About Behaviour

Seaforth Veterinary Hospital through Sydney Animal Behaviour Service, SABS has been offering an animal behaviour consultation service since 1992. A registered specialist in animal behaviour, together with registered animal behaviour consultants, run the behaviour service. Consultations have involved dog, cat and bird behaviour problems such as inappropriate elimination, aggression, fears and phobias, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and many more
In order to help you better understand your pet's behaviour and then provide ways of modifying it, each consultation can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on the problem. Each pet is individually assessed and a behaviour modification program is recommended that takes into consideration not only the pet and its problems but also the whole family and their lifestyle. The focus of behaviour modification is very different from obedience training. Positive reinforcement is emphasised and the process does not involve punishment
A behaviour consultation is not a replacement for dog obedience training classes and obedience training is still an important part of teaching your dog good manners. However, behaviour problems are not the same as training problems. Many highly obedience trained dogs still require a behavioural consultation as their problem is not necessarily related to t raining, or lack thereof
A recheck visit is recommended 4-6 weeks later to assess how the program is going as well as to check medication if it has been prescribed. Further re-examination visits may be necessary and will be recommended if needed. Dr Kersti Seksel runs the service in association with Dr Grace Thurtell
Please note the phone number for the behaviour service is 9949 8511. our fax number is 9949 6364 is the same as Seaforth Vets

The Staff

Dr Kersti Seksel


Registered Veterinary Specialist, Behavioural Medicine
European Veterinary Specialist™ in Behavioural Medicine (Companion Animals).
Adjunct Associate Professor, Charles Sturt University

Adjunct Professor, University of Queensland
Certified Fear Free Professional


Kersti graduated in Veterinary Science from Sydney University and became very interested in animal behaviour while working overseas. To further her knowledge she went back to university graduating from Macquarie University with a BA in Behavioural Sciences with a major in psychology. In 1992 she began developing the program of Puppy Preschools in veterinary hospitals around Australia. This interest led her to complete her MA (Hons) degree by thesis on the long and short term behavioural effects of puppy socialisation and training programs. She is one of only three Fellows of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, the first Australian to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is also a diplomat of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. She has studied at Cornell University, USA, University of Pennsylvania, USA, Guelph University, Canada and Queensland University, Australia. In 1999 she spent 7 months on faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, based in the Department of Clinical Studies, Animal Behaviour Clinic. She now teaches veterinary students and veterinarians in Australia and overseas. She is the head tutor of the Distance Education course in Behavioural medicine at the Centre for Veterinary Education, Sydney University


Kersti has lectured at conferences and meetings in Australia, NZ, UK, Japan, China, Taiwan, Europe, Canada and USA and many other countries. She has published numerous papers on animal behaviour in scientific journals, magazines and periodicals and is a regular contributor to print and electronic media. Currently she is regularly asked to speak to the media on behaviour as well as columnist in magazines on pet behaviour problems. Her first book was  “Training Your Cat” but now she has written numerous book chapters for text books as well as for the public including Decoding Your Cat

Dr Grace Thurtell

BVSc, MANZCVS (Veterinary Behaviour)

Grace graduated from the University of Sydney in 2015 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science, and then worked in a small animal practice in Penrith

Before beginning her veterinary degree, Grace worked in various pet industries - boarding kennels, pet shops and veterinary hospitals, to improve her knowledge and skills with animals. During the course of her veterinary degree, Grace worked as a veterinary nurse at Terrey Hills Animal Hospital on the North Shore. Along with this experience, Grace grew up with cats, dogs, guinea pigs, mice, fish etc. and has regularly worked on her father's family sheep and cattle farm outside Orange NSW

Grace has always had a special interest in the behaviour of animals, and since graduating has been aiming to further develop her knowledge in this field of veterinary medicine. To start that journey she completed a year long online Continuing Veterinary Education course in small animal behaviour, through the Centre for Veterinary Education (CVE), University of Sydney. The head tutor is Dr Kersti Seksel, and one of the co tutors is Dr Jacqui Ley both of whom are registered specialists in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine. She also attended the weeklong Small Animal Behaviour Conference, run by the CVE organised by Dr Kersti Seksel featuring many specialists in the field including Dr Sarah Heath from the UK

Grace passed her membership examinations in 2021 and is now a member of the Australian New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Behaviour

Grace is undertaking her residency with SABS, and looks forward to the challenge of achieving her final goal of becoming a specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine