Un-mystifying the world of dog training/behaviour.
Let’s start with what we are all familiar with. Your local Vet. Vets train at a university level and are doctors, training is long and hard going, predominantly the knowledge base is anatomy and physiology of animals. Some vets do have a keen interest in behaviour, and can advise clients that come to the clinic on some matters. However animal behaviour is a complex subject and therefore there is need for further study. Some Vets go on to specialize in behaviour, they are then called Vet Behaviourists (VB).
Dog Training is Unregulated
Now for the side that is confusing, dog trainers and those dog trainers who call themselves behaviourists. Unlike Vets and VB’s there are no regulations in the world of Dog training even those who say they are behaviourists, in reality there is no such thing. Some Dog trainers like myself have a baseline qualification in dog training, and then go on to do further study usually via online courses or reading and continuing education at seminars. Then through education and experience feel they have the skills to deal with more than just teaching a dog and handler the basic skills. So then go on to say they deal with problem behaviours and adjust the problem behaviour using recognized behaviour modification programs. Hence the confusing that some trainers will list themselves as behaviourists. I will admit I have been guilty of saying that I modify dog behaviour, but I do not claim to be a VB and in fact I will refer clients to a VB if I feel it is warranted. The other issue we need to cover is money. The dog industry is worth millions however the general populous is still reluctant to spend high on dog training. Now going to a vet is a necessary thing and as a doctor indeed there is a corresponding fee to go with that, the same applies to going to a VB. Because, dog trainers are not doctors they do not have such rates. Do your best in assessing for yourself the knowledge base and experience of dog trainers who take on behaviour issues. Around my area we have obedience clubs and agility club that run basic dog classes, these are good value as the trainers are unqualified and are voluntary. That does not mean they are not good, most dog trainers start off running classes that way. Then there are privately run dog training classes, costs can be higher. Teaching a class is more about teaching the handler the skills to teach their dogs, and does not require a high level of experience (although this can help). When engaging someone to come to your aid in sorting a behaviour issue, ask question.
If you are experiencing issues with your dog
So if you have issues such as Barking, digging, dogs reacting adversely to other dogs/people, chasing/predatory, guarding resources, then get a trainer in that has experience and knowledge. All dogs should have a basic level of obedience skills to make for more cohesive living arrangements, so attend a class or get private in home training.
I welcome being interrogated before you engage my services, it is a buyer beware situation.