PHOENIX DOG BEHAVIORIST | DO YOU NEED A DOG BEHAVIORIST OR DOG TRAINER?
Here are some typical questions I receive as Phoenix Dog Behaviorist.
Q: What is an Animal or 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 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, the underlying disease states that may contribute to behavioral changes, the psychology of learning and in therapeutic behavioral medicines. An Animal or 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 can recommend therapeutic behavioral medicines that may benefit these animals. An Animal or Dog Behaviorist will often time work very closely with your pet’s Veterinarian to treat and help the “whole” animal. A 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 behavioral medicine in the treatment plan for your pet. You can easily determine of your dog trainer is a dog behaviorist by having them give you a complete history of their formal education. Don’t be surprised that 99.9% of Dog Trainers are really not Dog or Animal Behaviorists, yet advertise and promote themselves by saying that they are. Currently in Phoenix there are ONLY TWO REAL DOG BEHAVIORISTS OR ANIMAL BEHAVIORISTS, AND ONE VETERINARIAN BEHAVIORISTS, so do your homework first. Always ask someone referring to themselves as a Dog Behaviorist or Animal Behaviorist about their formal education and type of degree(s) they have in Animal Behavior and Where they went to school.
Q: What is the difference between an Applied Animal or Dog Behaviorist like Phoenix Dog Training has on staff, and a Veterinarian Behaviorist?
A: Veterinarian Behaviorists typically have nothing to do with any actual training of dogs. A Veterinarian who has a specialty in Behavioral Medicine concerns themselves primarily with medicine, and has only as little as one year of behavioral training with the emphasis on psychotropic medicines. This is also a very new field in its infancy that has only been around for as little as 10 years. On the other hand, An Applied Animal or Dog Behaviorist, like the one at Phoenix Dog Training have had much more extensive education and training that takes at least 6 to 8 years in ALL aspects of behavior, not just behavioral medicine. The Profession of Applied Animal Behaviorists is not a new field. This type of real behaviorist their regular dog obedience training and puppy training has been around for many decades, and is considered THE definitive choice for expert behavioral help, treatment and behavioral advice for you and your pet. The Dog Behaviorist at Phoenix Dog Training is also a Master Certified Dog Trainer with many additional years of education, training, and experience, giving you and your pet the absolute best of both worlds. It is actually very rare that a Dog Trainer is also a Dog Behaviorist.
Q: 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 we 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 Dog Behaviorists 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 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. Phoenix Dog Training is one of only two dog training companies that has a REAL Phoenix Dog Behaviorist on staff. 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 Dog and Animal 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.
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.
Q: 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: 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 Behaviorist and to get a Behavioral Consultation?
A: Appointments can be made by calling the main office number at (602) 769-1411 Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The appointment is typically 2-3 hours in length and has a fee of $250. A detailed history [Canine Behavioral Questionnaire] (Filled out on our website) is also required 24 hours in advance of the appointment with the Phoenix Dog Behaviorist, or the appointment will be rescheduled or cancelled. There is a $95 cancellation fee for any canceled or rescheduled appointments without a 24 hours notice. 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. (602) 769-1411.
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