What is a canine behaviourist?

A subject I have touched on before. What is a canine behaviourist? It seems that many trainers are now promoting themselves as behaviourists.

I am prompted again to comment. From an academic point of view, there are levels of behavioural training, ranging from 1 to 6. The only levels that can be described as qualified canine behaviourists are 5 & 6. anything below that is just ‘some’ study into the subject.

Unfortunately, this is an unregulated area so, ANYONE can call themselves a canine behaviourist. This seems to be a growing trend with dog trainers (a different discipline).  To clarify, I am educated in canine behaviour to level 5 – a 2-year course of study resulting in a fully qualified canine behaviourist. A level 3, for example, studies some aspects of canine behaviour for, usually, around 6 months – this DOES NOT qualify them as a canine behaviourist.

Because many dog trainers/behaviourists are members of various organisations (these are growing in numbers), it can be very confusing for those seeking advice.

I recently read a short newspaper piece talking about how to buy a dog; the advice came from a ‘leading, trainer and behaviourist.’ This individual had studied canine behaviour to level 3 – not a qualified behaviourist. This piqued my interest so I visited the website of this person. I was, not surprisingly, staggered by the fees being charged for various ‘behavioural packages’ – upwards of £750!  This is extortionate, particularly from a person who is not a qualified behaviourist.

I again would urge people to do some research before paying eye watering fees for behavioural advice. It is a minefield for those looking for help with their dogs. If you need training advice, go to a dog trainer. For behavioural advice, go to a canine behaviourist. There are, of course, individuals that ARE qualified in both areas – just make sure you a happy that they are properly qualified to help you and your dog.

Buyer beware.