Increasingly recently I have been seeing clients who have previously been to so called dog professionals who took their money and failed to solve their problems with their dog. So, time to spell it out. A dog trainer is just that, they are skilled in training dogs, perhaps choosing the right puppy and if they are good, teaching you how to train your own dog. This is where their level of expertise ends.
A behaviourist is a professional who has a qualification (in my view to degree level) in the understanding of a dog’s mind and the resultant behaviour. For my money, these people should also be reasonable dog trainers, otherwise how can they teach you to rehabilitate your dog? Plus have a good history of hands on work with dogs, in rescue or boarding kennels, walking sevice , etc. Without a good knowledge of breeds and their traits and handling experience, the best degree in the world wont suffice. The behaviourist also, needs a working understanding of human psychology, after all, you the owner, have ultimately to be motivated to understand your dog.
It amazes me that an electrician cannot rewire your house unless fully qualified and licensed, but a so called behaviourist, can advise you on your dog and for example the welfare of your children with that dog, on simply their own say so. It is time that my profession was properly legislated, so that I no longer have to follow in others’ footsteps who have taken money for results they cannot provide. We are none of us perfect and cannot promise a 100% success rate, but at the very least we can learn our trade and qualify properly in it, before we are let loose on your family and your wallet.