As a Dog Behaviorist in Phoenix, here are some typical questions I receive.


Q: Is there a Dog Behaviorist Near Me?

A: To answer your question, is there a Dog Behaviorist Near Me? The answer is yes.  Our Dog Behaviorist serves all of Arizona, and the United States 

Q: What is an Animal or Phoenix Dog Behaviorist?

A: The term “Behaviorist” is misused in many situations. Some dog training professionals refer to themselves as behaviorists or dog behaviorists, but they are using the term inappropriately. Professionals without an upper level degree that specializes in behavior should rightly be classified as behavior consultants or counselors. An Animal or Dog Behaviorist has upper level degrees (MS or PhD.) In most cases this is over six to eight years of formal education specializing in psychology, canine cognition, behaviorism, learning theory, ethology, biology, zoology, endocrinology, neurobiology, physical anatomy, canine physiology and kinesthetics, advanced training in the normal and abnormal behaviors of dogs and animals.  Some are certified and some are not.  See more information on certification below.

An Animal or Phoenix Dog Behaviorist can evaluate a pet’s behavioral problems, can work with your pet’s Veterinarian to help potentially diagnose medical problems that may be contributing to these behavioral problems and that veterinarian can treat any medical contributing factors, underlying disease that may be a contributing factor to behavior, and may recommend therapeutic behavioral medicines that may benefit these animals. An Animal or Phoenix Dog Behaviorist will often time work very closely with a dog trainer and your pet’s Veterinarian to treat and help the “whole” animal. A Phoenix Dog Behaviorist is qualified to develop and help you implement a behavior modification protocol and treatment plan for your pet which includes counter conditioning and systematic desensitization and may or may not include a referral to a veterinarian for  behavioral medicine in the treatment plan for your pet. 

Q: What is the difference between an Applied Animal or Dog Behaviorist like Phoenix Dog Training has on staff, and a Veterinary Behaviorist?

A: What is a Veterinary Behaviorist? (Taken directly from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists website)

Veterinary Behaviorists have achieved board-certification in the specialty of Veterinary Behavior. Board-certified specialists are known as Diplomates. These veterinarians work with individual pet owners, other animal professionals, and facilities that care for animals in order to manage behavior problems and improve the wellbeing of animals. Behavioral problems can result from a neurochemical imbalance, a medical condition, learned fearful associations, or conflict over rules and social structure. A Veterinary Behaviorist is in a unique position to diagnose medical conditions that can affect a pet’s behavior, as well as treat conditions that are purely behavioral.

Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have both the medical and behavioral knowledge to evaluate cases to determine if there is a medical component. Additionally, specialists determine which medication(s), if any, would be most appropriate as part of an integrated treatment program that includes behavioral modification plans appropriate to the individual patient. Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine have the skills and knowledge to take detailed behavioral and medical histories, weed out irrelevant information, and base the treatment plan on the pertinent behavioral and medical information. This ability to take a good history and to ascertain relevant facts is essential and is often overlooked as a necessary skill when working with behavior problems.

How does someone become a Veterinary Behaviorist?

(Taken from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists website)

Veterinary Behaviorists are licensed veterinarians who have graduated from a recognized college of veterinary medicine and completed at least one year of internship or primary care practice. They have also undergone additional behavior-specific training which includes at least 3 years of case supervision by an established Diplomate, conducting original behavior research which earns publication in a peer reviewed journal, authored 3 formal case reports that were approved by a review committee of Diplomates, and passed a rigorous 2-day Board Examination.

As part of this program they have studied topics including: sociobiology, psychology of learning, behavioral genetics, behavioral physiology, psychopharmacology, ethology, and behavioral endocrinology.

According to Dr. Chris Pachel, a leading veterinary behaviorist in the country, who lectures and teaches worldwide, “the process of certification as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists or ACVB provides an extensive education in the function and use of psychotropic medications. This is only one of the many aspects of the education that a Diplomate receives, and the education process covers multiple years (typically 3-8 additional years of mentored education including graduate-level courses) in addition to the 6-8 years that are required to acquire the veterinary degree on which board certification is layered.” 

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists was founded in 1993 which makes the founding college/organization 27+ years old as of 2020. Additional information about the history of the college and the certification process is available on the ACVB website.

All standards and procedures of ACVB are approved by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) which is an organization within the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Professional conduct standards are set by both the AVMA and the ABVS, as are requirements for training programs. Specialists in veterinary behavioral medicine are also held accountable to local and state laws of veterinary practice.


dog-behavioristQ: What is your “success rate” and do you guarantee results?

A: A dog owner should be cautious of any person who states that they “guarantee” fixing your dog’s severe behavior problems. Although Phoenix Dog Training guarantees their regular dog obedience training, it is impossible to guarantee a total 100% cure and total remission from severe dog aggression, severe dog anxiety and phobias to mention a few. Also,  and  dog and animal behavior can be very complex and results from a combination of genetics, medical problems of neurological problems and or neurochemical imbalances, painful conditions, visual, auditory or cognitive deficiencies and deficits contributing factors, contributing factors of prior experiences,, traumatic experiences, habituation, and learning, the current environmental situation that the dog or animal is placed in, along with possible dietary and nutritional contributing factors. There are many behaviors that we can modify and improve, some that we can learn how to work with, manage and control and/or prevent, and some that our Phoenix dog Behaviorist can fully resolve. The results we see can vary depending on the severity of the particular animal or dog’s behavioral problem(s), the owner’s ability to dedicate the time and effort into behavioral modification protocols and the motivational state of the dog. So, in short, success is not guaranteed, but always our goal. Most problems are helped and in remission with a few behavioral consultations, some need additional follow up.


Q: Are behavioral problems simply training issues?

A: There are some pets and dogs that would benefit largely from some simple training, but many behavior problems require much more than that. Dog Trainers are not Animal or Phoenix Dog Behaviorist with Advanced Training and Upper Level Degrees, (MS or PhD.) in 99% of cases. There are no requirements to be a dog trainer, and in Arizona anyone can call themselves a dog trainer with no training, education or experience. Dog’s and Animals, like people, can develop a number of fears, anxieties, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors and many types of aggression that require an in-depth history and actual behavioral modification, with counter conditioning, systematic desensitization,  (a lot more than dog obedience training and leash correction type dog training) to help resolve these behaviors. Sometimes trainers will employ aversives or punishment  in attempts at resolving some of these behavioral problems which may actually aggravate the problem further. Training can however be an integral part of behavioral modification, and often a good trainer or Phoenix Dog Behaviorist will be employed or recommended to help the owner work with behavior modification techniques once they have been prescribed and explained in the initial behavioral consultation. Many trainers wrongly call themselves a behaviorist without the proper training and are really just regular dog obedience trainers who often make serious mistakes with your dog’s well being and with your dog’s behavior. At Phoenix Dog Training our Phoenix Dog Behaviorist is one of the world’s leading behavior specialist in difficult and severe behavioral problems in dogs and domestic pets, such as fears, anxieties, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors, cognitive impairment such as canine dementia, along with various types and severity levels of aggression. Animal Behaviorists with a PhD. can choose to be certified as a certified applied animal behaviorist or CAAB. Those with a M.A., or a M.S. can also choose to be certified as a Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist or ACAAB. Certification is done through the Animal Behavior Society. The Applied Animal Behaviorist at Phoenix Dog Training is not certified through the Animal Behavior Society. If you are looking for a CAAB you can find a list of CAAB’s by going to the CAAB Directory.


Q: Do you answer behavioral questions and give behavior advice over the phone?

A: Not generally in any detail.  An adequate history and description of the problem is impossible to get quickly over a phone call and attempting to do so would provide you and your dog or pet a grave disservice.

Phoenix Dog Behaviorist Phoenix Arizona Dog BehavioristQ: What is behavioral modification?

A: Behavior modification techniques are used to alter an dog or other animal’s behaviors and reactions to stimuli using both operant and classical conditioning techniques. The most commonly employed techniques include systematic desensitization; counter conditioning, reinforcement of more appropriate behaviors and extinction.


Q: Do you use or prescribe behavior medicine

A: In some cases, a small number of dogs may need behavior medicine along with behavior modification. Our Dog Behaviorist has extensive knowledge in this area, however, only a veterinarian can prescribe your dog medications. That being said, our Dog Behaviorist advises and consults on behaviors and conditions that may involve behavior medicine. 

Q: Where do I go for an In-depth Behavioral Consultation?

A: In-depth Behavioral Consultations, typically occur at your home with a Phoenix Dog Behaviorist and in your dog’s natural environment.

Q: How do I make an appointment to see the Phoenix Dog Behaviorist and to get a Behavioral Consultation?

A: Appointments can be made with our Phoenix Behavior Consultant or our Dog Behaviorist by calling the main office number at (602) 769-1411 Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The appointment is typically 1-2 hours in length and has a fee $395.  Your dog’s full medical record is also required 24 hours in advance of the appointment with the Phoenix Dog Behaviorist, or the appointment will be rescheduled or cancelled.   All of your dog or pet’s medical records are also required and can be emailed  to us in advance of your dog or pet’s appointment. Your pet’s medical record must be received 24 hours in advance of the appointment or the appointment will be canceled. The canine behavior questionnaire and history will provide detailed information on a variety of aspects of your dog’s environment, health, activities, and behaviors (both normal and problematic). This is all vital information to receive prior to the consultation in order to give the behaviorist a basis to start the behavioral appointment and to focus on the behavioral history once the consult begins.

Call or Email Phoenix Dog Training for any additional questions or information and to find out about scheduling an appointment with our Dog Behaviorist Near Me.



(602) 769-1411


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