Young behaviorist comforts a white dog.Young behaviorist comforts a white dog.
Young behaviorist comforts a white dog.Young behaviorist comforts a white dog.

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If you are having issues with your dog’s behavior, maybe you should consult with a dog behaviorist. Do you know what a dog behaviorist is? And did you know that there is a difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist?

To better understand the right option for you and your dog, it’s important to know the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist.

A dog trainer can help train your dog to be the perfect companion. Some dogs require training in the basics such as sit, stay, come, down and go to your space. Maybe your dog needs to learn how to walk nicely on a leash. A dog trainer may teach a dog not to jump or dig in the trash. And some dog trainers provide more advanced dog training. Before you contact a dog trainer, it is best to know exactly what kind of training you are looking for and to make sure that the trainer is equipped to provide those services.

A dog with behavior problems can be difficult to live with, and a dog behaviorist can help. Today, more and more dog owners are turning to a dog behaviorist to solve their dog behavior issues.

What Does a Dog Behaviorist Do?

A dog behaviorist will work with you to help manage and prevent dog behavior problems. A dog behaviorist is a trained expert in the field of animal behavior and animal learning with a wealth of scientific tools such as behavior modification.

A dog behaviorist loves animals and he studies them to learn about their behavior. A dog behaviorist 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 behavior by examining his environment. They look for reasons why the dog is acting out.

Dogs with emotional problems can misbehave in many ways. The first step the dog behaviorist will take will be to do a complete evaluation of your dog. He will help identify the cause of your dog’s problems, then, he will create a customized treatment plan to help your dog deal with his problems. The dog behaviorist will work directly with you to teach you how to carry out the treatment plan successfully, and he will follow up with you if you experience any issues.

There can be many reasons for a dog’s bad behavior. There could be another pet in the home that is making him feel uncomfortable, or the dog may have a medical problem that’s causing him to misbehave. If you’ve adopted a dog that has lived in another home, he may have picked up his problems before coming to you. Or, you may have gotten a dog breed that’s not right for your home environment – some dogs need more one-on-one time with their humans, some need more room to run and play and some may not do well with other pets in the home.

A dog behaviorist will visit the pet owner’s home to personally observe the pet as he interacts with the family. A dog behaviorist isn’t interested in training – he’s interested in finding the cause of the dog behavior problem. Once he has observed the pet in his home environment, he will work with the owner to make the proper changes to the pet’s environment. If medication is needed to manage a medical condition, a dog behaviorist will also work directly with your dog’s veterinarian.

Animal shelters are filled with dogs whose owners didn’t know how to help them. Because of continued dog behavior problems, these dog owners eventually became so frustrated that they gave up. But today many pet shelters work directly with dog behaviorists to help them deal with problem pets who have been surrendered by their owners. By working with a dog behaviorist, many of these surrendered dogs will increase their chances of finding a new home.

Destructive dogs can benefit greatly from a dog behaviorist. There can be many causes to your dog’s destructive behavior, and a dog behaviorist can help to pinpoint the problem so you can deal with it head on. Most dogs become destructive when they are bored, but some dogs become destructive because they suffer from separation anxiety. A good dog behaviorist will know the difference and help you to address the underlying issue.

Puppies that are not properly socialized with human interaction at a young age tend to grow into unstable dogs. If you are living with a dog that cannot be approached by anyone other than you, it is important to get help quickly. Eventually, these puppies become fear biters or they become very aggressive.

How to Choose a Dog Behaviorist

Before choosing a dog behaviorist, you should do your homework. This is an unregulated field, and unfortunately, anyone can call himself a “dog behaviorist” regardless of his actual training. That’s why it’s so important to look for a dog behaviorist with the right education and experience. As a good rule of thumb, look for dog behaviorists who are certified with a respected organization like the Animal Behavior Society (ABS). When choosing a dog behaviorist, remember that there are levels of expertise in the field, from trainers and behavior consultants to certified applied animal behaviorists and board-certified veterinary behaviorists.

Speak to your veterinarian and ask him or her to refer you to a good dog behaviorist in your area.

To learn more about dog behavior, go to our article Understanding Bad Dog Behavior.

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