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Comparing Canine Behavior Specialists

Sometimes it is difficult to understand who can offer help, and why there is a difference in cost and services.  This article is designed to help you understand what each professional can offer, so you can make an informed decision regarding your dog’s problems

We have worked in the London Ontario areas  collaborating with many professionals and veterinarians for four years.

Certified Canine Behavior Consultant/Coach

A behavior consultant is highly trained. They must complete the equivalent of one term post secondary education each year. Their facility will be designed with equipment to help build a dog’s confidence, and mental stimulation. Most important their facility will be designed to protect dogs, separate them, and help them stay calm.

As with all professionals work with someone who has been certified by an industry wide organization, not an individual school.  At the moment International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and Certification Council for Professional  Dog Trainers are the only peer accepted organizations offering certification as a behaviorist.

Working with your veterinary a Behavior Consultant can help identify medical problems,  monitor the effects of drugs, and help your dog work with prescribed medications, to overcome neurological and health problems, chemical imbalances, and age related problems that cause reactivity and aggression in dogs. The goal is to improve your quality of life and enjoy living with your dog.

The goal is to use protocols and therapies proven to rebalance a dog’s chemical imbalances, correct unacceptable emotional responses to fear and stress, and use the dog’s mental and chemical systems to change their aggressive and reactive responses.

Certified Dog Behavior – Trainer

This is a dog trainer who has focused on training tasks and alternative behaviors which will make it easier to control the dog. Again, you want to  find a trainer who is certified through an organization like CCPDT, Karen Pryor’s Academy, or Behavior Adjustment Therapy.  It is very easy for someone to say they are a behavior trainer, but without their peers validating their claims you are paying for someone who is just ‘doing their best.’

Their methods focus on following training methods that work in most dogs, when their are no complicating factors. Their goal is behavior modification.

Certified Behaviorist – Veterinary

There is a sad lack of Certified Behaviorists in Ontario Canada. The waiting list is long. A Certified Behaviorist can prescribe drugs, identify medical issues.  There are some holistic practitioners and dog trainers who are using the term ‘behaviorist’ improperly.

Veterinarians very rarely study canine behavior and may not be qualified to help. It is your right to ask for a referral, or whether your vet has studied behavior.