Why and When do you Need a Dog Behaviorist

FTC disclaimer. This post may contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you purchase through one of my links.

A dog behaviorist may be called upon to solve your dog’s problems. If this is your case, then, as the owner, you are the best person to decide on the best time to seek out professional help.

Getting a dog behaviorist is a great step in helping your dog live a happier life. You’re looking for one that will be around long enough to observe a lot of your dog’s life over time and who is willing to stay on top of things and make sure your dog continues to progress in his learning.

Here’s a list of tips on choosing a dog behaviorist and the best time to visit one.

Difference between Dog behaviorists and Dog Trainers

Many dog owners think that a behaviorist is the same thing as a trainer, but they aren’t. Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between these two professions.

1. What Is a Behaviorist?

A behaviorist is trained to identify behaviors exhibited by dogs and teach them appropriate ones. They may also provide advice on training methods.

2. What Is a Trainer?

The trainer is a general term for anyone who teaches others how to train animals. There are different levels of trainers, including obedience, agility, and hunting.

3. How Do I Know Which One to Choose?

It depends on what kind of dog training you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re interested in teaching your dog basic commands like sit, stay, and come, you’ll probably want to go with a behaviorist. On the other hand, if you want to learn how to train your dog to compete in agility competitions, you’d likely choose a trainer.

4. Can Both Be Used Together?

Yes! Many behaviorists also offer private lessons, so you can combine both approaches.

The Top 4 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Behaviorist

Dogs are part of the family, so when they misbehave, it affects everyone around them. As dog owners ourselves, we understand the importance of having a well-behaved pet. We also know how difficult it can be to train a puppy or teach an adult dog to behave properly.

That’s why we created this guide to help you find the best behaviorist in your area. Here are four reasons why hiring a professional dog trainer is worth the investment:

1. They Can Help With Training Issues

Training issues can range from basic housebreaking problems to aggression toward other dogs or humans. Several methods are used to train dogs, but some of the most popular ones include clickers, food rewards, and shaping.

However, these techniques alone aren’t effective for every type of dog. For instance, some breeds require physical training, like agility classes, while others may benefit from mental stimulation, like obedience classes.

Dog trainers can help identify the right method for your particular breed and guide the process.

2. They Have Experience Working With Different Types of Pets

While all dog trainers have experience working with pets, not all of them have worked extensively with puppies or small animals. When choosing a dog trainer, ensure he/she has experience working with young dogs and cats.

3. They Are Certified Professionals

Certification is becoming increasingly common among professionals across various industries. Whether you choose a veterinarian, accountant, lawyer, or dog trainer, it’s important to ensure that they hold certifications related to their field.

Some examples of certification include veterinary technician, certified public accountant, licensed practical nurse, and registered dietitian nutritionist.

4. They Will Be Able To Provide References

It’s important to ask for references before signing a contract with a dog trainer. While you shouldn’t expect a complete list of clients, you should receive at least one reference letter from each client.

This is especially true if you plan to hire a trainer multiple times. Ask for letters from previous clients who were satisfied with his/her service.

Types of Dog Behaviorists

A dog behaviorist is a professional dog trainer who specializes in training dogs. They teach owners how to train their dogs and provide advice on dealing with behavioral problems.

There are different types of dog behaviorists depending on their level of education and expertise. Here are some of the most common types of dog behaviorists.

1. Certified Professional Dog Trainer

This type of dog behaviorist holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science or veterinary medicine and has completed additional courses in canine psychology, behavior, and training.

These professionals typically hold a license issued by the American Kennel Club Canine Trainers Association.

2. Associate Certified Professional Dog Trainer

These dog trainers hold a master’s degree in veterinary medicine or another related field and have taken additional classes in canine psychology, behavior, and training.

They may also have passed a test administered by the AKC Canine Trainers Association to prove their competency.

3. Certified Applied Animal Science Education Specialist

Certified applied animal science educators specialize in teaching basic obedience and behavior principles to puppies and young dogs. They usually hold a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in a relevant field like biology, zoology, or agricultural sciences.

4. Certified Veterinary Technician

Veterinary technicians are trained to perform routine procedures on animals like cleaning teeth, vaccinating, and administering medications. They may also assist veterinarians during surgeries and examinations.

5. Certified Pet Sitter

Pet sitters care for pets when their owners go out of town. Before being certified, they must pass background checks and complete pet first aid training.

Find a reputable and experienced Dog Behaviorist.

Dog behaviorists are professionals who understand dog psychology and training techniques. They are trained to teach dogs basic obedience commands, like sit, stay, come, and heel.

They also train dogs to perform tricks, like fetching balls, retrieving items, and performing various stunts. And they may teach dogs how to behave around children and other animals.

Here’s a checklist of things to look for when searching for a dog behaviorist:

1. Experience

Look for a professional with years of experience. Many behaviorists have been practicing for decades.

2. Education

Ensure the dog behaviorist holds a certification from a recognized organization, such as the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

3. References

Ask for references from clients and former clients. Check out reviews on websites like Yelp.

4. Insurance

Some states require dog behaviorists to carry liability insurance. Ask the dog behaviorist if he/she carries insurance.

5. License

In some states, dog behaviorists must hold a license. Look for a license number on the dog behaviorist’s website.

6. Location

Where does the dog behaviorist practice? Is the location convenient for you? Does the location have parking?

The Cost of a Dog Behaviorist

Dog Behaviorists are experts in training dogs. They teach owners how to train their dogs and understand how to deal with unwanted behaviors. Dog behaviorists also advise how to prevent behavioral problems before they occur.

Here’s a breakdown of costs associated with hiring a dog behaviorist:

1. Training Fees

Training fees vary depending upon the type of training needed. For example, a basic obedience class may only require a $50 fee. However, some classes may charge upwards of $200 per session.

2. Equipment

Some trainers recommend purchasing specialized equipment to aid in training. These items can range anywhere from $100-$500.

3. Travel Expenses

Traveling to the trainer’s location may incur additional travel expenses. Depending on the distance between the home and the facility, these expenses can run anywhere from $25-$150.

4. Insurance

Most insurance policies cover veterinary care and emergency treatment. However, some policies exclude certain treatments, including behavior modification.

5. Food

Food is usually provided during training sessions. Although food is typically included in the price of the service, some trainers may charge extra for treats.

6. Supplies

Supplies can range from $20-$60.

7. Other Costs

Other costs may include pet supplies, grooming, boarding, etc.

When should you hire a dog behaviorist?

Dog behaviorists are experts in dog training, but they also understand human psychology. They’re trained to identify problems before they become big issues, so they can help you solve them quickly and easily.

Here’s a checklist of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not you need a dog behaviorist:

1. Do I Have a Problem With My Dog?

This may seem like a silly question, but it’s actually very important. Many dogs suffer separation anxiety, fear, aggression, or destructive behaviors. These are all common reasons why people seek out professional help.

2. Is There Anything Else Going On?

It’s possible that your dog has a medical condition that needs attention. For example, some breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, ear infections, allergies, skin conditions, and eye diseases.

3. Does My Dog Need Therapy?

Some dogs just aren’t cut out for life as a pet. They require specialized care and training, and they may benefit from therapy.

4. Can I Afford It?

You shouldn’t spend money on anything unless you absolutely have to. But if you think you need a dog behavior specialist, you’ll probably find that you can afford it.

5. How Much Time Will It Save Me?

How much time does your dog waste every day? Are you spending hours cleaning up after him? Or is he wasting your time by chewing things that belong to you?

6. What Would Happen If I Don’t Hire One?

If you don’t hire a dog behaviorist, you run the risk of having a bad situation turn into a worse one. Dogs learn from their mistakes, and they make plenty of them. If you ignore your dog’s misbehavior, you may end up with a dog who doesn’t listen to you anymore.

7. Am I Ready To Be Done?

Sometimes, we get attached to our pets. We love them unconditionally, and we want them to stay around forever. Unfortunately, that’s impossible. Sooner or later, you’ll have to let go.


There are many reasons and times when you may need a dog behaviorist. If your dog is exhibiting problem behaviors, has a history of abuse, or is not responding to basic obedience training, a behaviorist may be able to help.

Dog behaviorists can also provide valuable assistance if your dog is having trouble adapting to a new home or lifestyle.

If you think your dog could benefit from the services of a behaviorist, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.