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Seminars – SOLD OUT

Immersion Weekend in Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine – April 7 & 8, 2018

This 2-day seminar is intended to bring those in the shelter, veterinary and training communities together for an immersive approach to veterinary behavioural medicine and recent state-of-the-art developments.  The goal of this intensive seminar is to teach how new scientific updates, newer techniques and new medications can be used to enhance the lives and mental health of pet cats and dogs at every life stage.  Emphasis will be placed on the most common conditions and misunderstandings that lead to relinquishment, with every lecture containing practical, ready-to-use information that will enrich the skills of those attending. The speaker, Dr. Karen Overall, is one of the most sought after speakers in the field world-wide, and is a pre-eminent scientific researcher, specialist and lecturer in canine behaviour and veterinary behavioural medicine.

This two day seminar has been approved for 7 CEUs for each CPDT-KA & CBCC-KA, 14 CEUs for IAABC and 12 hours ABVMA CE credits for veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians.

Day 1:

Neurobehavioural development and age specific behavioural care in cats and kittens
We lack the detailed information for pet felines that we have for humans with respect to behavioural development, but new data suggest that early rearing and care of breeding animals matters much more than we have previously suspected. We will review the patterns and data for cats in this lecture.

Neurobehavioural development and age specific behavioural care in puppies and dogs
We lack the detailed information for pet canine that we have for humans with respect to behavioural development, but new data suggest that early rearing and care of breeding animals matters much more than we have previously suspected. We will review the patterns and data for dogs in this lecture.

Social behaviour in dogs – how terminology gets us into trouble
What we call something affects how we think about it, and a label can doom an otherwise lovely cat or dog.  We have been particularly careless about our labels for dogs, and now that we are beginning to collect data about patterns of behaviors and their sequences, we have more robust and non-judgmental ways to understand canine behaviour.

An update on the ‘resource guarding’ concepts and implications for behavioural testing
Most shelter tests, and most tests of puppies, involve taking something away from the dog.  How good are our tests of behaviours of dogs, are they testing what we think they are, and do they meet scientific standards?  If these criteria are not met we are wasting time and money and are not meeting the dog’s needs, whether in a shelter, in a training class, or in a clinical veterinary setting.

Canine aggression as an anxiety disorder:  emphasis on dogs who fight
Dogs who fight with each other are one of the most heartbreaking and difficult conditions for clients to understand.  What goes wrong in these situations, and what can be done to help keep these dogs in their homes.

Aggression to humans:  roles for pain, fear and impulsivity
Fear, pain and impulsivity shape most canine aggression to humans.  The key distinction between behaviours that may be normal or adaptive (in the case of sheltered dogs) is in context and plasticity of response.  This talk will focus on understanding the patterns of such behaviours within diagnoses, with an intent towards successful intervention.

Dogs who fear noises
Noise reactivity and phobia in dogs and cats has been estimated to affect as much as 50% of the pet population at some point in their lives.  Why is fear of noises special and so problematic, and how can we successfully treat – or prevent – this condition?

Dogs who cannot be left alone
Separation anxiety is a common behavioural condition, and has been reported in both cats and dogs.  Dogs get more attention because their behaviours are dramatic and cause difficulty for their humans.  What does the data tell us about this condition, it’s comorbidity with other conditions, and which interventions will be successful?

Day 2:

Anxious and scared dogs and cats: roles for reactivity and neurodevelopment
Development and function of the regions of the brain involved in the ability to survive threats affects all aspects of how social animals like dogs and cats respond to all situations throughout their lives. By understanding the neurochemistry of such reactivity, we can provide more humane and effective care for anxious and scared dogs and cats.

Private lives of cats: the link between elimination, anxiety and aggression
Cats are relinquished for elimination that doesn’t meet clients’ needs and expectations.  The key to addressing elimination concerns is to understand the feline evolutionary history and modern social interactions.  These conditions are imminently treatable, but cats are complex and their needs must be met.

Obsessive compulsive behaviours in cats and dogs: genetic and environmental contributions
Not all ritualistic or stereotypic rise to the level of true obsessive-compulsive disorders, but this class of behaviours is increasingly recognized to be driven by suites of interactions between the genetic and physical environments.  Early treatment is key to improvement, so accurate identification of affected individuals is essential.

Understanding and addressing reactivity in dogs: Diagnosis for dogs who can’t stop moving
How do we understand ‘hyper’ dogs?  What diagnoses could be involved, and how does the need to move affect the quality of the dog’s life?  This lecture focuses on a strategy for understanding various reasons that people call dogs ‘hyper’ and on treatments for those dogs who are truly distressed.

5 medications that can really help
The most efficacious, modern interventions for behavioral conditions are pharmacological.  Here is a quick introduction to 5 medications which can serve as entry level drugs for treating common behavioral conditions.

What constitutes behaviour modification in the age of neurogenetics?
Modern behaviour modification is not dog training.  If we want to change behaviours we must ask which behaviours we wish to change, how we wish to change them, which brain regions may be involved and how we can best do this.  Dogs are smarter than we think….and that’s the big clue to the solution.

Integrating treatment options:  Tools, environment, behavioural change and drugs
What tools are available that can help us integrate medication, behavioral change, and changes in environment to get a successful outcome for distressed dogs and cats?  This discussion will focus on developing integrated intervention plans and assessing the results.

Moving towards distress and fear free care of dogs and cats
The days of bondage and discipline in the care of dogs and cats should be over.  This lecture focuses on some clever interventions that will save time and money and will engage a true partnership between the patient, the vet, the client and the training community.

About Dr. Karen Overall

Dr. Karen L. Overall has BA, MA and VMD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did her residency training in veterinary behavioural medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB). She has served on the faculties of both the veterinary and medical schools at the University of Pennsylvania where she has taught undergraduates, graduate students and professional students, and ran the Behaviour Clinic at Penn Vet for more than a dozen years. Dr. Overall lectures at veterinary schools world-wide and is a Senior Research Scientist in the Biology Department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Overall has given hundreds of national and international presentations and short courses and is the author of over 100 scholarly publications, dozens of textbook chapters and the texts Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals (1997; Elsevier) and Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats (2013; Elsevier) and of the DVD, Humane Behavioral Care for Dogs: Problem Prevention and Treatment (2013; Elsevier). She is the editor-in-chief for Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research (Elsevier).

Dr. Overall has been named the North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC) Small Animal Speaker of the Year, has been awarded the Cat Writer’s Association Certificate of Excellence for “The Social Cat” column in Cat Fancy Magazine, and in 2010 was named one of the The Bark’s 100 Best and Brightest – Bark Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the dog world over the past 25 years. In 2017, Dr. Overall was an author on the paper given the British Veterinary Association’s Veterinary Record Impact Award, awarded to the paper published in the journal that makes the most useful potential contribution to changing veterinary practice.

Dr. Overall serves and has served on numerous governmental committees focused on canine health and behaviour, including the US Department of Defense’s Blue Ribbon panel on canine-post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). She frequently consults with governments locally, nationally and internationally about legal and welfare issues of pet dogs and behavioural, welfare and performance issues pertaining to working dogs.

Dr. Overall’s research focuses on neurobehavioural genetics of dogs, the development of normal and abnormal behaviours and how we assess behaviour, especially as concerns working dogs.


These fascinating, information-packed seminars are aimed at veterinarians, trainers, rescuers and anyone who wants to learn more about veterinary behavioural medicine and recent state-of-the-art developments.

Both days are from 8:30am-5:00pm with a one hour lunch. Light snacks and water will be provided and there are several restaurants and fast food outlets nearby.

Cochrane & Area Humane Society Rehabilitation & Education Centre (located behind the main building)
62 Griffin Industrial Point Cochrane, AB


Early Bird (up to and including March 1st): $350 + GST for both days or $200 + GST per day

Regular (after March 1st): $375.00 + GST for both days or $215 + GST per day


SOLD OUT! – to be placed on the waiting list please email with your name, email and phone number

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations made on or before February 16, 2018 will receive a full refund minus a $50.00 cancellation fee. There are no refunds on or after February 17, 2018. Refunds will not be given for partial seminar attendance.

Nearby Accommodations:

Days Inn & Suites – pet friendly (see their policy for more information)

Ramada Hotel – pet friendly (see their policy for more information)

Super 8 – pet friendly (see their policy for more information)

Proceeds benefit the Cochrane & Area Humane Society Shelter Behaviour Programs

If you have any questions please call 403-932-2072 ext 103 or email

Thank you to our sponsor Royal Canin



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