Many dog owners need the services of a Behaviourist, but don’t know exactly what they do or where to find one. Our next guest blogger is Caroline Healy Dip.dog.psy Moc MSFTR. Caroline is a well respected, qualified dog psychologist and is a member of the U.K. Therapist Register. She works with many different breeds and ages of dogs, with wide ranging problems.
It is my pleasure to welcome Caroline to our blog…….
My name is Caroline , I have loved dogs since a young age , they are loyal , honest and their love is unconditional. I have a soft spot for rehomed dogs , most of you will know who have visited dog shelters ….you see the dog behind the bars wagging his tail at you and looking at you with his big brown eyes and immediately fall in love! you look at the card with his info on it ,” runs away “,” does not like other dogs “, “only home with teenage children”. This instantly makes your mind up to walk away because this dog has too many issues.
This is why I wanted to train as a dog behaviourist. I wanted to learn why dogs have certain behaviour issues and to re-educate the owner how to know why their dog does certain things and how to correct them in a gentle and kind way.
A behaviourist usually gets called in when an owner has tried to rectify their dogs behaviour issues on their own but has had no luck or the behaviour is getting worse. I deal with all sorts of behaviours , from all breeds , dog to dog aggression ,dog to people aggression , jumping up , food guarding , toy possession , constant barking and extreme anxiety problems are the usual dog behavioural issues that I deal with. Sometimes these just come as one issue sometimes it is a mixture of these that have to be dealt with
A behaviourist has a complex job , they have to observe the dog usually in the house as this is where most of the behaviour issues stem from. The owner gives details of what has been happening and the behaviourist puts together a picture , but what the owner does not realise is that they have missed lots of important information that the behaviourist sees but the owner doesn’t , because the owner doesn’t fully understand why a dog does things or thinks like he does until the behaviourist points certain things out.
The behaviourist should give the owner lots of gentle techniques , guidance , direction and routine for their dog. With this help the owner will have to work with the dog so that the dog works with the owner and that the owner learns to read the dogs body language and small signs that otherwise would go un-noticed , after all that is how dogs communicate with each other.
A good dog behaviourist should get to the root of the dogs behaviour issue not just correct the symptoms. Whilst Clickers and Cheese can work for dog training nothing will replace understanding your dogs psychology.
To find a reputable dog behaviourist go to your vet ,they are most likely to point you in the direction of a qualified behaviourist , this is where I recieve a lot of enquiries from. The behaviourist should have Dog Behaviourist or Canine Psychology Certificate(s) and refferals from past clients .Ask the dog behaviourist lots of questions on how they correct issues , if they have worked with your dogs breed before and if they offer a follow up visit or if you can phone or email anytime when things might take a backward step in your dogs behaviour before you book a consultation , go with your gut instinct …are you happy with their answers? All dog behaviourists are different in the way they work , be happy and trust your instinct in the behaviourist that you choose , they should offer lots of advice , show you gentle and kind correction techniques and explain anything that you do not understand.