My Vet just told me I need a Dog Behaviorist. Who do I choose? And what is a Dog Behaviorist anyway?
Learn what a Dog Behaviorist does, what attributes to look for when choosing one and how to find one in your area.
Ask your Vet
So, you did the right thing and checked with your vet first when your dog started growling at you. It is always a good idea to rule out any possible medical or physiological issues that could be causing or contributing to your dog’s recent change in behavior. Once your vet gives the all clear, what next?
What is a Dog Behaviorist?
You want to enlist the help of a Dog Behaviorist for your dog’s behavior issues. A behaviorist is going to use the science behind animal behavior and apply it to your dog. A good Dog Behaviorist will have completed formal education (like a Masters or PhD) and have extensive knowledge in the fields of Psychology, Animal Behavior, and Animal Learning Theory as well as many years of experience. A Dog Behaviorist is more than a dog trainer. For basic obedience training a good experienced trainer may be a good choice. If your dog is having more serious behavior problems stemming from fears, phobias, anxiety, and aggression, you will need a Dog Behaviorist. Long standing behavior problems like house soiling or barking that have been going on for a year or more would also benefit from having a Behaviorist come and analyze the behavior issues and what is contributing to them.
How do I choose a Dog Behaviorist?
Ask your vet or local pet retailer for a recommendation. Be sure to look for a Dog Behaviorist who is certified and has both the foundation and experience necessary to tackle the bigger problems of aggression, separation anxiety and fear issues. Ideally, you want someone to come to your home and spend time understanding your dog and evaluating their behavior in detail. Most Dog Behaviorists will spend an hour or two completing a thorough behavior history of your dog’s life and behavior issues. Then a solid behavior plan can be put in place that addresses all the factors that are contributing to your dog’s behavior issues, leading to the best chance of success.
Companion Animal Behavior offers in home behavior consultations for a variety of dog behavior issues. Not all behaviorists do house calls or include ongoing follow up after the initial consultation. We have been offering in home consultations with follow up plans since the 1990’s! In addition, we have always prided ourselves for offering innovative and successful solutions that are focused on the science of positive training and behavior modification, and will never suggest harsh or aversive methods, which often makes behavior worse.
What others are saying…
Thanks so much for your assistance in getting Bobby to this point. We are truly appreciative of your service and know that we wouldn’t be enjoying our time with Bobby as much without it.
We will definitely recommend you to any friends in need!
– Chris and Laurel, Springfield VA
Mel has been doing great! The biting is much less frequent, usually only happens when he’s super excited. I can’t thank you enough for your help!
– Diana F., Leesburg, VA
Contact Us today to see how we can help your dog.