Integrated clinical animal behaviour

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper I outline the drawbacks with the two main behavioural approaches to animal behaviour problems and argue that each alone is insufficient to underpin a field of clinical animal behaviour. Applied ethology offers an interest in an animal's spontaneous behaviour in natural contexts, understood within an ecological and evolutionary framework but lacks an awareness of mechanisms that can be manipulated to modify the behaviour of individual animals. Behaviourism in the form of Applied Behavior Analysis offers a toolkit of techniques for modifying the behaviour of individual animals, but has seldom been applied to non-human species, and often overlooks phylogenetic aspects of behaviour. Notwithstanding the historical animosities between the two fields of animal behaviour they are philosophically highly compatible - both being empiricist schools stemming ultimately from Darwin's insights. Though each individually is incomplete, I argue that an integrated approach that synthesizes the strengths of each holds great promise in helping the many animals who need our assistance to survive and thrive in human-dominated environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1250
Number of pages22
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2021


  • applied behaviour analysis
  • applied ethology
  • behaviourism
  • ethology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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