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Dancing with Fear, Hope, & Trust: Getting clients on board and sticking with the plan

February 13

6:00 pm PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


Your clients are scared. They are scared of you, of failure, of running out of money, and in some cases having to release their relationship with a beloved family member. This can make them angry, defensive, or uncooperative. As a result, behavior consults are emotionally charged and can be taxing for both the client and the practitioner.

Our job is to give clients hope while building trust. So how do we do that without burning out or making false promises? We actively “onboard” our clients, build relationships, create a support network, communicate empathetically, and practice the skills that make this possible.

We will look at the definition of onboarding, what it takes to achieve it, and how to maintain relationship momentum. Building relationships is an active process. We do this not just with our clients, but with other behavior and veterinary professionals. Keeping communication lines open, respecting each other’s knowledge base, being empathetic to the particular challenges we each face, and remembering to focus on our part of case management while keeping up to date on case progress with other practitioners is a constant challenge. However, this is the heart of cooperative case management.

We will illustrate these concepts through case-based learning. Nora is a one and half year old Corgi mix, adopted through an international rescue. Post adoption, Nora struggled to adjust to life in a home, displaying aggressive behavior towards her owners and to other dogs on leash. Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist Dr. E’Lise Christensen and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant Bobbie Bhambree will guide you through different aspects of case workup and management. The pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions chosen are discussed, as are the successes and failures of the behavior training plan.

Understanding these mechanisms and methods enables us to create evidence-based clinical behavior plans and unify care across disciplines to best support the patient. Join us for an exploration of how veterinary behaviorists and trainers working together can inspire client engagement, motivate practitioners’ creativity, and maintain commitment.

Presented By:

Dr. E’Lise Christensen DVM

Dr. E’Lise Christensen DVM is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and an international lecturer and author. Dr. C received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2002. She first became interested in veterinary behavior as a high school student when she worked at a veterinary practice and began training animals for pet therapy at a local substance abuse facility. While in veterinary school she researched separation anxiety in shelter dogs, was an assistant trainer at an animal shelter, and studied with numerous board-certified veterinary behaviorists. After veterinary school Dr. C began a rotating small animal internship at SouthPaws Veterinary Referral Center in Springfield, Virginia. While working there she continued her studies in veterinary behavior. She practiced feline-only medicine in Arlington, Virginia and general medicine in Bloomingdale, New Jersey before entering the Behavior Residency Program at Cornell University in 2004. During her residency she researched the behavior of dogs, cats, and horses and treated behavioral problems in a number of different species. Her most cited research involved evaluating the efficacy of canine temperament tests in the shelter system. Dr. Christensen has contributed to articles in Dog Watch, Cat Watch, Cat Fancy, Dog Training Solutions, Real Simple, Newsday, and various other print media. She has been a contributor and guest on’s “Pet Health” and “Studio B with Shepard Smith”, ABC News’ “Nightline,” and many other radio programs, television programs, and newscasts. She enjoys lecturing nationally and internationally on an array of behavior topics including, but not limited to, small animal behavior, public health and animal sheltering topics. Dr. C is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Speaker’s Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr C is always working on new ideas to support animals, families, trainers, and veterinary colleagues as they learn more about behavior and manage animals with behavioral disorders. Work-life balance is her last unicorn. She is also on a crusade to rescue the Oxford comma.

Presented By:

Bobbie Bhambree CDBC, CPDT-KA

Bobbie Bhambree (CDBC, CPDT-KA) is the Director of Behavior Services and a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant at Behavior Vets. She is also a faculty member of CATCH Canine Trainers Academy and Agility University. Bobbie started her career in 2003 as a pet behavior counselor with the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. While there, she implemented behavior modification programs for dogs who had been surrendered by the public or seized by Humane Law Enforcement. In 2007, Bobbie joined the Humane Society of Westchester, spending the next nine years as their shelter trainer. She created and implemented training and enrichment programs for the dogs, counseled adopters, trained volunteers, participated in community outreach programs, and performed evaluations. In 2016, Bobbie joined the North Shore Animal League America in Port Washington, NY as the Director of Pet Behavior. During her tenure there, she managed a team of canine and feline trainers who focused on developing behavior modification and enrichment programs for the animals in the shelter. She also deployed for the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team to work in the field, supporting the team with dog fighting busts, puppy mill cases, and hoarding cases. In addition to this work, she founded and directed her own company, DogCentric Dog Training, helping people whose pet dogs experienced a wide spectrum of canine behavior issues. Over the years, Bobbie has very successfully competed in agility with three of her dogs including, Marvel who came in third for Performance Speed Jumping and Performance Grand Prix at Mid-Atlantic Regionals in 2019. Bobbie periodically contributes to the agility-focused magazine, Clean Run. Bobbie currently shares her life with six dogs (Tricky, Ziggy, Marvel, Eleanor Rigby, Heady Topper, and Phuncky) and a very supportive husband in the suburbs of southern New Jersey.