A Professional Career in Dog Behaviour and Training
In general you will need to learn Canine Behaviour theory through academic study and this is a basis that you build upon. Learning how to solve the array of pet dog behavioural problems presented to you and, moreover, to understand, empathise and work with people. The majority of the human psychology you need to learn is through practice and your own life experiences and interactions with people.
Dog training is not totally separate to dog behaviour – the two disciplines are inexorably linked and few behavioural problems are not solved and or managed without a component part of obedience training. Managing dogs which have aggressive tendencies in private or public spaces requires acute handling/training skills which you need, and to assist the dog owner. English Dog Law enters this area specifically and often in a draconian manner so training practices which ignore dog law will be ineffective. Also clip board verbal expertise at a safe distance from the dog and owner is unacceptable and nor professional. Its important to lead by example and that is what we teach and demonstrate in our dog training and dog behaviour courses, we are the largest course provider in Britain today separate accreditation.
Motivating dog owners and family members to alter their behaviour and viewpoints, which in turn affect the dog’s behaviour, is most critical to success. Behaviour problems vary from mild behaviour problems like pestering the owners for attention or jumping up (nuisance behaviours) to the more serious – such as aggression which in may cases conflict with dog law.
You will need to have a strong, but flexible personality if you are to succeed and immense amount of patience with people’s views on their dogs and their lifestyles. Previous academic work (qualifications). A degree in Veterinary Nursing (similar qualification) Animal behaviour, Zoology, Biology, Ethology can help form the general basis of knowledge but are in themselves not a foundation in core skills relating to the domestic dog and it’s behaviour. Other skills to help you become successful are small business management, using a computer and report writing. A good grasp of human – pet relationships is very important and for all these skills which form a part of different course at the CIDBT.
Dog Behaviour and Training Workshops
The true way to learn is on practical courses where you learn about how the best experts with real hands-on expertise operate and teach. As you build up your coursework and, if relevant, marry this with your own current canine knowledge or previous skills in dog training and behaviour, you gain the cementing factors of knowledge.
The more people and dogs (clients) that you deal with the greater should be your accumulation of personal knowledge to help you analyse, observe and solve future complex behaviour issues in dogs. People who have experience working with dogs hands-on in the disciplines below will certainly have a great advantage when it comes to joining our courses and quicken their acquisition of fundamental canine behaviour knowledge.
Remember most dog behaviour problems can be prevented by a puppy receiving a good education, socialisation and dog training lessons on a continuous basis until adulthood. When this is neglected, for whatever reason, behaviour problems can flourish and become most serious. You may be surprised to read that even when a dog owner is diligent breed specific behavioural drives can still emerge causing serious issues.
Career Entry Requirements
Knowledge of the theory of dog handling skills and experience combined. Practical experience in working with dogs is important and we offer different levels of knowledge and practical workshops which vary in content, so it is important to choose a training and or behaviour course which will meet your needs.
Professional Practice and Practical Learning
As well as learning the theory of dog or cat behaviour, it is essential to have practical experience of working with pets. This could come from paid work, such as dog training or handling, or voluntary experience, for example in a kennels or veterinary surgery, or with an dog or cat welfare organisation. You can find out about opportunities for volunteering in your area.
Skills and Knowledge
- dog handling skills and experience
- knowledge of dog training
- good spoken and written communication skills
- the ability to empathise with clients and gain their trust
- the ability to motivate pet owners
- a tactful approach when offering advice
- awareness of dog welfare legislation
- the ability to keep records and accounts
CIDBT Education Training and Development
Throughout your career, you will need to keep your skills and knowledge up to date, for example by attending workshops, seminars and conferences, and reading professional journals or using the articles we have on our associate member web site www.cfba.co.uk
You can join the the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association at various levels depending on your qualifications and experience.
More Dog organisations in Britain below
Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (Canine & Feline Behaviour Association)
Pet Education, Behaviour and Training Council
Britain’s leading Dog Training membership organisation The Guild of Dog Trainers
General Overview Of Dog Behaviour In Practice
Dog behaviourists / practitioners /consultants advise pet owners on dealing with specific control issues and problematic behaviour with their pet dogs including: inappropriate noise, such as excessive barking aggression towards people or pets destructive behaviour toileting issues chasing livestock, cars or cyclists phobias. As a pet behaviour practitioner most of your work is likely to be with pet dogs of any breed so dog breed specific inherited behaviour knowledge is essential. Terriers as we know make more noise.
Your tasks would include: taking referrals from reputable sources such as vets holding consultations in your own centre, in veterinary surgeries or in owners’ homes talking to the owner and observe the dog or cat to get details of the problem analysing the nature of the problem and the likely causes drawing up a behaviour-modification programme for the owner to follow keeping in touch with owners to check progress adapting the advice proffered in programme if necessary. You might also offer a dog training service. You are likely to be self-employed, organising your own tax and insurance, and doing all the administrative tasks involved in running a business.
As you would usually be self-employed, you would decide your own working hours. However, you would need to fit in with clients’ requirements, which could mean working evenings and weekends. You could be based in your own premises, in veterinary surgeon’s clinic or visit owner’s homes. You may have to spend some time outside in the dogs world to observe their and be prepared work with an owner in parks, gardens and rural settings. Sat in a house taking notes is only a part of a canine behaviourists work.
Although the work is rewarding, it can also be stressful and upsetting. For example, some of the pets you come across may have problems which cannot be modified because they are too deep seated or have a medical cause. The Canine Behaviour Practitioner has acquired on the job vocational training in rehabilitating dogs with behaviour problems and will have extensive training and handling skills experience with dogs of varying ages.
A crucial part of the Canine Behaviour Practitioner’s role is to be able to communicate with dog owners and educate them in the behaviour of their dog and help them understand which behaviour is natural, or natural but unacceptable in our society (for example killing sheep). Unnatural therefore indicating stress (for example chasing its tail) or just unacceptable a dog being a dog .
The Canine Behaviour Practitioner needs to able to assess a dog’s behaviour accurately and then teach the owner, sometimes with words (spoken and written) and sometimes with demonstration, how to go about modifying the behaviour in the dog. Report writing skills are essential as a written report should be provided to give the owner information they can refer to following your visit, it is also used to document the advice given, as during the consultation owners are quite often stressed and don’t retain information given or unintentionally distort it.
The Canine Behaviour Practitioner needs to have in-depth knowledge of how dogs develop from birth to old age, how dogs communicate with other dogs and other species, how the pack hierarchy is established within a dog pack and a mixed-species pack and how that effects the dog’s behaviour when it meets with others of its own or other species.
A detailed knowledge of puppy and dog psychology is imperative as the Canine Behaviour Practitioner may be called upon to go to people’s homes to work with their dogs is when they have a new puppy and require advice on how to look after and train them.
Assistance Dog Trainer
Assistance dog trainers and instructors train dogs to help people with physical disabilities, hearing or sight difficulties to live independently. You could work with the following types of assistance dog: guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired – help owners to use stairs, cross roads and avoid obstacles hearing dogs – alert deaf people to sounds such as smoke alarms, crying babies, telephones and alarm clocks disability assistance dogs – carry out tasks such as pressing emergency buttons on phones and opening and closing doors seizure alert dogs – recognise signs that their owner is about to have a seizure.
Your work could include: working with volunteers who foster puppies and young dogs helping dogs to adjust to the routine of basic training training at a more advanced level related to the dog’s future work matching dogs to owners training dogs and owners together providing after-care and support for owner-dog partnerships. You may have responsibility for a particular area of the work.
For example, you could work for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as a trainer (carrying out the first part of the dog’s training) or a mobility instructor (doing advanced training and matching the dog to its new owner). Some organisations employ after-care officers and volunteers to provide ongoing support.
The Dog Trainer
The Dog Trainer has acquired on the job vocational training for training dogs on a one to one basis, whether this is as a part time club trainer or a full/part-time professional dog trainer. The emphasis on the dog trainer is one of training the dog rather than training the dog owner, hence the possible lack of specific experience in people skills, people training skills, people psychology skills or people body language awareness.
The Dog Trainer needs to have in-depth knowledge of how dogs develop from birth to old age, how dogs communicate with other dogs and other species, how the pack hierarchy is established within a dog pack and a mixed-species pack and how that effects the dog’s behaviour when it meets with others of its own species. Likewise the dog trainer needs to have an appreciation of the importance of the whelping bitch’s role in relation to learned behaviour within the litter and nature versus nurture.
The Dog Training Instructor
The Dog Training Instructor has acquired on the job vocational training in training dogs on a one to one basis, whether this is as a part time club trainer or a full/part-time professional dog trainer. The emphasis on the Dog Training Instructor is one of training the owner to train the dog rather than training the dog themselves, as such the emphasis is on experience in people skills. The Dog Training Instructor will be an experienced dog trainer.
The Dog Training Instructor needs to have in-depth people training skills, people psychology skills and body language awareness. The Dog Training Instructor will have been formally trained in training the trainer (both puppy and dog) as well as having been a training assistant with a more experienced instructor as part of the mentoring process.
Administration and planning skills are essential as part of the role involves session planning and booking in clients.
The Professional Dog Trainer
The Professional Dog Trainer has acquired on the job vocational training in training dogs on a one to one basis, whether this is as a part time club trainer or a full/part-time professional dog trainer. The emphasis is on the trainer’s ability to work in any environment with any kind of dog; handling the dog, training the dog and then training the owner in the same environment. The trainer needs to be an experienced dog trainer and dog training instructor as they will need to draw on skills of man-management and time keeping as well as being an extremely skilled dog trainer.
Basic business management skills are essential as part of the role involves advertising and marketing as well as book-keeping and session planning. Although not essential, being able to address the public is highly desirable, as more often than not the Professional Dog Trainer will need to give public talks about and demonstrations in dog training.
The Puppy Trainer has acquired on the job vocational training in training puppies on a one to one basis, whether this is as a part time club trainer or a full/part-time professional dog trainer. The emphasis on the Puppy Trainer is one of training the puppy rather than training the puppy owner, hence the possible lack of specific experience in people skills, people training skills, people psychology skills or people body language awareness.
The Puppy Trainer needs to have in-depth knowledge of how puppies develop from gestation period to critical development, how puppies communicate with litter-mates as opposed to non-litter mates, how the pack or litter hierarchy is established and how that effects the puppies behaviour when it first starts to socialise with others of its own species. Likewise the Puppy Trainer needs to have an appreciation of the importance of the whelping bitch’s role in relation to learned behaviour within the litter and nature versus nurture.
Having experience of owning a puppy although not essential is highly desirable so that experience is gained first hand of the joys as well as the trials and tribulations of puppy ownership.
They will have extensive handling skills experience not only for puppies but with adult dogs of varying ages also. A detailed knowledge of puppy and dog psychology is imperative
The Puppy Training Instructor
The Puppy Training Instructor has acquired on the job vocational training in training puppies on a one to one basis, whether this is as a part time club trainer or a full/part-time professional dog trainer. The emphasis on the Puppy Training Instructor is one of training the owner to train the puppy rather than training the puppy themselves, as such the emphasis is on experience in people skills. The Puppy Training Instructor will be an experienced puppy and dog trainer.
The Puppy Training Instructor needs to have in-depth people training skills, people psychology skills and body language awareness. The Puppy Training Instructor will have been formally trained in training the trainer (both puppy and dog) as well as having been a training assistant with a more experienced instructor as part of the mentoring process.
If you wish to read more about the full descriptions and canine occupation roles please click here on the www.petbc.org.uk for Britain’s dog behaviour and training standards.
Once qualified in a specific canine discipline and with requisite experience you should aim to join one of the top dog organisations in Britain mentioned in this article.