Right off the bat, we are going to tell you that a dog behaviourist is completely different to a dog trainer. A dog trainer is all about teaching your dog. A dog behaviourist is about establishing why your dog is acting the way they are, and coming up with solutions for dealing with the issue. Think of a dog behaviourist as being akin to a pet psychologist. In most cases, you are going to need a behaviourist over a trainer. Most dogs are not going to need retraining. So, what can a dog behaviourist do?
Well, you have to remember that dogs, just like humans, have different personalities. Just like humans, they are shaped by their day to day lives. They learn things and they behave in a certain way because of those things. Even if you raise your dog in an incredibly loving home, and we are sure you do that, they may still have some behavioural issues from time to time. The job of the behaviourist will be to correct those.
Let’s take animals that have been raised in a home where they have very little contact with people, or maybe with other animals. This is quite common of you adopt a dog from the RSPCA, PDSA, or any other centre which allows you to adopt animals. These dogs will have been shaped by their upbringing. If they were raised ‘violently’, then they may be scared of people that approach them. There is no trainer out there who will be able to deal with that. It is not a training issue. It is a psychological issue. If you do not deal with this psychological issue, then things are going to end up getting worse and worse. It needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
The job of a dog behaviourist will be to get the root of what is causing your animal’s behaviour problems. By doing this, they will be able to come up with a plan on how the issues can be treated. They will then be able to ‘teach’ you how to deal with these issues. They will also be able to ‘teach’ the dog (different to training the dog) in how they can deal with their behavioural issues, or at least how to cope in the world that they live in. it is fair to say that many dogs can’t have their issues dealt with fully. The same goes to humans. There are some things which have had such a profound impact on us that they are tough to deal with. However, they can be dealt with to the point where the dog becomes easier to interact with.
If you have a dog which is exhibiting problems, then you will almost certainly want to get in touch with a behaviourist. They should be able to deal with most problems that your dog has. This will not only end up making you happier, but it will make your animal happier too.