What Is the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Behaviorist?

There are many aspects of dog behavior that can confuse novice pet owners. One of the most common is deciding what kind of professional to turn to for help with training their pet. It’s a significant choice and one that will affect the welfare and happiness of both animals and humans for some time to come. While DIY training might seem simple, they tend to be ineffective because, without specialized training, you might not be satisfied with the results. Off Leash, canine training LLC understands the importance of training your dog. We have come up with this guide to help you distinguish between a dog trainer and a behaviorist – as well as what sets them apart. You could try here for the best dog training services.

What Is a Dog Trainer?

Firstly, a dog trainer is someone who can help you train your dog. Dog trainers have varying backgrounds and specialties, but the most common are those with a working dog background – people who have trained animals for shows or competitions. Some trainers have purely academic backgrounds, but they will have had professional training and certification in either case (working or academic). Once certified, they often work in schools or with private clients. However, not all trainers work with dogs. For example, some are oncologists or vet clinicians. Some train people’s other pets too – parrots, cats, rabbits and so on.

In our dog training context, they’re the ones who will teach you how to train your dog for obedience or behavioral problems. They’ll also help you choose a course of study if your dog has behavior issues that need specialized training methods.

What Is a Dog Behaviorist?

There are many kinds of specialist animal behaviorists (sometimes referred to as “a behavioral rehabilitation professional”). In this context, their job is to practice behavior therapy for companion animals, most commonly dogs and cats (although other species are also treated). They’re very well-known but are relatively new in the dog training field. In fact, before 1990, there was next to no training in animal behavior science for working animals (such as dogs or horses). There was very little in the academic study of animal behavior theory, apart from a few courses or PhDs.

Dog compliance training, which involves using a “clicker” (or small-signal marker) and reward-based reinforcement methods, is a relatively recent development. It’s this that has made the most significant impact on dog training today. Thanks to it, there’s now much greater public awareness of behavioral problems in dogs – and many more people with access to professional assistance.

What’s the Difference?

So, we’ve looked at the term “dog training” and the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist. Now let’s compare what constitutes both. To be a dog trainer, you’ll need to have certification from an accredited education provider, as well as work in another area (such as school or private clients). It’s also expected that you’ll own several dogs yourself and have had experience training them (from having your own dogs trained yourself to having them trained by other people).

As for what exactly you do once certified, that depends on the standards of your specific education provider. In general, though, most of them will involve continuing education (either online or face to face) and the provision of a portfolio showing evidence of your own work. Some dog trainers will also take part in shows and competitions to gain experience with working dogs. Some will hold an animal behavior degree; others will work as vets or vets’ assistants. Still, others may be working as pet therapists. There are many different routes to becoming a dog trainer. So, it’s worth getting some guidance from schools and associations to find out what’s involved for you.

Looking for Dog Training Services?

Suppose you’re looking for dog training advice or help. In that case, it’s not always easy to find a qualified professional who can offer you everything you need. If you intend to train your own dog from scratch, the chances are you’ll need to find your way through the legal and ethical issues before starting (as well as seeking advice from specialist animal behaviorists), while if you’re already using behavioral methods with your own pet, there may be an argument for switching over to a more structured course of study. However, many now recommend that these concerns are outweighed by the growing evidence-based standard of training that many professionals now hold. For dog training services, you can reach out to Off Leash Canine Training, LLC.