Understanding the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Dog Behaviourist

Apr 10, 2023 | Questions & Answers

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The key difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist is that dog trainers teach specific commands and obedience, while dog behaviourists address more serious behavioural issues. Both professionals play vital roles in helping dogs become well-adjusted members of society. Dog trainers work with dogs of all ages and breeds, focusing on basic commands, while behaviourists work with dogs experiencing issues like aggression, anxiety, or fear. It’s essential to choose the right professional based on your dog’s needs, considering their experience, expertise, and use of modern, scientific methods of training.

Understanding the Distinct Roles of Dog Trainers and Behaviourists

A professional dog trainer

Dogs are considered to be one of the most loyal and loving pets. They are known for their ability to bring joy and companionship to their owners. However, owning a dog is not just about the fun and games, it requires a lot of responsibility and training. Dogs need to be well-behaved and trained to become well-adjusted members of society. This is where the role of a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist comes in.

Many people use the terms dog trainer and dog behaviourist interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between the two. Understanding the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist is essential when seeking help for your furry friend. In this article, we will explain the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist and how they can help you and your pet.

If you find this article interesting, you might want to check out our blog and podcast section.

The Difference between a Dog Trainer and a Dog Behaviourist:

Dog Trainer:

  • A dog trainer is a professional who trains dogs to learn specific commands, behaviours and obedience. Dog trainers use a variety of methods to teach dogs new behaviours such as using positive reinforcement or correction-based techniques. Always ensure you choose a trainer who utilises positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Dog trainers work with dogs of all ages and breeds. They teach basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leave it, as well as more advanced behaviours such as agility training or hunting skills. A dog trainer may also work with dogs who have behavioural issues, but their focus is on teaching obedience commands rather than addressing underlying behavioural problems.
  • When searching for a local dog trainer, try these terms – one-to-one dog training near me, 1 to 1 dog training near me, one to one dog trainers near me, private dog trainers near me, home dog training near me, one on one dog training near me.

Dog Behaviourist:

  • A dog behaviourist is a professional who focuses on the behavioural issues of dogs. They address issues such as aggression, anxiety, fear, and other problematic behaviours. Dog behaviourists use various methods to address these behavioural issues, such as positive reinforcement, counter-conditioning, and desensitisation.
  • Dog behaviourists work with dogs who have serious behavioural problems, such as fear of people, separation anxiety, and aggression towards other dogs or people. They may also work with rescue dogs who have been traumatised or abused.
  • When searching for a dog behaviourist in you area, try searching for these terms (just replace Glasgow with where you live) – dog behaviourist Glasgow, Glasgow dog behaviourist, dog trainer Glasgow, Glasgow dog trainer, Glasgow dog trainer and behaviour consultant.

The Roles of a Dog Trainer and a Dog Behaviourist:

Dog Trainer:

  • A dog trainer’s role is to teach dogs basic obedience commands and behaviours. They work with puppies and adult dogs to help them learn manners, reduce inappropriate behaviours and form positive habits. They help to improve the relationship between the dog and their owner by ensuring that the dog understands what is expected of them.
  • Dog trainers may also work with dogs who have specific training needs, such as service dogs or therapy dogs. They may also provide training for specific activities such as agility training, obedience competitions, or hunting.

Dog Behaviourist:

  • A dog behaviourist’s role is to identify and address behavioural issues that may be causing problems for the dog and their owner. They work with dogs who have serious behavioural problems such as aggression, anxiety, and fear. Dog behaviourists use their expertise to address the underlying cause of the behavioural issue and create a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual dog’s needs.
  • Dog behaviourists may also work with rescue dogs who have experienced trauma or abuse. They help to rehabilitate these dogs and work to make them more adoptable.

Navigating the Crucial Differences Between Dog Trainers and Behaviourists

illustration of a Caucasian male dog trainer giving commands to a group of small dogs in an indoor training facility

Understanding the difference between a dog trainer and a dog behaviourist is important when seeking help for your furry friend. Dog trainers focus on teaching dogs specific commands and behaviours, while dog behaviourists address more serious behavioural issues such as aggression and anxiety. Both professionals play a crucial role in helping dogs become well-behaved and well-adjusted members of society. When choosing a professional, it’s important to look for someone with experience and expertise in working with dogs and who uses positive reinforcement techniques to promote good behaviour.

Here is Grisha Stewart, a renowned dog trainer, author, and speaker who has made significant contributions to the field of animal behaviour and training. She is best known as the pioneer of Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT), a groundbreaking method for addressing dog reactivity and aggression issues. This innovative approach focuses on teaching dogs to make socially appropriate choices through desensitization, counter-conditioning, and positive reinforcement.

Grisha’s work has been instrumental in helping dog owners, trainers, and professionals worldwide to better understand and manage canine behavioural challenges. In addition to her work on BAT, Grisha has authored several books and conducts seminars and workshops globally, sharing her expertise and passion for humane, science-based dog training. Her commitment to improving the lives of dogs and their humans has made her an influential figure in the animal behaviour and training community.

About me

Jim Gillies, a Certified Dog Behaviourist and Trainer in Glasgow with over 10 years of experience, prioritizes canine well-being through modern, science-backed methods. Handling 4000+ cases of 1-to-1 behaviour training, Jim is fully accredited, insured, and recognised for addressing various behavioural issues including aggression, separation anxiety, and more. Jim holds qualifications in level 5 (merit) Advance Diploma Canine Behaviour Management and level 6 Applied Animal Behaviour. Explore his insightful blog and podcast, sharing expert knowledge on dog training and behaviour. Certified by the IAABC, Jim’s expertise makes him a reliable choice for addressing your dog’s needs.

Contact information

Should you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact me on:

  • Email: jim@cbtdogbehaviour.com
  • Mobile: 07864029933
Understanding the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Dog Behaviourist
Understanding the Difference Between a Dog Trainer and a Dog Behaviourist
Q: Can a Glasgow dog trainer also be a dog behaviourist?
A: While some dog trainers may possess the skills to address certain behavioural issues, the roles of a trainer and a behaviourist are distinct. A dog trainer typically focuses on teaching commands and obedience through conditioning. In contrast, a dog behaviourist delves deeper into canine psychology to address complex behavioural problems often stemming from anxiety, aggression, or past trauma. When searching for a professional in Glasgow, it’s crucial to consider the specific needs of your dog and the expertise of the individual.
Q: How long does it take to train a dog?
A: Training duration varies widely based on the dog’s individual needs, age, and temperament, as well as the trainer’s methods. Basic obedience training often spans approximately six weeks, but more intricate or advanced training could extend over several months. Addressing behavioural issues is typically a more prolonged process and might necessitate ongoing efforts to ensure long-term success and well-being.
Q: What should I look for in a dog trainer or behaviourist?
A: Key qualities to seek in a professional include a robust track record of experience, a thorough understanding of canine psychology, and a commitment to positive reinforcement methods. Verifications such as certifications, client testimonials, and a transparent methodology are also indicative of a reliable expert. Recommendations from other pet owners or trustworthy reviews can lead you to a skilled trainer or behaviourist who can meet the unique needs of your dog.

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