When we adopted Larry 2 years ago, he was a petrified, trembling little ball of anxiety and aggression. He had been to countless foster homes, put through a litany of medication regimens, alternative diets, and training courses. Nothing seemed to work. He suffered severe abuse and almost complete isolation as a tiny puppy – when we got him at a year old he was completely unsocialized, untrusting and independent. We tried every recommendation in the book to make him comfortable, and although he progressed a little, he had severe behavioral and emotional issues that we had written off as unsolvable – until we found Dr. Malamed.
Her understanding of animal behavior and body language far eclipses any of the other programs we have been through. She was able to understand Larry on a level that no previous vet or trainer had before, and set us on a path to rebuild trust and reduce his general level of anxiety, moving extremely slowly so as not to push Larry too fast. This proved to be exactly what he needed. Other programs suggested cookie-cutter training methods that were far too anxiety provoking for such a sensitive dog, and in hindsight made things worse.
Under Dr. Malamed’s program, Larry’s results have been nothing short of remarkable. Within a few short weeks, we have seen Larry transform from a fearful and reactive dog to a pup who trusts us and is able to (finally) relax in his own home.
In addition to the suggested behavioral and household modifications, Dr. Malamed worked with us to go over Larry’s prescription history and identified medications and dosages that proved extremely helpful in taking the edge off of his severe anxiety.
She communicates in a way that is gentle and understanding and is a true pleasure to work with. We couldn’t be happier with our results and look forward to a continued partnership! By far the best thing we have ever done for our pup.
I took my pitmix rescue, Wilco, to Dr. Rachel Malamed at the California Veterinary Behavior Clinic in March of 2011 as he was suffering from severe separation anxiety. When I say severe, although he was not intentionally destructive, he pooped, peed, barked, sobbed, paced, drooled constantly while we were gone and would not touch his food or treats (he is ordinarily a glutton). Although he was fine in his crate when we were home, when we left he was even worse, eventually breaking out of it. He was absolutely miserable, a pathetic mess. This was all confirmed by video. Fortunately we work from home and he loves doggie daycare so he doesn’t need to be left alone often but no one wants to be held hostage or not be able to go out to a movie or dinner.
After an extensive written history, watching our videos and personal observation, Dr. Malamed prescribed a treatment plan to implement before leaving in addition to a detailed behavior modification plan. Over the course of 6 months Wilco gradually improved. Fortunately he had no adverse side effects from any of the meds. He was better with each subsequent departure. We weaned him off the medicine in November and although I won’t say he looks forward to out departures) he is calm, happy, enjoys his treats, no longer barks or shows any signs of anxiety while we’re gone.
Dr. Malamed is an excellent vet and has terrific “bedside manner” with both human and canine clients. And sure, people look at you funny when you tell them your dog has a shrink but you know what; when there is treatment available, why suffer? Whether you are a human or a dog.
Helios is a 7-year-old domestic short hair that I picked up off the street when he was approximately 3 months old. He’s been a wonderful love-bug and massively cuddly. He mostly gets along with my two other cats. However, when he was about 5-years old (after I had moved to a new place with a new roommate), he started urinating in inappropriate places (the couch, my bed – while I sleeping in it!, piles of laundry, and my shoes). He was still friendly and affectionate with me, but sometimes would pick fights with the other cats. I had tried extra play time, extra litter boxes, adding cat trees, adding extra feeding/watering stations, and still had trouble with this! I just accepted that my apartment was going to smell like cat pee, since giving him up to a shelter was not an option.
I took him to the vet for his annual check up and was referred to Dr. Malamed for more behavioral help due to the lack of a medical reason for the inappropriate urination. Dr. Malamed was very thourough in her assessment of Helios to make sure she had a good medical and behavioral history before she offered any interventions. Her positive energy was inspriring – it brought me hope that I could live differently. She helped me find some additional ways to help redirect him back to the litterbox, which has, for the most part been successful. He still “relapses” sometimes, but it is usually because I wasn’t as strict on the plan that Dr. Malamed had suggested and he can’t be blamed for that. With the help from Dr. Malamed, Helios and the other cats are happier, I’m happier, and guests like to come over since the apartment doesn’t smell like cat pee!
I was about to consider putting my cat down or relinquishing him to a shelter due to severe aggression (he bit my nose which required 30 stitches). I’ve had many cats during my lifetime but had never had one that acted like this. I soon discovered that Matchka was having stress related issues and within 2 weeks of seeing Dr. Rachel Malamed and following her recommendations he became much calmer and relaxed. PLEASE make an appointment with a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist to identify why the cat is acting the way it does and what the issue is. You could not find a more caring, loving, intuitive, or knowledgeable Doctor than Dr. Malamed. If not for her and her expertise I may have gotten rid of Matchka and not be enjoying the tight bond I now have with my boy! And because of Dr. Malamed’s knowledge, the human/animal bond grows stronger with each passing day. All I can say is thank you so much Dr. Rachel! You are worth every penny!