Dog Behaviorist vs Dog Trainer

While I do not often post on this blog, I do read the posts and comments daily. In the comments portion, I've noticed that there are some who are very much against the usage of the term dog behaviorist as opposed to a dog trainer. Seeing how we've just completed our initial analysis with a dog behaviorist, I felt this is a good time to post what I believe to be the differences between the two.

1) Dog Trainer - Dog trainers help owners train their pets to behave.

As brand new dog owners, we had initially been very active in seeking out dog trainers for advice and tactics regarding issues such as obedience or proper socialization. We've put Loki through the usual circuit: obedience training, dog parks, long walks, exposure to humans..etc.

Having a dog trainer is certainly a best practice for new dog owners and can help prepare both the owner and the pet for a life of co-existence. Without the advice from trainers we have engaged, it would have been quite a bit more difficult in training Loki. However, with that said, a dog trainer can tell you whether or not the dog is agressive or even dominant, but may not have the necessary analytic toolset to fully explain the situation logically.

2) Dog Behaviorist - Dog Behaviorists help owners identify root causes of certain unwanted behaviors.

So what happens when your dog is fully trained, yet exhibit unwanted behavior sproratically? In the two plus years since we've brought Loki home, we've honed our ability to both train and read his moods. However, there are still certain behavior which seems nigh impossible to correct with any type of training.

Loki's mother and myself have tried many different methods of correction without much avail. With that in mind, the only logical conclusion is that we are not addressing the correct issue. This is precisely the time when we discussed and agreed upon a dog behaviorist. Our expectation of the behaviorist was to help us identify the root cause of Loki's issues so we may employ the necessary correction in order to adjust his aggressive behavior.

After our meeting with the dog behaviorist, it's as if the lightbulb came on for the first time. Her analysis was logical and explained a situation we were never able to fully grasp before. Having her pinpoint the theoretical root allows us to focus our training and hopefully remedy this problem.

For the naysayers out there, I want to reiterate the necessity of the dog behaviorist role along with that of a dog trainer. The roles along with the tool sets employed are vastly different and both roles have their place in certain situations.


Thinking back on the decision to get a Shiba Inu as a first dog; I'm not necessarily sure it was a well thought out approach. We certainly do not regret bringing Loki home, but similar to purchasing a first house, you simply can't comprehend the cost through initial analysis.


Anonymous said...

I'm not against the use of the terminology "dog behaviorist". This is your blog and Loki is your dog. You can use any terminology you wish and take your dog to any experts you wish.

Do I think dog training is a good thing? Absolutely. It helps humans and dogs coexist peacefully.

Do I feel need to analyze my dog? Not really. I kind of feel silly to "analyze" my dog or take her to a doggie shrink.

Vi said...

I think that training is good for all dogs, but not all need a "doggie shrink". If you don't have any major problems with your dog, then that's absolutely wonderful and there's no reason to seek out a behaviorist. Yet, some of us have real problems that can be successfully resolved with a behaviorist. If it can be fixed, why not?

Anonymous said...

Dog Behaviorist vs Human Behaviorist:

1)Human has God Given "Freedom of Will” (within the limits of the law), which no one can take away. Not even the government. Dogs don't have Freedom of Will. We make decisions for them.
2) You can make your dog “obey” you. You cannot make other human “obey” you (unless they’re your slaves). The dog behaviorist can control a dog by manipulating, depriving, coercing, or drugging. If the human behaviorist does this to you, it is an “abuse”. If the government or CIA does this to you, it is called “TORTURE”.
3) You can take your dog to the behaviorist to modify his behavior to suit you. You can’t take your husbands, wives, neighbors, or friends to modify THEIR behaviors to suit you.
3) Human has "equal rights". Dogs don't have equal rights.
4) We're in over analyzed society. Shrinks analyze everything but the outcomes are almost never right because there is always purpose/ agenda of any study depending on who's paying for it. They'll call it black if you want it called black. They'll call it white if you want it white.

I’m an analyzing kind myself and as an engineer, I analyze, assess, collect information, and make decisions all the time. I don't think I will benefit from seeing so called behaviorist.

If someone pays me to take my dog to a "dog behaviorist", I may go (provided, he’s really cute). If someone offers to pay me $1 million to see a human kind behaviorist, my answer will be NO. And that's my free will.

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