Frequently Asked Questions About Behavior Appointments

  • We are now seeing patients in person using a hybrid approach. When making an appointment with the behavior service, two appointments will be scheduled. You will be given a brief in-person appointment and another, longer virtual appointment. In the first appointment, dogs will be evaluated outdoors adjacent to the hospital in your presence, with appropriate social distance. Cats will be evaluated in an examination room in the hospital and you will be asked to wait outside in your vehicle. In the second virtual appointment, the doctor will gather more information from you, discuss evaluation observations, and provide an assessment and treatment plan.

  • We provide remote follow-up appointments for patients that have been seen by the behavior service in the past 12 months. All new patients must be seen in person. The state of Massachusetts requires veterinarians to evaluate animals in person to evaluate, diagnose, and treat them. In-person evaluations are also better medicine because they allow the doctor to rule out medical issues and observe subtle behaviors that may be missed on a screen. To enable in-person evaluations while maintaining COVID-19 precautions, we evaluate patients outside and save discussion for virtual appointments later the same week.

  • We strongly recommend preventing future episodes of aggression by avoiding known triggers where you are able. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of a family member, please let us know immediately.

    If your pet attacks…

    Another animal in the home: Animals should be separated until the consultation unless the aggressor is under physical control (on a leash or with someone holding him/her).

    Visitors to your home: Confine your pet behind a barrier, such as a door or a gate, or on a short leash when visitors are present.

    People or dogs in public: Strictly avoid contact with unfamiliar people until the consultation.

    You may also desensitize your dog to a basket muzzle. An excellent source of information about the use of basket muzzles can be found at

  • Behavior problems may be caused by or aggravated by medical problems. It is important for us to obtain a comprehensive medical history and pertinent records from your veterinarian in order to rule out possible underlying issues.

  • For consultations addressing aggression between your dogs or between your cats, all of the animals involved should be present. Only one fee will be charged for the consultation. If your pets cannot safely be in the same room at the same time (on leashes or in carriers), they will be able to take turns in the consultation room. The one that is not in the consultation room can be housed in our patient ward.

  • If your dog or cat feels better with his or her canine or feline companion, you are most certainly welcome to bring him or her along. There will be no additional charge for the other animal.

  • All family members involved in caring for the animal should be present if possible, including children. You may bring as many family members as you would like.

  • Your dog’s trainer is most welcome to attend the consultation, if you feel that it would be useful.

  • We encourage you to bring all training equipment (head halters, collars, etc.) that you are currently using or have tried in the past, as well as appropriate gear for inclement weather. We may practice behavior modification techniques outside or in an adjacent building, if appropriate.

  • Dr. Borns-Weil has many tools in her treatment toolbox. As the needs of each pet are different, medication is prescribed if a need is indicated. Other techniques include behavior modification, training, and environmental management.

  • It is always helpful to have lab work done before arriving at the Behavior Service in order to immediately rule out certain medical problems. Please have your pet’s veterinarian email or fax us all lab results.

  • We do require your pet to come in with you for your behavior consultation. If you have concerns about the process, please call us to discuss strategies to minimize the stress for you and your pet.

  • No, if your pet is likely to find the lobby very stressful, you may check in by phone from your car when you arrive. When it is time for your pet's consultation, we will escort you and your pet through a side entrance directly into our consultation room. Prior to your consultation, you will receive a letter with details about checking in from your car.

  • Dr. Borns-Weil is very experienced in reading body language and interpreting the behaviors of even her most stoic patients. You will have an opportunity to explain how the behavior we see in the clinic relates to what you see in your home or community.

  • The behavior forms are located on the Behavior Service Forms page.

  • Physical exams are performed on all patients when possible and avoided in patients for whom an exam will be too stressful.