Why do I need a behaviorist? If you have a pet that is suffering from fears, phobias, anxiety or aggression you need a Behaviorist. Behaviorists use sound scientific knowledge to identify the reason why an animal is behaving the way he does and utilizes behavior modification techniques to change the underlying motivation for a behavior. This is the most successful approach to changing behavior. Behaviorists are trained in the field of animal behavior, learning theory, genetics, psychology and many other disciplines and are the best resource for helping you help your pet. What is a behaviorist? This is a tricky question. Currently state and federal laws do not regulate who can legally call themselves a Behaviorist which is why there may be some confusion. There are many people who call themselves Behaviorists or advertise behavioral services but there are only two recognized professional certifications for Behaviorists. • Board certification in Veterinary Behavior via the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists • Board certification in Applied Animal Behavior via the Animal Behavior Society Dr. Coppola is a Board Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and has been Chairman of the Board of Professional Certification since 2009. Read Dr. Coppola’s full CV here. For more information about what a Behaviorist is, read the ASPCA article here. What is the difference between a behaviorist and a trainer? In short, a behaviorist changes the way an animal behaves. They modify an existing behavior whereas a trainer teaches new behaviors. For more information about the difference between a Behaviorist and Trainer please read our article here. How do I become a Board Certified Behaviorist in Applied Animal Behavior? Certified applied animal behaviorists come from a variety of different backgrounds and include veterinarians who have had additional training in applied animal behavior. In general, however, they all have a broad background in animal behavior theory, as well as application. Many of those who are certified did not do their graduate research in the area of companion animal behavior, though they generally had an interest in the area. It is important to recognize that the educational background required is broad, and addresses a wide range of general behavior processes. Education requirements include a BA/BS in either biology or psychology and then a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior. There are many graduate programs in animal behavior in nearly every part of the country. These may be in Biology, Psychology, Ethology or another department. While few of them offer specific courses or opportunities in companion animal behavior, they provide the broad basic background needed in animal behavior principles, including Learning Theory, Comparative Psychology, Ethology, Genetics, Experimental Psychology and Physiology. The graduate program should also include a strong background in research methods and analysis. The most important element in choosing a graduate program is to find a faculty member willing to support an applied approach, and flexibility in taking interdisciplinary courses. Most applicants have completed an internship with a CAAB or ACAAB in addition to many years of working with animals (both paid and volunteer). To find our more information about becoming a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist visit the ABS website. What areas does Dog and Company serve? Dog and Company is based out of Southern Arizona and offers in-home consultations in Tucson and the surrounding area. Telephone consultations may be available for other areas. Educational seminars, shelter services and legal services are available nationwide. Are results guaranteed? Unfortunately, behavior is not an exact science and results just can not be guaranteed. Behavior just does not work that way. There are many variables that influence how an animal behaves, some of them are within our control (environment, training, etc.) and some are not (genetics). No reputable behavior professional will guarantee results and if someone does, you should be skeptical. How do I schedule a consultation? You can schedule an appointment by completing an appointment inquiry form.