How to Become a Dog Behaviorist
Dog behaviorists are experts in animal learning who offer owners tools backed by science to manage problematic behaviors in their pets. They identify the source of any issues, develop an effective treatment plan, and teach owners how to implement it successfully. Many dog behaviorists also possess experience in animal training so can also assist with obedience training as needed.
Learning science, evolutionary psychology and ethology knowledge is invaluable in the world of dog behaviorist. Unfortunately, too many social media “dog behaviorists” don’t really know what they’re doing: watching too much TV about dogs has done nothing but confuse their efforts with reality.
Many young people dream of becoming dog behaviorists when they’re younger, yet few actually pursue this career right away due to various life events or obligations that prevent them from following their passion for this role. Your job, family responsibilities or any number of factors could prevent you from following your passion right away; finding balance in life may take time as you figure out how best to use your skills within the workforce.
Become a dog behaviorist by earning a bachelor’s degree in an animal-related field such as environmental studies or animal biology from one of several universities that offer such degrees, including courses focused on canines as potential behaviorists. Take as many courses that focus on animal and their behavioral dynamics to prepare yourself for this career path.
After you complete your undergraduate degree, seek internships or volunteer opportunities that provide hands-on experience in animal behaviorism. This will enable you to determine whether it fits with your skillset and personality as an ideal profession; make sure you find a trainer or behaviorist that meshes well with both yourself and the breed of dog you own.
Once you possess the appropriate qualifications, start searching for local trainers and behaviorists. Conducting interviews will allow you to gain more insight into each professional journey while helping determine which will provide the best care for your pet’s individual needs.
A good dog behaviorist must be able to explain complex issues in ways that are easy for pet owners to comprehend and they should also be willing to address any inquiries or concerns as they arise during treatment.
An important consideration when selecting a pet behaviorist is making sure they are certified and insured, to ensure they stay abreast of all the latest knowledge and techniques in their field and can assist you in fixing your pet’s issue swiftly and efficiently.
A good dog behaviorist uses various techniques to achieve desired results, including positive reinforcement, negative punishment and aversion therapy. Positive reinforcement uses treats as rewards to reward desired behavior while negative punishment uses the opposite strategy by taking away something which would normally reward. An example would be setting up gates or using a crate if your pup bites you; negative punishment might consist of simply moving yourself away from that situation as punishment.