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Choosing a dog trainer or behaviourist

By November 13, 2023 Greenbay Vet News

Veterinary Nurse Laura Holderness, who runs our behavioural first aid clinics, has put together some tips on choosing a dog trainer or behaviourist…

The dog training and behaviour industry is an unregulated one, which means anyone can call themselves a dog trainer or canine behaviourist without having approved qualifications. This can be detrimental to the wellbeing of dogs, as they may not be receiving the appropriate care and understanding needed during training. It is imperative that an accredited training professional is chosen when finding a dog trainer or behaviourist. Here at Greenbay Vets, we believe in positive, force-free forms of training that aim to reward dogs for good behaviour. We don’t believe in the use of aversive tools or any form of punishment based training.

What is Positive Training?

Positive training involves working WITH your dog, instead of attempting to gain control. Positive reinforcement is used, this means the adding of a reward when a desired behaviour is carried out. Aversive tools and intimidation are avoided, along with understanding the misconception of “dominance”. Positive training can be rewarding for all parties, can create the same, if not better, results and creates a strong bond between handler/caregiver and dog.

What should I look out for when looking for a dog trainer or behaviourist?

Positive dog trainers and behaviourists will have worked very hard for their status and worked toward being assessed and then added to a national organisation register. Below are a few examples of positive training registers:

Animal Behaviour & Training Council (ABTC)
ABTC requires members of practitioner organisations to reach and maintain set standards to be included on the Register.” The ABTC promotes animal welfare in those animals undergoing training for behavioural concerns. “The ABTC believes that it cannot be right to cause any animal pain in order to motivate them to carry out desired behaviours”.

Here you’ll find a list of Clinical Animal Behaviourists, Accredited Animals Behaviourists and Animal Trainers.

Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC)
The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors requires their trainers to be qualified, assessed, and regulated. They must also have met the standards set out by the ABTC.

UK Dog Behaviour & Training Charter
The UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter follows a code of conduct and ethics, making sure their trainers “adhere to the most modern, scientifically-proven, positive methodology”. Each member will be an accredited professional.


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