Articles by APBC Members

  • Barking Mad!

    by David Appleby

    Do you get complaints from the neighbours when you go out, or wish you could hear yourself speak while on the telephone? You're not alone! Barking comes naturally, but many people find it one of the most difficult problems to treat. Did you know that dogs can communicate...

  • Shock Collars - The Shocking Truth

    by Inga MacKellar and Mat Ward

    There are many ‘quick fix’ products available to dog owners who wish to modify the behaviour of their pet. One such device is the electronic collar. The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors advises that the use of devices that rely on pain or discomfort to modify behaviour are...

  • Four Wheel Phobia - Car Phobia in Dogs

    by David Appleby

    Does your dog dread a spin in the saloon so much that he refuses to get in? Or is he a poor traveller that braves the torments of the road?

  • Neutering Male Dogs - the Behavioural Effects of Castration

    by Mat Ward BSc MVS CCAB

    Thinking of castrating your dog to solve a behavioural problem? Unfortunately there’s no going back once the deed is done! Before you take the plunge, let’s consider the effects castration may have on your dog’s behaviour.

  • Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 1) Why is it Necessary?

    by David Appleby

    One in five of the dogs that Dr Valerie O’Farrell (1986) studied while conducting research at Edinburgh (Royal Dick) University Veterinary School had a behavioural problem to a lesser or greater extent. A similar, but larger, American study fixed the figure at one in...

  • Puppy Socialisation and Habituation (Part 2) How to go about it

    by David Appleby

    Having looked at the theoretical aspects of early socialisation and habituation in Part 1, what are the actual mechanics required to achieve it?

  • Litter Training Your Rabbit

    by Emma Magnus MSc

    Over the past few years an increasing number of people have moved away from the traditional idea of keeping a rabbit in a hutch by bringing it into the home.

  • Destructive Behaviour in House Rabbits

    by Emma Magnus

    After litter-training queries, the second most common problem encountered by house-rabbit owners is chewing. Rabbits in the wild spend up to high percentage of their waking hours obtaining food but providing a bowl of concentrate food and hay will, at most, occupy your rabbit for a couple of hours...

  • Handling Hamsters

    by Emma Magnus

    Here are a few tips to help you handle your hamsters without getting bitten: Make sure that you obtain a young hamster from a breeder who has been handling them frequently from the age of 4 weeks. When you are with the breeder get him or her to show you how to handle the youngster so...

  • Rehabilitation: the missing link to sucessful behaviour modification

    by Kym Lawrence

    Today, the dog owner who experiences problems with their pet is fortunate to be able to consult with specialist behaviour counsellors Whilst advice can be detailed in the resulting behaviour modification programme, the necessary steps needed to resolve those of an aggressive &...

  • Canine Dominance Revisited

    by David Appleby

    The subject of how dominance should be defined is often discussed. In particular there has been criticism that it is often misdiagnosed as the cause of behaviour problems. Obviously such criticism is correct but some commentators have also tried to re-interpret the effect of...

  • Show Some Emotion

    by David Appleby

    When we describe a dog’s behaviour, character or temperament we use labels such as a “dominant temperament” to communicate to each other what we have observed, but as soon as we do we pigeonhole the dog into a type.

  • How to Find a Good Dog Breeder

    by Gwen Bailey

    By the time puppies are 7-8 weeks old and ready to go to new homes, they will vary greatly in brain development depending on how they have been raised. This will have a profound effect on their future behaviour.

  • Socialising a Litter

    by Gwen Bailey

     1. Introduction If you help raise puppies from birth until they are ready to go to new homes, you will have a tremendous impact on their character and behaviour as adults, and, hence, on their future lives. Following the guidelines in this article will help to ensure that the puppies you...

  • Choosing the Right Breed For Your Lifestyle

    by Gwen Bailey

     There are two things you need to consider when buying a puppy:

  • Why Won't Dominance Die?

    by David Ryan

    Many leading animal behaviourists are concerned that the “dominance” model of pet dog behaviour continues to survive, despite the accumulating evidence that it is at best unhelpful and at worst highly detrimental.

  • Canine Aggression Frequently Asked Questions

    by David Ryan

    The information within these FAQs has been provided by David Ryan, Chairman of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC). The advice offered is recognised by the ASAB Accreditation Committee as reflecting good practice by those working in the field of clinical behaviour in companion...

  • Learn to Earn: Is Nothing in Life Free?

    by Mat Ward and David Ryan

      An evaluation of the use of resource control programmes in modifying dog behaviour.   The concept of controlling a dog’s access to resources in order to improve their behaviour has for many years been a core component of many behaviourists’ treatment programmes.  ...

  • An Introduction to Keeping Rats as Pets

    by Cara Wilson BSc (Hons) PGDE

    This article can be downloaded as a pdf by clicking here. If you are looking for a pet that is friendly, entertaining and social, then rats are a great choice for all ages.  Despite many people having a predisposed phobia of them, once you have met rats, even the most reluctant of people find...

  • All You Need to Know About Caring for Chinchillas

    by Sophie Hacking BSc MSc

      This information can be downloaded as a pdf document by clicking here.   Introduction Chinchillas are South American rodents with soft, dense coats, large ears and eyes and a long hairy curled tail.  They are becoming increasingly popular as pets in the UK and can commonly be found...

  • Are We Habituating to Inaccurate Terminology within the Field of Equestrian Science, and is this Overshadowing Our Progress?

    by Mat Ward and Catherine Bell

    One of the great advantages of a scientific approach to behaviour is that we can define specific words, ensuring everyone knows what everyone else is talking about.  Unfortunately, in the field of equestrianism, well established terms relating to learning are often used inaccurately. This...