Also non-Dutch dog and cat owners can ask me for help.
Who am I?
My name is Merel Van der Mullen, 27 years old and living in Maastricht together with my partner Ward, 2 cats named Hunkie & Amy and my horse Marley. Personally, I have always liked having animals around me. My love for animals remained when I grew up and therefore I started at a vet-tech study, which I successfully completed. Afterwards I followed another higher education and university study human health, but this was not living up to my expectations. In 2014, I was able to start work as a vet tech and I encountered a cat behavioural expert. That made me decide that I wanted to broaden my knowledge about animals in terms of behaviour. After completing the 2-year study “BSc Applied Animal Behaviour” at University Centre Sparsholt in 2017, I received a specialization in dogs and cat behaviour.
Behavioural expert & pet sitting – dog walking service
In July 2016, I founded my behavioural expert practice in the area Maastricht, Heerlen, Sittard and the Belgium side of Limburg. Later in 2017 I expanded my practice with a pet sitting and dog walking service. You can find more information on www.dieren-oppas.nl/english.
How do I work?
Understanding the behaviour of the animal comes first during the treatment plans. An animal never “just” does anything; literally, there is a reason for everything it does. It is up to us to find what specific reason the pet has and to transform unwanted behaviour into desired behaviour. For this to happen, we have to learn how to “read” an animal. With every position of the body, head, ears, eyes, tail etc. an animal tries to tell us something and I will teach you how to recognise all that.
Changing behaviour takes time and a quick fix never fixes the underlying issues. If you’re experiencing unwanted behaviour we have to understand that this behaviour did not appear in just a day. It took several weeks, months or even years to develop. To undo unwanted behaviour cannot be solved in 1 day.
My working method is gentle and kind for the animal. I will explain to you how your animal is feeling and why it is feeling like this. Problematic behaviour often arises from fear, but we must recognise fear. By initially giving an animal the space to observe the situation, it can think about how it wants to respond.
I offer several different options to help you and your pet(s).
- Problem behaviour in dogs and cats
- Puppy & Kitten behaviour advise
- Pet sitting service
- Dog walking service
All consultations will take place at your home or another chosen location.
Behaviour related problems
Below you can find some of the unwanted behavioural issues your dog or cat can show. Do you experience another issue which is not listed? Please do not hesitate to contact me, I can help you with all kind of behavioural issues.
- Excessive barking in the house
- Pulling and lashing out on the line
- Seperation anxiety
- All kinds of fears and traumas
- Aggression related problems
- Peeing or spraying problems
- Excessive licking (usually seen with cats)
- Eating inedible objects (pica)
A house consultation takes approximately 1.5-2 hours. First an intake is held to map the problem, after which an appointment is made for a home visitation. During the consultation, we will observe the problem and animal-friendly techniques and exercises will tackle the problem (positive reinforcement). After the consultation you will receive an extended report of everything we talked about (and that is a lot!). Two weeks after the consultation you will receive a follow up email to track how your training is going.
It is important that a veterinarian excludes medical causes that can cause behaviour problems. If your pet is e.g. in pain, and we try to solve the problem with behavioural techniques the cause is not tackled. First the pain has to be reviewed by a vet and solved before using behaviour techniques.
Prices from January 1, 2019, excluding travel costs:
- Total package (as listed above): € 90.00
- Follow-up house consultation: € 60.00
- Total package + 1 follow-up house consultation: € 145.00
- Total package + 2 follow-up house consultations: € 185.00