A dog behavior specialist is a little different from a dog trainer. Dog training covers an assortment of topics, mostly aimed at teaching your pet to behave based on the rules you set down. This includes sitting, waiting, stopping and down on command but there are many other commands as well based on your specific situation and needs.
Dog behavior, on the other hand, is more directed at certain issues that seem impossible to overcome. This can cover such things as odd behavior like attacking people and other pets, damaging property, running in circles and other obsessive behavior. Excessive submissiveness is also a behavior issue.
If you are training your dog, you can do most basic lessons yourself, provided you know the correct techniques. If you do not, it will take longer for your dog to understand the commands and obey them. When dog behavior interferes, you might not be able to train your dog until it is resolved.
When You Need to Contact a Dog Behavior Specialist
Specialists are a good choice because they will have dealt with your dog’s particular problem before and know exactly what must be done to overcome it. They also deal with a variety of dog types as well, giving them plenty of knowledge and experience in working with each breed’s unique personalities and characteristics.
In some cases, the behavior will be directly related to the breed’s natural instincts. Specialists will know exactly what to do.
How Do You Choose a Dog Behavior Specialist?
You will want to find a person who you like and with whom you have a good rapport. It’s not unlike seeking a therapist for yourself. If your first contact is unpleasant, chances are there’s a chemistry between you that will never work.
Ask specific questions related to your dog’s behavioral issues and peculiarities, for instance if your dog does not like men. Has this person dealt with these problems in the past and what were the results? Keep in mind that behavioral specialists do not come cheap, so you will want to be certain you are getting the best for your money.
Be sure to ask if any special devices will be used, such as shock collars or physical punishment. Beware of anyone who says they’ve never come across a problem they couldn’t fix. No one is perfect.
Find out if they have taken any dog behavior courses that qualifies them for this type of work. How long have they been doing it? See if you can get references from past clients to get their first-hand account of their experience.
Referrals are one of the best ways to find a good dog behaviorist, but make sure they got good results from this person. Consider, too, that some specialists will pay for referrals so the recommendation might not be reliable.
Always do your own homework, whether the dog behavior specialist was referred or you found the person on your own.