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

When it comes to understanding and managing your pet's behavior, it is important to know the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviorist. Dog trainers are experienced in training methods and how a dog relates to learning. Canine behaviorists have a thorough understanding of the mind of dogs and will use psychology to obtain the desired behavior. Applied animal behavior specialists focus on understanding animal behaviors and may work with pets that have behavioral problems.

Good behaviorists are experts in behavior modification and also deeply understand the normal behavior of the particular species being treated. They spend a lot of time advising humans on how they interact with their pets, but they are not trainers. Dog trainers, also known as behavior counselors or pet therapists, have different levels of knowledge and experience. Their training may include both formal and informal education, such as self-taught reading or professional classes.

Dog trainers teach specific skills, such as obedience, agility, tracking, and search and rescue. They can work with individual dogs or group classes. An applied animal behaviorist is a person with advanced university education (master's, master's or doctorate) and experience in the behavior of dogs, cats and other domestic animals. The CPDT-KA indicates that a

dog trainer

has passed a thorough exam and has at least 300 hours of experience in

dog training


To better understand what the professionals mentioned above are going to do, it is helpful to learn the difference between training and behavior management. Private sessions with a coach, the CAAB or the ACVB Dip are better for addressing specific behavioral problems, such as phobias, separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructive chewing, and aggression. Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT) are individuals who have earned their degree by passing a standardized test administered by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. The CBCC-KA indicates that a canine behavior consultant has passed a comprehensive behavior modification exam and has at least 300 hours of experience in canine behavior consulting.

It is important to make sure you hire the right type of professional for your goals when you seek help. Both the dog and the owner require patience and persistence, but people who love their dogs consider the cost of time and money to be a small price to pay for a loving companion.

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