Sep 2019 £80.00 £0.00

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Event Details

Behaviour Essentials for the Veterinary Team: Understanding and Managing Aggression

Aggressive behaviors in companion animals typically serve a purpose. In other words, while the target of aggression can be anyone from the owner, another animal, or members of veterinary teams, there is a “goal” behind that behavior for the animal displaying it. Being able to determine that goal is the key to the prevention and effective management of the aggression. We will examine real-life case studies that demonstrate approaches to the investigation of causes, options for treatment and referral, and influential factors upon outcomes including environmental management and behaviour modification. This event is for vets and nurses working in general practice and for anyone working in the field of companion animal behaviour.


Registration and coffee from 8.30am. 


Speakers: Tamsin Durston, Trudi Atkinson RVN, Sarah Penturn, Emma Brown MRCVS, Laura McAuliffe and Deborah Fry.


An overview of aggression as a behaviour, including in the veterinary practice with Tamsin Durston RVN

As an introduction to the event this talk will present aggression as a behaviour in specific relation to the veterinary environment, identifying risk factors for aggressive behaviour as well as exploring the emotional and motivational components of this, from the animal’s perspective. The presentation will also present strategies to dealing with patient-aggression within veterinary practice, aimed at optimising the physical and emotional safety of clinical staff as well as the patient and their owner.

Tamsin Durston is a Clinical Animal Behaviourist and a Registered Veterinary Nurse with over 20 years’ nursing experience, predominately in the role of Nurse Manager for Blue Cross Animal Welfare Charity. A full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Tamsin undertakes canine behavioural consultations and facilitates evidenced, reward-based training for pet dog owners; believing in the importance of an empathetic and understanding relationship and that learning should be fun for both owner and dog. Tamsin currently works within Dogs Trust’s Canine Behaviour and Research Team creating welfare driven, evidenced-based educational resources and materials for professionals and owners alike, and holds a special interest in promoting a behaviourally-considered approach to handling animals within a veterinary context.


Feline Human-Directed Aggression with Trudi Atkinson DipAS (CABC), VN, CCAB

Aggression by pet cats towards owners and other people, including veterinary staff is a serious concern. Not only because of potential injury, but also because of increased risks to the cat of relinquishment or euthanasia. Plus, if a cat needs to use aggression this can be indicative of reduced welfare for that individual. This talk will explore the underlying causes of human-directed aggression; an understanding of which can help veterinary practice staff to play an important role in the treatment, management and prevention of the behaviour.

Trudi Atkinson RVN, Dip.AS(CABC),CCAB Trudi qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1986 and after working for 17 years in mixed general practice, went on to study companion animal behaviour at the university of Southampton and became a full member of the APBC in 1999. She is also a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) and a Certified Cat Behaviour Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). Although having previously worked with both dogs and cats, feline behaviour and welfare has always been her primary area of interest and has been her sole focus since 2016. Trudi runs a feline behaviour referral practice covering the South West of England and has presented talks and contributed written articles and book chapters for various organisations including BSAVA, BVNA, as well as the APBC. Trudi is also the author of Practical Feline Behaviour – Understanding Cat Behaviour and Improving Welfare.


Human-Directed Aggression in Dogs: Case Series with Sarah Penturn

This presentation will walk through real-life case examples of human-directed aggression in dogs. (The number of cases will depend on the length of time I have to talk, but most likely 2 or 3). For each case, I will discuss the initial presentation, any medical investigations undertaken, leading on to the behavioural diagnosis, and the recommended treatment plan (including environmental management and behaviour modification), before finally discussing the case outcome. I aim to highlight how similar-looking behaviours can have differing underlying motivations, discuss the rationale behind my chosen approaches to treatment, as well as briefly touching on prognostic factors for human-directed aggression cases including client compliance.

Sarah Penturn is a veterinary behaviourist, and resident with the European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine. After graduating from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, and completing an intercalated Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Bristol, Sarah practiced a small animal veterinary surgeon in and around London. She joined the Dogs Trust in July 2017 to pursue her passion for behavioural medicine, and began her residency in March 2018. In her current role, Sarah supports all the veterinary and behaviour teams across Dogs Trust’s 21 centres in the UK and Ireland with their challenging behaviour cases, especially those requiring psychotropic medication. Sarah also practices clinically as a veterinary behaviourist, providing behaviour consultations for Dogs Trust dogs post-adoption, as well providing a monthly behaviour clinic for dogs and cats at the Bow PDSA Pet Hospital.


Feisty felines – a case based approach to cat-cat aggression with Emma Brown BVSC PG Dip MRCVS

I will present a series of real cases as the basis for an interactive discussion on the causes, investigation and management of cat-cat aggression cases. Through the course of the presentation we will compare and contrast cases focusing on the importance of a thorough workup and case based treatment protocols.

I qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon in 2001 and spent 15 years in mixed practice before moving to small animal practice in 2016. I am particularly interested in the links between disease and animal behaviour and especially how an understanding of behaviour can improve the welfare of the animals that share our lives. I am a RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Companion Animal Behaviour, a full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Councillors (APBC) and an Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC) Registered Veterinary Behaviourist.


Dog - dog aggression with Laura McAuliffe

Laura will discuss the factors that may contribute to dog reactivity and why an approach based on counter conditioning may not be sufficient unless we address other issues too. The benefits of controlled social contact will be considered and case studies will be used to illustrate complex cases and their progression through the rehabilitation process. Stumbling blocks in the rehabilitation process will be discussed and why setting realistic owner expectations is crucial.

Laura is a full APBC member and ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist. Laura co-owns Dog Communication with Penel Malby. Based in Surrey, for over 15 years they have specialised in working with dogs with reactivity issues and focus on supporting owners through all steps of the rehabilitation process by providing ongoing classes and group sessions. Laura currently has two dogs of her own: a Timber dog and a Dalmatian and she fosters puppies for a local rescue.


Human-directed aggression in rabbits: a behavioural case study with Deborah Fry BSc (Hons) MSc CCAB

Despite domestication, the behavioural repertoires of companion and wild rabbits barely differ. When assessing problem behaviour in companion rabbits, it is therefore necessary to consider the natural habitat, biology and behaviour of wild rabbits in relation to companion rabbit management. This presentation will explore a case of human-directed aggression in a companion rabbit, in order to illustrate welfare considerations, potential differentials, behavioural diagnosis methods and treatment. The importance of collaboration between the veterinary practice, behaviour specialist and caregiver will also be discussed.

Deborah Fry is full member of the APBC, an ASAB-accredited Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist, and an ABTC-registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist. She owns and manages a dog, cat and rabbit behaviour referral practice (Animal Behaviour Consult Ltd), and covers parts of Southern England. Deborah has written several articles focusing on animal behaviour and welfare, which have been published in veterinary journals.

Nitty Gritty

Non-member early bird price: £65 (up to 25 August 2019)
Members early bird price: £50 (up to 25 August 2019)

Standard non-member price: £80
Members standard price: £65

Veterinary Nurse with Bursary: £50 - APBC has made available a limited number of bursary places to reduce the cost of the event for veterinary nurses. To apply for a place please email to check availability and request the promotional code.

Please make sure you register at the correct rate as mistakes cannot be rectified afterwards. 

FEES INCLUDE REFRESHMENTS AND A VEGETARIAN PACKED LUNCH (please ensure any dietary requirements are requested at time of booking)

A group discount is available for animal welfare and assistance dogs charities if sending four or more attendees. Please email to request details.   

Please note that other than assistance dogs, the venue does not permit dogs on the site. 

Please note that no refunds for cancellations can be given after 25 August 2019.  Cancellations prior to 25 August 2019 are subject to an £8 cancellation fee.  The organisers reserve the right to replace speakers in necessary.


Do you have questions about Behaviour Essentials for the Veterinary Team: Understanding and Managing Aggression? Contact Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

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When & Where

Kettering Conference Centre
Thurston Drive
Kettering, Northants
NN15 6PB
United Kingdom

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 from 09:30 to 17:00 (BST)

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