Do I Need a Dog Trainer or an Animal Behaviorist?
Article obtained from www.canines.com
When choosing an animal specialist for our beloved friend, we must ask ourselves two very important questions regarding the care of our dog: "What is the difference between a dog trainer and an animal behaviorist?" and, "Which spcialist do I need to see to solve the problems I have with my dog?" The answer to this question depends on what the problems are. Is the behavior normal or abnormal? Is the responding in or out of context? In other words, does the behavior make sense to you.
For example, if someone were to beat a dog with a stick into a corner, (heaven forbid), and he bit that person, this would be normal behavior since his safety is threatened. He is cornered and combat is his only viable natural response. However, if you feed your dog every day, then one day give him a bone to chew and he bites you when you try to take it away, this is abnormal behavior for a domestic dog raised by humans. This behavior requires treatment from a qualified Animal Behavior Professional.
Many dog problems are management problems.
Jumps on people and furniture
Excessive barking (in some cases)
Pulls on leash when walking
Chews inappropriate objects or furnishings
Does not come when called
Will not lie down and stay
Urinates and defecates in the home
These problems can be solved with obedience training. A Dog Trainer or dog obedience instructor may be qualified to train this dog. You should look for a trainer that has graduated from training schools or internship programs. I also feel that a trainer or instructor should at least have a BA or BS in psychology, biology or some similar field of study.
Obedience training establishes a communication system between you and your dog, teaches the dog to understand and follow commands, and establishes the family members as dominant figures (leaders) in the social hierarchy of the family. In the absence of obedience training, a dog who jumps, chews, barks and is generally dominant is simply being a dog, doing the things he would do to survive in the wild. Can you blame him if he was never properly taught what we expect of him? Obedience training.can be done by instruction, (the instructor teaches you how to train your dog), or you can send your dog to a "sleep-away" training program. In this case, be sure to get a few veterinary referrals and check out the facility. Is it properly licensed and inspected? What are the credentials of the staff? Are they Better Business Bureau members?
In some cases, there are inappropriate and sometimes "abnormal behaviors" that, if left untreated, may result in the dog being removed from the family because of his behavior. This often means the dog is brought to an animal control shelter where, in most cases, your pet will be killed (euthanasia) because there is no room.
With all the opportunities out there to help you and your best friend be the best of pals, killing your dog is the last and very final solution!
An Animal Behaviorist is an academically trained specialist (usually he or she has completed graduate work in psychology including learning processes, comparative psychology psycho-neurology, psycho-biology , zoology or the equivalent) and additional education and experience in dog training and canine behavior. They should posses a Masters degree or higher or should at least be enrolled in such a program. An Animal Behaviorist is an academically trained specialist, (usually he or she has completed graduate work in psychology including learning processes, comparative psychology psycho-neurology, psycho-biology, zoology or the equivalent), in conjuntion with additional education and experience in dog training and canine behavior.
Some examples of behavior problems that an Animal Behaviorist treats includes phobias, fears, anxiety, aggression (there are many types), OCDs (Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors), to name a few. IN MOST CASES A DOG TRAINER IS NOT QUALIFIED TO TREAT THESE CASES AND CAN SOMETIMES CAUSE MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD.
When selecting a Behaviorist look into his or her educational qualifications as described above. Check whether they have a treatment facility, and always get a veterinarian's reference or two. Behaviorists usually charge on an hourly basis unless an obedience program is indicated. Rates are based on the type of program.