Behavior Club
Current Activities
Past Activities
Canine College
Behavior Club - Student Chapter NCSU


North Carolina State University – College of Veterinary Medicine

SCAVSAB 2009-2010 Chapter Activities

Annie Gebhard, NCSU-CVM Class of 2011, Chapter President
C/O North Carolina State University

Barbara L. Sherman, MS, PhD, DVM, DCAVB, Faculty Advisor
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences
North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine
4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606-1499

Behavior Club MeetingsOrganized:

September 2, 2009

Dr. Kyle Creech and Jeff Queen from Ceva Animal Health came to speak about "Behavior and Pheromones in Private Practice." They explained the use of Feliway® as well as their Dog Appeasement Pheromone® products and how we could utilize them with common behavior problems seen in our pets today. It was a great lecture for the students to learn of tools they can use that will aid in fostering calm behaviors. The 64 students in attendance were also provided a “sniff test” of the products to demonstrate that even though the animals are affected by their diffusers, they give off no detectable smell to humans. This means that owners will be more likely to employ these products since they do not interfere with their senses.

October 12, 2009

Bonnie Buchanan, from Bon Clyde Learning Center, presented an entertaining talk about their Canine Professionals and Training Class and what was involved in having and training a dog for commercials and movies. She presented the 69 students in attendance with the process involved in filming a commercial with a dog and how sometimes the commercial is modified to fit the dog’s needs and abilities. The students were thoroughly entertained by the banking commercials with Rap, a Border Collie, and the “LOST DOG” AT&T commercial with Tyler Hansbrough and the cute little Jack Russell Terrier with lots of skill. These canine actors were gracious enough to even grace us with their presence and put on a short demonstration of their abilities. It was a lot of fun to learn about the multitude of behaviors that we can teach our pets and how much they really enjoy learning new things.

November 3, 2009

Mark Hines, a Canine Behavior & Training Specialist from the Kong Company, was invited to come speak to the students about the benefits of utilizing behaviorally stimulating toys, such as the Classic Kong, to reduce destructive behaviors, which are often the results of a pet’s boredom. Noting that many pet owners experience these problems, Mark spoke with passion about methods and techniques for taking an active role and facilitating a positive change in a pet’s life through behavioral toys. He informed the students of ways to utilize these types of toys in new and interesting situations, such as during recovery time after orthopedic surgery to aid in the frustration of dealing with energetic dogs forced to take it easy until they are healed. In addition to Mark’s lecture, the KONG Company generously donated one KONG product to each of the 78 students in attendance to test on their own pets. Many students who, before Mark’s visit, believed their dog would never play with toys discovered that with a little effort and proper application of the techniques, they were able to interest their pets in their new KONGs for hours at a time!

November 6, 2009

The Behavior Club joined with the Student Chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practioners to invite Dr. Tom Noffsinger to speak about “Humane Interactions Between Humans and Animals,” particularly with our bovine species. He passionately demonstrated to the 41 students in attendance how to conduct themselves around cattle and how we can employ low-stress handling techniques that benefit the cattle in terms of lowered stress levels. In addition, the benefits to humans working with cattle include better and safer working environment and a greater ability to get the cattle to do what we need without needing to employ brute force or other tools. This lecture demonstrated that behavioral modification techniques can be used on nontraditional species, not just our house pets, to make the interactions between humans and animals safer and less stressful.

Feb 1, 2009

Dr. Greg Burkett, Diplomate ABVP Avian from the Birdie Boutique in Durham, NC, came to speak to the students about “Common Avian Behavior Problems” and ways to address those problems. He provided examples of his clients and the interesting things that birds do that are often deemed as unacceptable behaviors. He enlightened the students about the normal behaviors of parrots and how these behaviors can cause issues in a household. Dr. Burkett even provided the students with ways to counsel owners on how to address these concerns to make life manageable for both owner and parrot. In addition, the 75 students in attendance were told hilarious stories about the antics of his client’s parrots.

March 10, 2010

Dr. Lynn Seibert from ELANCO came to the NCSU CVM for a talk about Reconcile and Separation Anxiety. Nearly 90 students attended this meeting to learn how they can help future clients as well as their own pets on dealing with separation anxiety. To the elation of the students, Dr. Seibert spent a great deal of time going into the issues surrounding separation anxiety and the many different techniques of behavior modification to use. She also talked about how these modification techniques could be used in conjunction with drugs such as Reconcile to help increase efficacy of treatment and decrease the stress for the patient. Dr. Seibert did an excellent job at making this talk less of a product pitch and more to the root of the problem, separation anxiety. Students left this meeting feeling more confident about recognizing separation anxiety and ways to treat this condition.


April 9, 2010
As part of an effort to bring animal behavior together with other interests, the club partnered with the Student Chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners to invite Dr. Temple Grandin to the school to speak on “Humane Animal Handling: Taking A Closer Look At Animal Behavior.”On behalf of the club, Thundershirt was a sponsor of the event. Dr. Grandin spoke to a group of 600 CVM related attendees and engaged them in a wonderful discussion that focused not only on the handling of cattle and pigs, but that of our domestic pets as well. She was an amazing speaker and really spoke to the hearts of people that have a strong interest in animal behavior. Dr. Grandin even took many questions at the end of her presentation to address lingering thoughts. Afterward, Barnes and Noble sold copies of all Dr. Grandin’s books for a book signing event. Refreshments and cookies were provided to all that attended.

May 3, 2010
The Behavior Club co-sponsored a lunch and wetlab with the Wildlife and Zoological Medicine Club to promote behavioral awareness in non-traditional animal species. Lisa Davis, who heads the behavioral husbandry department at The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot in Orlando, came to speak to the 55 students about behavioral husbandry and its impact and the benefits to veterinary medicine. She talked about their training of the stingrays and fish in their collection. She told the students how their training has impacted the health of the animals as well as the ease at which veterinarians can access and perform physical exams on these species without the stress of catch and restraint. In addition, Ms. Davis held a workshop titled "Activities for Understanding The Veterinarian's Role in Zoo Training and Enrichment" where she spoke in open format to the 10 students that attended. She also had the students play games with a clicker to have them understand the difficulty of timing the clicker with the desired behavior. These lessons were invaluable to the zoo and wildlife focused students as well as the behavior students to show the integration of how behavioral training can influence the health of a variety of different species.

Behavior Research Projects Conducted by Club Members

Summer Research Fellowship student, Regina Lawson, was selected to work on behavioral changes in FIV infected cats this summer. FIV serves as an important animal model for HIV, used to better understand physiological effects and response to treatment modalities. In humans, cognitive decline accompanies disease progression, but to date behavioral changes have not been adequately quantified in the feline model. Regina will establish valid endpoints for therapeutic monitoring, this project evaluates cognitive & motor function in FIV-infected laboratory cats compared to control cats over time. Assessment of behavior and motor function includes open field activity, T-maze learning and speed of navigation, as well as specific discrimination tests. These results will allow behavioral outcomes to be correlated with physiological changes and response to treatment in the infected cats. The project is part of a multidisciplinary approach to the development of therapeutics and will expose the student to many facets of the translational effort to treat lentivirus-associated neuroinflammation as well as provide specific training in the development of behavioral outcome measures for assessment of clinical efficacy.


Community Outreach and Public Education Organized by the Club or its Members

Our Secretary, Amy Lehman, has been working at a local veterinary practice and, under the guidance of the veterinary practitioner there, has assisted with puppy socialization and behavior cases to help a number of owners in the community with behavior counseling. Amy has also helped neighbors and friends with various disorders such as inter-dog aggression and fear-aggression.

The Behavior Club ran a fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Wake County Animal Shelter. Dr. Gruen, one of our behavior faculty members and behavior advisor at the shelter, had informed the club about the need for stimulation for the shelter dogs. The club sold the new Premier Products (Linkables™ and Pogo Plush™) to the school and for every three toys purchased, a new toy would be purchased for a shelter dog. To make ordering easier, our webmaster set up a link through our new website so that students, faculty, and staff could order online in the comfort of their own home. The club raised almost $300 to purchase new toys to help reduce destructive behaviors and decrease stress by providing the dogs with a task.

Volunteer activities of club members in the area of animal behavior

Club officers set-up and ran booths to promote our chapter of SCAVSAB at “Club Day” in the fall which was a day for 1st-3rd years to see what each club has to offer and why they should join. Officers also ran a booth for “Day on Campus” in the spring that was set up for the incoming class of 2014 which was set up in lieu of open house.

Other relevant activities of the behavior club or its members:

Six students were enrolled in the Animal Behavior Service Selective which was a week-long intensive course in which students explored topics of animal behavior and animal welfare relevant to veterinarians. During this course, animal behavior was observed at the Duke Lemur Center. Veterinarians, keepers, and researchers discussed their interactions with resident animals and methods use to train animals to husbandry techniques, such as physical examination, venipuncture, and medication administration. Environmental enrichment techniques employed by the NCSU-CVM Laboratory Animal Resources facility was also observed. Several “teaching” dogs were trained to accept restraint, using positive based techniques, to demonstrate methods of reducing stress and enhancing safety in animal handling. In addition, common behavior problems seen in companion-animal veterinary practice, such as separation anxiety, house-soiling, and fear aggression was presented in descriptive and video format. Collecting a history, making a diagnosis, and treating such problems were important topics discussed. Since treating behavior problems is an important part of modern veterinary practice to avoid animal abandonment, relegation to animal shelters, and euthanasia, each student selected a behavior problem and lead discussion of current management practices. These activities allowed the students to gain a broader understanding of animal behavior and how to use modification and enrichment to guide treatment plans.

This year, the Behavior Club partnered again with Premier Products to offer a variety of behaviorally stimulating products for all the pets at the CVM for the Christmas time sale. It highlighted toys that would promote the behavioral health of our pets and hopefully decrease undesirable behaviors that are exhibited when pets are bored. Products included the Kibble Nibble, Tug-a-Jug, Bristle Bone, and Squirrel Dude for the dogs in addition to the Buddy-Ohs! Buddy Berries, and Gnawhide treats that could be used to fill these toys for hours of entertainment. In addition, Gentle Leaders and the Easy Walk Harness were sold to promote good behavior on leash walks. For the cat fans, we offered Catnapzzzz Cloud Beds and the Come With Me Kitty Harness and Bungee Leash. As part of a new focus, we were also able to off the new Kitty Twist n Treat that would help to keep all the kitties mentally stimulated like their canine counterparts. The club made over $500 profit on the selection of toys and promoted the mental health of all our pets. The money raised from both of these fundraisers helped us to provide lunches for the students at all of our meetings this year which encourages more students to attend and hear about how behavioral medicine can and will impact their careers. The more students we can encourage to come to the meetings and learn about and appreciate the importance of behavior, the better our profession will be at dealing with behavioral issues in the future.

The club again offered the opportunity to attend the Journal Club sessions with Dr. Sherman and Dr. Gruen. They invited interested students to attend their journal discussions every other Friday which focused on current behavioral topics and research. These topics included feline communication, canine aggression, and human handling as inspired by Temple Grandin.

As part of an effort to increase awareness of club activities, the club sought out and found a webmaster to help initiate a new website for the NCSU Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. We wanted to make all our students aware of what to expect when they joined the club. We also wanted to provide prospective students with more information on the types of things they can get involved with if they choose to come to NCSU CVM. Rob Hutchison did an excellent job at making the site professional and informative. It includes current and past activities and can be set up for online product sales to students, faculty and staff via a password protected site. This will be of great benefit to the club and the school because it helps to promote an essential part of veterinary medicine and shows that the school is supportive of these endeavors. The website can be viewed at

NCSU SCAVSAB was recognized internationally through the March Kong Newsletter, vol 18. An article was sent out that detailed Mark Hine’s visit to the college. It featured the topics discussed and how the students benefited from the talk. It was written and submitted by the club president, Annie Gebhard and included a photo of Dr. Sherman and Annie as well as a photo of Annie with her dog. The article can be viewed at


The NCSU SCAVSAB Chapter has had a very active year, with excellent veterinary student attendance at educational lectures and activities. Successful fundraising events have enabled the club to sponsor events and contribute to enrichment toys for dogs at the Wake County Animal Adoption Center.


SCAVSAB 2007-2008 Chapter Activities 


Kristen S. Dewey, NCSU-CVM Class of 2009, Chapter President

6408 Battleford Drive
Raleigh, NC 27613 

Barbara L. Sherman, MS, PhD, DVM, DCAVB, Faculty Advisor
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences
North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine
4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606-1499 

Behavior Meetings Club Organized: 

Sept 4th, 2007

Dr. Pamela May of Eli Lilly Companion Animal Health spoke about the new behavioral drug Reconcile.  Her talk was titled: New Answers for Canine Separation Anxiety.  Since so many of the students own rescued dogs and are gone long hours, canine separation anxiety is a common problem.  The approximately 90 students in attendance really enjoyed learning about Reconcile and the BOND training plan! 

October 5, 2007

Dr. Flannigan, an adjunct faculty member (for behavior) in DOCS, and a diplomate of the ACVB, spoke on Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats. This was a joint meeting with the SCAAFP (Feline Club), and both clubs felt like this was an area often neglected by both students and vets.  There were approximately 65 students at the meeting, and they got to hear some great ideas—everything from kitty-proof fences to toilet-paper rolls being turned into treat dispensing toys! 

November 9, 2007

Drs. Miller and Bergl from the North Carolina Zoo (in Asheboro, NC) spoke about behavioral research (and general research) opportunities at the NC Zoo and beyond.  The approximately 50 students who attended this lunch meeting got an appreciation for the importance of understanding the overall behavior of a species when trying to research any aspect of its’ life. 

March 12, 2008

Linda Tellington-Jones (inventor of the famous T-Touch Technique for reducing stress in animals and people) gave a presentation about and demonstration of the T-Touch Technique in dogs.  Two club members brought their dogs to the lunch for the demonstration.  We had approximately 60 students in attendance, and about 15 people from elsewhere within the CVM who came to see the presentation.  There was also an afternoon session for the Equine Club members, demonstrating the T-Touch Technique in horses. 

April 3, 2008

Dr. R.K. Anderson, inventor of the Gentle Leader and Easy-Walk Harness, gave a dinner meeting about behavioral modification using the Gentle Leader, and then followed this up with a hands-on fitting demonstration/wet-lab.  Dinner was served for all 50 students who signed up, and each student was given a Gentle Leader or an Easy-Walk Harness (donated by Dr. Anderson, students had to sign up for one or the other).  Students were encouraged to bring their dogs with them to the meeting to ensure a proper fit of the headcollar or harness.  It was a fun evening, and Dr. Anderson had lots of great videos to share off his website.  The dogs enjoyed the meeting, too, and the highlight of the evening was when a video (demonstrating sensitization to a doorbell with the aid of the Gentle Leader), kept having a doorbell ring—and each time it rang all of the dogs in the room started barking!!  This was BEFORE they got their Gentle-Leaders, and so many of the students were absolutely amazed at the often-immediate calming effect that the headcollars had on their dogs.  We got great feedback from the students, and Dr. Anderson was impressed with how smoothly the evening went. 

Behavior Meetings Club Members Attended 

ACVB/AVSAB Combined Meeting Paper Session and AVMA Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, July 16th, 2007 – Attended by Kristen Dewey, Chapter President 

Volunteer activities of club members in the area of animal behavior 

This year club officers set-up and ran booths to promote our chapter of SCAVSAB at “Club Day” in the Fall (a day for 1st-3rd years to see what each club has to offer and which ones they should join) and “Day on Campus” in the Spring (this was for the incoming class of 2012—it was similar to club day in the Fall, and was in lieu of open house, which was cancelled due to construction on our campus this year).  We had 45 SCAVSAB members this year, so our officers obviously did a fabulous job!!! 

We also continued a project that we started last year called the “Shelter Manners” program.  We would have groups of 5-6 students go out to the Wake County Animal Shelter on weekends and work with Dr. Barbara Sherman, Dr. Margaret Gruen, and/or BJ Welker, a talented dog motivator (she prefers this word to “trainer!”).  There would be a brief orientation for new volunteers, and then each student would bring a dog (selected by the shelter has having some specific issue), and then the student would work with that dog to try to teach it basic “manners” and also to work past whatever problem was identified.  Some dogs were leash-pullers, others tended to jump up on people, and some others were just extremely fearful.  It was really amazing the difference we were able to make in these dogs in just one session, and we felt like we were making a real difference in their lives if we could increase their chances of getting adopted.  Unfortunately, after the fall semester this program had to be put on hold indefinitely because of several disease outbreaks at the shelter.  We are hoping that this program, or perhaps one similar to it, can continue next fall.  We would like to team up with the SCAAFP and work with carrier-training cats or just generally socializing the felines at the shelter. 

Other relevant activities of the behavior club or its members

Four of our club members (including our vice president and president) are enrolled in the Animal Behavior Service Selective—a year-long course in which students are assigned times to come in pairs and observe our behavior resident, Dr. Margaret Gruen, on Saturdays as she handles behavioral cases here at the CVM.  It is a phenomenal way for students to experience first-hand what a behavioral veterinary visit is all about, and this is the only way to get this kind of experience at our school since the Behavior Service is not able to take on 4th-year students yet.  In this selective, students are able to witness the handling of cases of dog aggression, separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, inappropriate elimination in cats, and a host of other problems.  Some clinic appointments are for desensitization, and the students get to see the amazing results that can be achieved, and how quickly they can happen. 

Several club members (including our president and shelter representative) took another behavioral selective in the fall, entitled “Animal Behavior and Welfare.”  This 2-week selective was taught by Dr. Sherman and Dr. Gruen, and focused on everything from the treatment of basic behavioral problems in domestic animals to the training of medical behaviors on exotic species at the zoo.  Class members even got to go on a behind-the-scenes tour at the zoo to see the daily training of gorillas, macaques and sea lions!  At the end of the class, students prepared a presentation on the topic of their choice.  SCAVSAB shelter rep, Megan Antes, took videos of herself teaching her young puppy to target train and do several other first-time behaviors.  Megan has taught puppy classes before, and plans to do this in her practice someday, and this was a good way for her to show everyone what she can do!  SCAVSAB president, Kristen Dewey, gave a presentation about her neighbor’s dog (whom she walks once a week).  This dog was your typical “out-of-control” dog that gets inconsistent or incorrect feedback from his owner, and Kristen addressed all of his many issues and how best to correct/modify them.  She then took what she had learned and has been helping her neighbor with the dog ever since, and much improvement has been seen in the dog’s behavior! 

For the second year in a row, our chapter president (Kristen Dewey) took on the added role of chapter fundraiser.  She held a CVM-wide animal photography contest, and the >300 entries were judged by Wendy Savage, a biomedical photographer for the CVM.  The winners were put into a 2008 NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Calendar.  These were sold for $13-15/each, and the chapter made $5-7 profit for each of the 240 calendars sold.  The calendars were sold through pre-orders at the CVM, at the North Carolina State Fair, and at the North Carolina Veterinary Conference.  The money raised from this fundraiser allowed us to provide lunch or dinner at all of our meetings this year, and that definitely encourages students to attend.  And the more students we can get to come to the meetings and learn about/appreciate the importance of behavior, then hopefully the better our profession will be at dealing with behavioral issues in the future