How Do I Decide Which Pet-Behavior Professional to Choose?

How Do I Decide Which Pet-Behavior Professional to Choose?

How Do I Decide Which Pet-Behavior Professional to Choose?
How Do I Decide Which Pet-Behavior Professional to Choose?

After you've decided between group classes, one-on-one private help and board-and-train, how do you figure out which professional is right for you and your pet? Your decision will be based on a number of factors, including the type of problem your pet has, the professional's education and experience and the availability of behaviorists and trainers in your area.

Ask the right questions.

We advise contacting more than one professional in your area so that you can compare their methods, credentials and experience before making a choice. Don't hire any professional without first thoroughly interviewing her or him and asking for a couple of references from former clients or veterinarians. A good behaviorist or trainer will be happy to speak with you about her or his qualifications, background and treatment or training methods.

Consider the nature of your pet's behavioral problem.

If your pet has a serious behavior problem that puts him, people or other animals at risk, or if he's developed a problem that causes him significant stress, seek an expert with both academic training (either a master's or doctoral degree) and practical experience. Although some CAABs, ACAABs and Dip ACVBs charge more per session than trainers, it's because they've acquired a great deal of knowledge through years of study and research.

Rule out physical problems.

If your pet has a behavior problem, contacting a trainer or a behaviorist is a great first step on the road to resolution. However, some behavior problems can be caused or exacerbated by physical problems. For example, if your nine-week-old puppy urinates indoors when you're not supervising him, he probably simply needs house training, but if your five-year-old dog who hasn't made a mistake in the house for years suddenly starts urinating indoors, you might have a medical condition on your hands.

Trainers and behaviorists specialize in pet behavior problems. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact your veterinarian immediately.


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