Dog behavior consultants are specialists who teach pet owners how to address specific behavioral issues with their animals, such as obedience training, fearful behaviors, aggression or reactivity. Certified by professional certifying organizations and often having both academic and practical experience. Dog trainers may also qualify as dog behaviorists; it is important for owners and potential clients to differentiate between the two professions when working with anyone involved with your pets’ care.
Animal training and behavior fields are currently unregulated, meaning anyone can set themselves up as an animal trainer or behaviorist and charge money for services rendered. While this is not necessarily bad news; however, it can make it more challenging to know exactly who you’re dealing with when hiring professional services – particularly within dog training where there are multiple methods used by various professionals.
Some trainers employ controversial training methods such as negative reinforcement (using treats or collar to curb unwanted behavior) to teach clients to better interact with their dogs. Such practices have come under scrutiny by professional organizations like APDT and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants; by contrast, dog behavior consultants certified by either Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers or International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants will have undergone years of rigorous training, research and study before qualifying as qualified to treat pet behavioral problems.
Dog behavior consultants must not only understand a range of techniques, but must also be familiar with how various factors influence an animal’s behavior, including environmental antecedents, basic animal learning theory, effects of punishment on behavior and any other elements that influence learning and behavior in certain ways. Dog behavior consultants are required to remain up-to-date with new developments within animal behavior through reading scientific literature as well as attending seminars or webinars on such subjects.
A veterinary behaviorist is a type of dog behavior consultant licensed by the veterinary medical board to treat problems related to fear, aggression and compulsive behaviors in a clinical environment. These professionals must complete four years of veterinary school followed by internship and three year residency as well as writing at least one peer reviewed article about animal behavior as part of their training for licensure to practice veterinary medicine.
Sometimes it may be necessary for a dog behavior consultant to refer their client to a trainer if they require help with one particular skill (like obedience). While there are trainers that specialize in treating dog behavior issues such as aggression or reactivity. It would be prudent for clients to seek out trainers with certification by Dip ACVB (Dog Behavior Certification and Verification Board).