Image Credits: Pixabay
Animals are no longer considered outsiders to the family or the community they live in. When an animal, pet or otherwise, fall sick, or shows sudden behavioral changes, or is not his or her usual self, owners look for a professional to treat their beloved.
Understanding the difference between animal trainers and
behaviorists becomes important because you would want the right professional
giving the right treatment to your animal.
Given here are some key differences between animal
trainers and behaviorists to help you decide:
Trainers are professionals who impart a specific skill-set
to animals. For example, if you want your dog to learn to obey your orders and
sit or stand accordingly, then your animal needs a trainer. If you are trying
to teach your pet to walk on a leash, then again, a trainer is the best person
to leave your dog to.
A behaviorist, on the other hand, is one who analyzes your
animal’s behavior. If your pet has been having behavioral issues lately, then a
behaviorist is the person you need to approach for diagnosis and treatment.
A behaviorist will study symptoms such as abnormal
barking, destructive chewing, unexplained fear or aggression, or others, in
animals, and understand the underlying cause for the abnormal behavior. He or
she will then create a plan of action to address the issue.
Practice or reiteration is a key method used by trainers
to cultivate desired skills in animals and ensure that such skills stay with
them. Trainers work either individually with each pet or conduct a group
session involving a set of pets, as part of training. They may work with animal
owners from the beginning of the training period so that owners can carry out
practice sessions at home.
Observation is the foundation of a behaviorist's job. They
begin by studying the animal in his or her natural environment to identify
behavioral triggers. They then replicate the environment and include triggers.
They then place the pet in the induced environment and work on modifying its
Animal trainers can be self-taught. Some trainers may
acquire training skill by working for other trainers. There are also multiple
certification courses to teach trainers for their job. There is, for example,
the CCPDT – Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers – that is
globally recognized. No matter how a trainer acquires his or her skill, it is
important to know if the trainer has had more than enough practice to perform
his or her job efficiently.
Animal behaviorists, however, come with higher
qualifications. An animal behaviorist usually has a PhD, MA, or MS degree in
animal behavior. Some may have an additional qualification such as a CAAB
(Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists) certification. Such education is key to
their ability to understand abnormal animal behaviors and modify them.
When choosing a professional, pay attention to how your animal responds
to the person. It is important to consider your animal's basic trust and
comfort levels with the trainer or behaviorist to derive the best results.