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When trying to find the right dog professional to meet your needs you will first need to know the difference between a dog Trainer and a Dog behaviourist.
dog behaviourist works to understand why a dog may behave in a certain manner. They have to consider the dogs motives for both good and bad behaviour. As opposed to a dog trainer who aims to teach individuals dogs the behaviour as asked by their owner. Whether this is for working, performing or pet dogs. Behaviourists provide the ‘why‘ in dog behaviour and how to understand it and trainers provide the ‘how‘ to correct it.
A dog behaviourist will work with you to help manage and prevent your dog’s behaviour issues.
A dog behaviourist will try to understand why a dog does the things he does and why he acts in certain ways. They try to find explanations for the dog’s behaviour by examining his environment, and look for reasons why the dog is acting out. They will create a customized treatment plan to help your dog deal with his problems.
Behavioural problems in dogs are common, and often misunderstood. They are also sadly one of the most common reasons for dogs to be given up for re-homing.
We love our dogs unconditionally which can then sometimes lead to our precious pups getting away with things they shouldn’t.
If you are worried about your dogs behaviour the first thing you should do is take them a vet to have a doggie MOT. The vet can check that there is no medical reason affecting your dog’s behaviour. Things like headaches, ear or urine infections, thyroid and dental issues or even arthritis or old age can be explanations for the bad behaviour and once diagnosed and treated you could see a massive change in your dog’s behaviour and mood.
You should seek the help of a professional dog behaviourist if your dog is showing any of the following emotional and behaviour problems:
A dog behaviourist is involved in the understanding of behaviour in several environments from the vets to their home. All formal dog behaviourists are certified with either an:
• Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist (ACAAB)
• Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist (CAAB), or
• International Association of Behaviour Consultants certified (IAABC).
• A master of science
• A minimum of two years of work experience in animal behaviour
• 30-semester credits of behavioural science (including animal behaviour, learning, and psychology)
A CAAB applicant must hold:
• A science-based doctorate and five years of work experience
• A veterinary medicine doctorate, two years supervised residency and three years of work experience
As well as a contribution to the annual Animal Behaviour Society (ABS) meeting through a talk or presentation.
Dog trainers work with dogs to teach them basic obedience, and in some cases, advanced performance activities. Some dog trainers may work with dogs to prepare them for shows or competitions and some dog trainers will specialise in training and preparing service dogs to assist humans with medical or mental health needs.
• Reinforcement: is when an action is either encouraged or discouraged through reinforcement. If a dog sits or stays, they may be given a treat, if they take food they may be scolded. This is training through reinforcement.
• Association: A popular example of this is clicker training. When a dog hears the clicker being used repeatedly when sitting and receiving a treat, they will repeat the action. Clicker training can also be used to prevent an action.
• Pack mentality: This method works on the idea that owners should be considered the alpha in their home situation. Using strict boundaries is the base rule in this technique. A few examples of this are not letting them on furniture and not letting them lead on walks. The owner should control the eye contact given and received by the dog.
• Relationship-based training: When a trainer works to understand an individual’s behaviour and what causes this. We call it relationship-based training. The trainer may see unwanted behaviour, such as excessive barking and work to understand why this is happening. Then they may choose a way to move forward.
Dog trainers do not require licensing of any kind to perform their trade. But for recognized certification, they will have to apply to their board of choice and meet the needs. These may range from age, work experience, passing a written exam or demonstrate training.