North Carolina State University – College of Veterinary Medicine
SCAVSAB 2010-2011 Chapter Activities
Gloria MacDonald, NCSU-CVM Class of 2013, Chapter President
Barbara L. Sherman, MS, PhD, DVM, DCAVB, Faculty Advisor
Behavior Club Meetings Organized:
September 20, 2010
Dr. Stephanie Arnold from Virbac Animal Health came to speak about Virbac’s behavior modification drugs Anxitane and Novifit. It was an informative lecture for the 59 students in attendance to learn of a couple behavioral drugs that many of us had not heard of previously. Anxitane is a behavioral drug with an unusual active ingredient, L-theanine, used to promote relaxation in anxious dogs and cats. Novifit was also very interesting to learn about as most of us had never heard of a drug to help support cognitive function in older dogs and cats.
October 12, 2010
Meg Dye from the Duke Lemur Center spoke about behavior in lemurs. She discussed the various training techniques used to work with the lemurs and showed videos of the researchers training them. The 39 students at the meeting enjoyed learning about their behavior and loved watching the videos of various lemurs being trained and interacting with people at the Lemur Center. Many of the training techniques taught to the lemurs were to enhance the ease of working with them and taking samples from them for research purposes. One technique seen on the videos was to train them to climb into an open-ended box and stick their arm through a hole for blood collection. The training techniques not only make working with the lemurs easier but also decrease their stress level around humans.
February 17, 2011
Dr. Dan Johnson from Avian and Exotic Animal Care in Raleigh talked about the husbandry and behavior of some companion small animal mammals. Some of the animals discussed included rabbits, chinchillas, and guinea pigs. Dr. Johnson showed a few entertaining videos displaying interesting behavior of these species. The meeting was in conjunction with Oxbow Animal Health, and Dr. Johnson talked about many of Oxbow’s products that he has used for treating and feeding these mammals. 45 students were in attendance.
March 28, 2011
Janet Velenovsky from Premier Pet Products discussed the company’s gentle leaders and easy walk harnesses. She began the presentation with a training demonstration, and she next showed how to appropriately put on the gentle leader and easy walk harness. Six students brought in their dogs for fitting and training demonstrations. 60 people were in attendance, and each person was given a gentle leader or easy walk harness for one of their pets.
April 6, 2011
Todd Pusser, a North Carolina wildlife photographer, showed some of his photographs of various North Carolina wildlife displaying particular behaviors to the 55 students in attendance. With each picture, Todd had a story to tell about an interesting behavior trait of each species. Todd also has much experience with dolphins and showed us many beautiful dolphin photographs while discussing some of their behavior traits.
Volunteer activities of club members in the area of animal behavior
Regina Lawson, the club’s 2010-2011 shelter representative, worked with contacts at the Wake County shelter to create a program called “Canine College”. Under the guidance of a trainer, students learned training techniques and then worked with the shelter dogs on a rotating schedule. The belief of the program is that if the dogs can be socialized and taught basic manners and a few tricks, their chances of adoption can be significantly increased. This was an excellent opportunity to learn training techniques from some very respected trainers and increase the quality of life of the shelter dogs.
Other relevant activities of the behavior club or its members:
An AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) training and testing program was set up with CGC trainer and tester BJ Welker for students, faculty and staff to participate at the NC State CVM. The ten participants and their dogs attended two training sessions on the Saturday mornings of September 26 and October 2. In between the training sessions and the test on October 9, the participants worked with their dogs in order to pass the 10 tests outlined by the AKC CGC program. This was a great learning experience for the participants and raised their awareness of acceptable public canine behavior. The program also taught participants to learn to take responsibility for their pets while in public situations, such as always carrying water for your dog and bags to clean up after them.
The Behavior Club partnered again this fall with Premier Products to offer a variety of behaviorally stimulating products for CVM pets. Products included the Kibble Nibble, Bristle Bone, Pogo Plush, and Squeeze Meeze for dogs. Gentle Leaders and the Easy Walk Harness were also sold to promote good behavior on leash walks. We added more cat toys to this year’s pre-order with great success! Some of the cats toys included the Twist ‘N Treat teaser, the Egg-cersizer, and mouse toys. We also offered the Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash. To reach out to other pets, we also offered a couple bird and horse toys! The money raised from both our Premier and Kong fundraisers helps us to provide lunches for the students at our meetings which encourages more students to attend and learn about behavior of a variety of species. The more students we can encourage to come to the meetings and learn about the importance of behavior, the better our profession will be at dealing with behavioral issues.
In the spring, the club partnered with the Kong Company to sell Kong toys, including many of their structurally sound toys for the strong chewers. Some of the toys sold included the Stuff-a-Ball, Biscuit Ball, and the Braidz dog plush chews.