Dog behavior specialists are an invaluable asset when it comes to solving behavioral issues in canines. More than just trainers specializing in canine training, dog behavior specialists act much like human psychologists in offering counseling services for fear and aggression issues as well as common behavioral problems like barking. Behavior experts use scientifically supported methods such as teaching or counseling techniques and usually collaborate closely with veterinarians in choosing effective behavioral medications for their clients.
But with so many people out there claiming to be behavior specialists, it can be daunting trying to locate one suitable for both you and your pet. Some behavior specialists specialize specifically in canine behavior training while others hold higher credentialing such as CAAB or ACAAB to provide expertise beyond training alone. Ideally, look for someone with a strong background in animal psychology/behavior science who embraces using non-punitive approaches rather than punishment-based training techniques to change behavior.
When looking for a dog behavior specialist near me, begin your search by seeking professionals certified through one of the established canine behavior science organizations, such as AVSAB, CCPDT, IAABC, ABS or ACAAB. Each of these groups adhere to a code of ethics prohibiting any form of animal abuse or force during their work, with many professionals trained in nonaversive techniques if applicable. Individuals holding CAAB or ACAAB certification represent individuals who have achieved the highest credentialing available within this field.
Begin your investigation at your vet’s, who is best qualified to rule out any medical conditions that might be contributing to or exacerbating behavioral problems in your pet. For instance, if a nine-week-old puppy suddenly starts peeing indoors it could be an indicator of urinary tract infection or another health concern that needs further evaluation.
Once you’ve met with your vet and researched your dog’s issue, do some more research and write down details regarding its symptoms. Doing this before meeting with a specialist will allow you to clearly communicate its problems while seeking guidance from their behaviorist.
When searching for a dog behavior specialist, look for someone licensed as a business and insured in case any unexpected events arise during treatment. Be wary of behaviorists who guarantee results as this could indicate they’re using unproven techniques instead of scientific ones to change behavior; most reputable behaviorists will be transparent with their approach when treating pet behavioral issues.