Do you have questions about Dr. Valli’s consults?

Our behavior team believes that in order to best improve a pet’s behavior, a group of dedicated people can come together to find solutions. By bringing together veterinarians, animal trainers, veterinary support staff and yourself to help your pet, we create the synergy for behavior change.

Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions about Synergy

What is a Veterinary Behaviorist?
A Veterinary Behaviorist is a veterinarian who has completed specialization through and board certification by the American College of Veterinary Behavior. As a Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Valli competed a rigorous program of theoretical and hands-on education that complements her current knowledge of the field. Some things Dr. Valli did to meet the requirements for board certification included:

  • Managing over 450 cases that were reviewed by her residency mentor
  • Gaining extensive education of normal and abnormal behaviors of domesticated and wild species, as well as on neurology, neuropharmacology, and related topics
  • Publishing research in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Writing several detailed case reports
  • Teaching and lecturing to a variety of audiences including veterinarians and the general public

Once Dr. Valli fulfilled these requirements and passed a comprehensive two-day, 16hr examination on the behaviors and treatment of multiple animal species, she  earned the title of board-certified veterinary behaviorist.

What types of behaviors does Dr. Valli and her team work with?
Dr. Valli consults with families on a wide range of behavior problems that they experience with their dogs, cats, birds, and other companion animals. Some examples include: aggression, fears and phobias, housesoiling, inappropriate vocalization and destructive behavior.  
Is my pet's behavior bad enough to warrant an appointment with Dr. Valli?
If your pet’s behavior is stressing you out, disrupting your family’s life, affecting your pet’s welfare, or creating a risk to the public, then a visit with Dr. Valli is a great choice. She can help you understand your pet’s behavior as well as discuss the path to improving it. Whether the cause of the undesirable behavior has been going on for a long time or short, Dr. Valli can review treatment options to help your lives improve.

Since untreated behavior problems generally become worse with time, the sooner that you consult with Dr. Valli, the better the outcome is for you and your pet. Dr. Valli advocates using effective and pet-friendly behavior modification methods to implement her treatment plans.

I am already working with a trainer. Will I have to switch to a Synergy trainer after seeing Dr. Valli?
We are pleased to receive many referrals from local trainers.  Dr. Valli welcomes trainers to attend their client’s consultations if they are interested.

Many times the referring trainer prefers for us to take over the behavior modification for a pet and client. This may happen because of our trainers’ expertise in working with a particular issue, or because one of our classes is a good fit for the client’s or pet’s needs. If, however, you are working with a trainer who is comfortable and experienced with implementing the behavior modification programs necessary for your pet following Dr. Valli’s recommendations, that may work as well.

Regardless of your situation, working with an experienced trainer who can effectively implement behavior modification methods results in quicker improvement your pet’s behavior and better satisfaction for you.

If I work with Dr. Valli, will I have to switch to using her as my veterinarian?
We are honored that many local veterinarians trust us to help their clients and refer their patients to us. While Dr. Valli is a licensed veterinarian, she will only treat your pet for behavior problems. She will not take on the role of your veterinarian for your pet’s routine care. Your own veterinarian will continue to perform your pet’s annual exams, vaccinations and any other healthcare needs that your pet may have.

When you meet with Dr. Valli, she will communicate with your primary veterinarian to gather information about your pet’s medical history. She will also collaborate with them after your consult to share information about her findings about your pet. She may also advise medical tests to be performed for the behavioral treatment she sets up for your pet.

May I observe a veterinary behavior consultation?
Because Dr. Valli works in confidence with clients whose pets have a variety of behavior problems, we don’t allow observations of veterinary behavior consults by the public unless you are invited to attend by the client.
Why do you collect a deposit for my pet's behavior health assessment?
It is important to us that each patient and client have a consultation that is tailored to their needs, and that is run efficiently. We accomplish this by reviewing and discussing your pet’s behavioral and medical history before your visit with us. Because of the time we spend reviewing your pet’s file, and the substantial amount of time dedicated to each client which limits the number of cases that we can see, a deposit is required.
Can I have an initial Behavior Health Assessment over the phone?
Unfortunately that is not possible. Synergy Veterinary Behavior, as a veterinary practice, is bound to follow the requirements of the Veterinary Practice Act. All clients need to establish an in-person veterinary-client-patient relationship with our veterinarians prior to them giving a treatment or diagnosis for a pet. After your pet has been seen in our facility, we are able to offer online Behavior Progress Evaluations (follow-up appointments) for up to one year from the appointment date of the initial Behavior Health Assessment. Behavior Progress Evaluations may be done online for clients that are unable to make it to our facility and where it is deemed appropriate by our veterinarian.

While our veterinarians need to meet your pet in person before consulting with you, they are able to consult with other veterinarians in the area on their clinical cases. Vet-to-vet consultations with our veterinarians provide the opportunity for your veterinarian to speak to us about your pet’s case. This service is offered for free.

How does Synergy's deposit and cancellation policy work?

Our services are prepaid and non-refundable. We understand that life happens. The appointments are in high demand and giving advance notice allows other patients the opportunity to access that appointment time.

  • If you cancel or reschedule at least 1 week prior to your appointment, we will happily help you reschedule within 6 months of purchase. There are no refunds of the reservation deposit ($150) under any circumstances. However, the remaining balance (less the reservation deposit) may be returned if you choose to not reschedule.
  • If you cancel or reschedule within less than 1 week of your appointment, your full fee is forfeited. We will remove the appointment and it will no longer be available. Full payment is required before rescheduling.
  • SYNERGY’S BUSINESS DAYS: Synergy’s office is closed on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. A good policy is to contact us immediately to reschedule when you receive our 1-week reminder email.
When I provide my personal information to you, what happens to it?
The information that you provide to us is held in strict confidence and will not be sold to others for promotional purposes. We do share case information with your veterinarian (to keep them informed about our findings and your progress) was well as any trainer you request for us to share it with, to help in your pet’s behavior therapy program.

The email address you provide when you contact us may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your pet’s specific services, in addition to receiving occasional practice news, updates and information about related products or services.

For complete details about the terms for use of our website, our privacy policy and how your information is handled, please visit our Website Use and Data Policy page for more complete information.

How long will treatment take?
The short answer is, “It depends”. Some factors that help determine this are…

  • The severity and intensity of your pet’s behaviors
  • The length of time that the behaviors have been practiced for
  • How much time you dedicate each week to changing the behavior through training
  • The underlying emotional state of the patient
  • And, any concurrent medical conditions that your pet is experiencing
What is Your Success Rate? What Guarantee Do You Offer?
When working on behavior challenges, there are a number of factors that determine a pet’s progress…

  • The intensity of the problem behavior and how long it’s been happening
  • Your ability to prevent your pet from practicing the undesirable behaviors or experiencing anxiety / overexcitement
  • Your willingness to communicate with us and keep up updated on your pet’s response to treatment
  • Your ability to set aside time to work on the behavior therapy exercises we teach you to improve behavior
  • What is realistic to expect for improvement for your pet’s problem behavior

We will support you on your journey to the best of our ability. An individual pet’s success will look different for each pet’s family and is determined by many factors in your pet’s life. Most of these factors are largely out of our control.

Considering these factors, and the fact that our companion animals are living beings who will vary in their responses to treatment, it would be inappropriate and unethical for us to make promises or guarantees regarding outcomes of treatment. What we can say is that the behavior of the vast majority of pets in our care improve significantly once treatment has been implemented.

Have your own questions? Ask us…