Veterinary Transformation: Fear Free℠ Initiative

The Fear Free veterinary initiative is spreading in the veterinary community. Within the first year of launching, more than 10,000 individuals had enrolled. The Fear Free mission is to alleviate fear, anxiety, and stress in pets and to educate and inspire the people who care for pets. Fear Free is transforming how veterinary professionals practice medicine; the program teaches the veterinary team how to attend to not only the physical well-being of pets, but also the emotional well-being. Debbie Martin represents veterinary nurses and animal trainers on the Fear Free Executive Council. She has been involved with the development of the Fear Free courses and many of their projects. She will share with you some of the key concepts of Fear Free, such as considerate approach, gentle control, and touch gradient—and how modern animal trainers can become involved.

Debbie Martin

Debbie is a licensed Veterinary Technician in Texas, as well as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior (VTS-Behavior). Debbie received a bachelor of science degree in human ecology from The Ohio State University and an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology from Columbus State Community College. She has been a fulltime registered/licensed veterinary technician since 1996, and worked in private practice for 14 years.

Since 2005 Debbie has been the animal behavior technician for Veterinary Behavior Consultations, LLC. She assists Kenneth Martin, DVM, DACVB, during in-home behavior consultations.

Debbie is the co-owner of TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, LLC, a business focused on providing education on humane training and behavior modification and fostering collaboration between various animal behavior professions.

She is a contributing author and co-editor of the textbook Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses by Wiley-Blackwell. Debbie and Dr. Martin have also authored a book on normal development and training for dogs: Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog. The pair also authored the Karen Pryor Academy course, Puppy Start Right for Instructors. The course provides not only the thorough knowledge necessary to provide puppy socialization classes, but also a complete curriculum with supplemental materials.

Debbie’s combined experience in general practice and behavior specialty has fueled her passion for preventive behavior medicine and the Fear Free initiative. Debbie is honored to be representing veterinary technicians and animal trainers on the Fear Free executive committee.

When she is not seeing clients, writing, or speaking, Debbie enjoys spending time at home with her husband, three Belgian Malinois, and a beagle/Jack Russell mix on their 5-acre property, aptly named the Malamo, in Spicewood, Texas. She took up a new hobby recently, motorcycles, and is enjoying learning a new skill!