Finding the right behavior professional for your dog is one of the most critical decisions you will make as a dog owner and is a significant determining factor in your ability to live safely and happily with your best friend. Behavior problems, gone unaddressed, tend to grow in frequency. This often results in a trip to the shelter for the family pet, or worse, euthanasia. Training is life-saving for dogs.
Because dog training and behavior is an unregulated profession, literally anyone can start printing business cards today and market themselves as a trainer, behaviorist, whisperer, dog psychologist, animal communicator, etc. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has issued a position statement describing the various types of behavior professionals and how to choose the right one for your dog.
Certified animal behaviorists have at least a Master’s level degree in behavior and many have one or more doctorate degrees (DVM, PhD). To learn more about certification for animal behaviorists, visit the Animal Behavior Society website. In general, behaviorists consult with clients individually, and focus more on behavior modification for problems like separation anxiety, aggression, and fearfulness than teaching basic obedience behaviors. Many certified behaviorists will only see clients by referral from a veterinarian. Your behaviorist and veterinarian will likely work with each other to ensure your dog’s physical, as well as behavioral, health.
To learn more, read on for five great trainer directories which will help you locate a trainer in your area!
Association of Pet Dog Trainers: In addition to being one of the largest trainer directories, APDT has a great section for pet owners answering common FAQ’s you may have regarding your hiring decision.
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner search. Karen Pryor’s name is synonymous with innovation in the training community, and Karen is responsible for bringing the technology of clicker training from the exotic animal training community and into the hands of pet owners.
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants: IAABC certifies behavior professionals and certifies professionals in four species-specific areas: dog, cat, horse, and parrot behavior. Search the consultant locator to find a behavior consultant near you!
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers also provides tips for choosing a dog trainer as well as a directory of trainers from a variety of nations around the world.
Pat Miller is a well-known author and pioneer in the positive dog training community. Through her business, Peaceable Paws, Pat offers internship and apprentice programs, certifying trainers at a variety of levels including work with other species. You can visit the Peaceable Paws website to learn more about the various levels of certification and how to find a Pat Miller grad near you.