We’ve all heard of type A personalities, but veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta is in her own category—Type AAA. She is passionate about what she does and has more energy than a Border Collie; arguably, she’s simply a perfectionist.
In addition to her long list of credits, Radosta runs her specialty behavior practice in West Palm Beach, FL. She’s been published numerous times in peer-reviewed journals, and authored chapters in various textbooks including Handbook of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat and Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Consult. Radosta is also a contributing author of Decoding Your Cat, a book authored by various members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, expected to be released this year.
With her passion being behavior, she understands the value of positive reinforcement. She concedes, “I’m tough on myself and everyone around me. But I try to lead with empathy and kindness.”
Radosta is totally honest with her clients, but she says she learned a long time ago that pets don’t benefit if she’s snarky or judgmental. “I try to meet clients where they are, not where I think they should be,” she says.
Having said that, she doesn’t hesitate to quietly and with all her heart tell clients the truth as she sees it: “I wouldn’t want to lead your pet’s life, would you?” And she explains to the client the emotions that individual pet is likely feeling. She concludes that clients who seek out a behavior specialist may be more likely to listen to and accept her instructions. “They are in my office in the first place because they want to help their animal,” she adds.
Radosta’s personality is powerful but packed into a small package of just around five feet, and always looking and acting professional. She’s even known by other speakers for her fashion sense, including her highest of high heels as she speaks to veterinary professionals at meetings around the world. She also speaks to dog training professionals.
She was recently the keynote speaker at the Professional Pet Guild Dog Training Conference, and spoke on aggression in dogs. She says one trainer told her, “After your talk, I went to Google Scholar; I used to hate science and now I am excited about it. “
Radosta and I were chatting by phone, but I bet she popped out of her seat as she added, “For me, that’s the best compliment ever. I stick to the science—it’s my religion! Behavioral medicine is first and foremost medicine. And it’s all based on science.”
She’s implemented her goal to reach pets and their caretakers directly, where they live, via her new website, www.dognerds.thinkific.com .
“There’s an increasing awareness of emotional health, and that our animals—family members—may be suffering,” she says. “This is especially true for millennials and Gen Xers. Qualified help [for behavior problems] may not be readily available in all parts of the country. Even if you find a qualified trainer or behavior consultant, receiving additional support in the convenience of your home is of value.” Naturally, she hopes veterinary professionals become familiar with this new resource.
She’s also on the Fear Free Executive Council.
“I remember when and where I was on the road driving when Dr. Marty Becker phoned me about Fear Free,” she says. “When he explained what Fear Free is about, I said, ‘Hell yes, I’m in.’ I sensed his plan would turn everything around. Now, Fear Free is catching on around the world. We were losing the war before Fear Free, and now we’re winning,”
Radosta graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. “I knew I didn’t want to go into primary care, and was thinking about neurology, but I stink at surgery. Then thought about dermatology, but decided on behavior.”
She completed a residency in Behavioral Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and, as soon as she could, moved back to her native land of Southeast Florida.
“I believe I am best adapted for the culture and intensity of Southeast Florida,” she says. “I’m the one swerving in and out of traffic, just knowing my way here and feeling comfortable.”
Despite her relentless passion, Radosta has managed to find a work-life balance—at least one that works for her. Radosta’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabella, says mom is a ‘helicopter mom’, calling her ‘The World’s Greatest Smother’. Radosta laughs and replies, “I own it; it’s my badge of honor.”
Her husband, Scott, sells and supports medical devices for people.
They all share their home with Chewie, a black cat, and a Labrador Retriever named Maverick (AKA Mavelicious).
Radosta’s secret drug, she says, is running. She’s run three or four marathons, and recreationally runs regularly. Still, she says, “I’m in the middle of the pack as a runner, and I’m good with that. As a veterinary behaviorist, I would never settle—I am always striving to be at the top of my game; the best I can possibly give. I love what I do.” +