The right Behaviourist for the job

Already this morning I’ve taken six enquiries for help with dog behaviour, really desperate people, wits’ end, it’s all gone wrong for them with their beloved family member, they’re distressed, their lives are in turmoil. What will they do if they can’t live with their dog??

All of them have seen at least one “behaviourist”, most of them two or more, and the problem has just got worse. They don’t know they’ve not actually seen a behaviourist, they’ve seen someone who holds themselves out for sale as a behaviourist but in fact is nothing of the sort, doesn’t know what they don’t know, gives bits of advice that makes the dog worse. We’re talking serious cases of aggression and resource guarding; a few treats/squirty water/citronella spray/noisy discs/rattle can, a crate and a headcollar ain’t gonna fix those problems sunshine.

Most of them have already paid these unregistered, unqualified people more than they would have paid me to help them in a single behaviour programme, and my average fee is £847 so they’ve spent a lot of money to no good effect and now their behaviour budget is running low, just when they’ve found someone who actually can help them.

It’s the same with horses too; not so much other so-called behaviourists but usually a coach/trainer/instructor, a vet, a yard owner, an experienced friend has been asked to help before I get the desperation stakes call and again, when it’s a serious, complex problem with safety of horses and people at stake, more leg, a whip in each hand, sedation, waving plastic bags around on the end of schooling whips, changing the turnout routine, chasing them round a round pen, shaking a rope, clicker training, “controlling its flippin’ feet” (anyone want to add to this list?) Will Not Cut It.

Just get an ABTC Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist, people. ABTC Accredited? Not the same. (In fact, there isn’t even a standard for this published on the ABTC website, I’ve just noticed). ABTC Animal Trainer? Not the same. ABTC Animal Behaviour Instructor? Not the same. ABTC Animal Behaviour Technician? Not the same. Yes they are all great at what they do and yes, there are too many confusing categories, but for serious behaviour (not training) problems just go to the Clinical section, all the bells and whistles you need and it’s like getting the vet out, but for your animal’s mind. We are the animal equivalent of a clinical psychologist, unfortunately without (yet) the protected title, hence the issue I started this post with. We work as part of a vet-led team in the same way that your GP would refer you to a clinical psychologist or other professionally registered practitioner.

Is my animal doing something I don’t want them to do and I want them to stop? Behaviour person.

Do I want my animal to do something they don’t already know how to do? Trainer person.

I am less ranty in this video which says the same thing.

Published by animalbehaviourclinics

ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist (equine/canine), international author and speaker, expert witness, supervisor/mentor/lecturer

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