Good dog trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your veterinary practice

The purpose of this brief article is to demonstrate the value of identifying “good dog trainers” and incorporating this knowledge into your veterinary practice. The following recommendations represent a consensus document compiled by the authors as one of the final projects in the Advanced Applied Clinical Behavioral Medicine course at the 2004 NAVC PGI. Many of the authors are now using these recommendations in their practices in ways that have increased their productivity and altered the way they now practice medicine.

Defining dog behavior problems

Typically, there are several ways to approach and define a problem dog behavior. First, a behavior consultant should have a clear understanding of what normal behavior patterns are for any particular species and that normal behavior may be expressed inappropriately depending on the environment. Second, the behavior consultant should consider a clients “…cultural and personal preferences and normative judgments” since they may impact the client’s “attitudes and expectations, scientific understanding, societal mores [customs] about animal behavior, and costs…associated with the dog’s behavior” (Lindsay, 2001).

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Choosing Your Dog Trainer or Behavior Specialist Guidelines

Choosing Your Dog Trainer or Dog Behavior Specialist Guidelines It would be rare to have an animal its entire lifetime without experiencing some type of behavior problem or training situation that might be helpful in managing your pet. Also, behavior problems are often complex and may require a more skilled professional with knowledge in animal behavior. So how do you know who to call? What’s the difference between the two? How can you assess their skills, training and education?

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IAABC Position statement on LIMA

What Is LIMA? LIMA requires that trainers and behavior consultants use the “least intrusive, minimally aversive technique likely to succeed in achieving a training [or behavior change] objective with minimal risk of producing adverse side effects.” It is also a competence criterion, requiring that trainers and behavior consultants be adequately trained and skilled in order to ensure that the least intrusive and aversive procedure is in fact used. 1 LIMA Is Competence-Based LIMA requires that trainers/behavior consultants work to increase the use of positive reinforcement and lessen the use of punishment in work with companion animals and the humans who care for them. LIMA protocols are designed to be maximally humane to learners of all species. In order to ensure best practices, consultants/trainers should pursue and maintain competence in animal behavior consulting through education, training, or supervised experience, and should not advise on problems outside the recognized boundaries of their competencies and experience.2