post image

What Can a Veterinary Behaviorist Do For My Dog?

What Is a Veterinary Behaviorist?

Before you can begin to ask what a veterinary behaviorist can do for your dog, you need to know what one is! The term is a very specific one that is reserved for those entitled to use it by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). But there are many vets who have a special interest in veterinary behavior and who promote behavioral medicine in their practice. The difference between vets with a special interest in animal behavior and veterinary behaviorists is one of training.

Qualifications for a Veterinary Behaviorist

To be a veterinary behaviorist you have to have either:

What Can a Veterinary Behaviorist Do for Your Dog?

So now that you know what a veterinary behaviorist is, we can start to consider what one can do to help you with your pet peeve. Quite a lot, as it happens:

Treatment with a Veterinary Behaviorist

Treatment should be holistic – that is, embracing all aspects of the dog’s life. Subjects that should be addressed include:

Seeking Help from a Veterinary Behaviorist For Your Dog

Not everyone requires a veterinary behaviorist to help resolve their dog’s behavior problem. Certified applied animal behaviorists (CAAB) are well suited to handle non-medical behavioral issues. Their psychology background makes them ideal when it comes to managing disturbed dogs that have suffered psychological trauma. The human medical equivalent of the certified applied animal behaviorist is the psychologist.

Veterinary behaviorists also have some background in learning theory and are able to counsel on psychological problems, but are vital when medical problems are involved or when psychopharmacologic treatment is indicated. Veterinary behaviorists, whether they like the analogy or not, function as animal psychiatrists.

Considering the huge annual canine mortality in the nation’s shelters and pounds due to “unmanageable” behavior problems, it is time that non-veterinary behaviorists, vets with a special interest in animal behavior and “board certified” veterinary behaviorists pull together to help keep families and their pet’s together.