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From Roadblocks to Rainbows: Enhancing Client Consulting Skills

May 9

4:00 pm PT

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


Are your clients rainbows—each unique and special? Or roadblocks—always in their own way, and yours? Would your work be more fulfilling if clients just did what you told them to do the first time? Do you feel frustrated that clients don’t comply with instructions you’ve repeated over and over? Does it ever seem like it’s the people, not the animals, who have the problem?

If so, take heart! You are not alone. It can be surprising to discover how much of our role as animal care professionals involves facilitating behavior change on the part of our human clients. Understanding our clients’ motivations, teaching them new ways to think about and interact with their animals, and enlisting their cooperation with our recommendations may be quite challenging, even for seasoned behavior professionals.

This presentation will share strategies and tools based on the principles of behavior science to help participants develop compassionate working alliances with their clients, engage in collaborative goal setting, enhance client cooperation, and identify and address barriers to effective behavior change.

Presented By:

Melanie Cerone, PhD, CPDT-KA

Dr. Melanie Cerone (she/her) is a licensed psychologist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology and her PhD in counseling psychology from Temple University. Melanie holds graduate certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis and Organizational Behavior Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington.

Melanie serves on the board of directors of the American Psychological Association’s Section on Human Animal Interaction: Research & Practice (Division 17) where she is a member of the Position Statements, Competencies and Ethics committee. The HAI Section is dedicated to professional and scholarly activities that advance the understanding of human-animal interactions as they relate to psychology. Her committee work focuses on developing practice guidelines for professionals employing animal-assisted interventions.

As a psychologist, Melanie has used the power of behavior science to help people achieve socially meaningful goals and live more fulfilling lives for over 30 years. She has provided clinical services to children, adolescents, and adults in outpatient, hospital, residential, and correctional settings. She has held continuous governors’ appointments to the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Board since 2000.

Melanie’s lifelong passion for dogs and training inspired her to bridge her clinical skills to application with companion animals. She operates a behavior consulting practice specializing in dogs with aggression issues and separation-related problem behaviors. Melanie thrives on building connections with others. Her collaborative, open-minded approach and ability to see the issues from the client’s perspective help her build a foundation of trust and provide crucial “instant wins” from the very beginning of her work with a family. She finds it a unique privilege to be able to use her clinical skills to improve the quality of life for dogs and the people who love them.

Melanie provides volunteer education and training to animal shelter staff and the community. She is an engaging speaker who has presented at regional, national, and international conferences on a broad range of topics in the fields of psychology and animal behavior.