Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a trainer and a behaviourist?
A trainer will primarily work with teaching the pet to perform a behaviour or an activity. A behaviourist assesses the emotional component of the pet’s behaviour and then works on changing the emotional response which in turn changes their behavioural response. Training is suitable for teaching new behaviours or resolving behaviours that are not primarily motivated by emotion. Behaviour modification is suitable for addressing behaviours that are primarily driven by emotion, often negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration. Qualified animal behaviourists have academic knowledge of the psychology of the animal. Some behaviourists, like Charlie, are also trainers.
Why is there a difference in cost for a behaviour consultation and a training session?
A behaviour consultation is much more in depth than a training session. It generally lasts longer and requires us to go into detail about the emotions that are likely to influencing the behaviour and make considerations about how the behaviour can be modified. Unlike training sessions, behaviour consultations are followed by a personalised behavioural modification plan. They may also require us to communicate with your vet and other pet professionals.
Can anyone call themselves a trainer/behaviourist?
Unfortunately, as the moment, yes. The pet training and behaviour industry is currently unregulated. This means that anyone can legally call themselves a “trainer” or “behaviourist”, regardless of their experience or knowledge. The Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) are working towards changing this. The Council aims to set standards for the knowledge and skills required to be a recognised, accredited, or certified professional. Charlie is degree level qualified in Animal Behaviour and is currently working towards becoming a certified as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist. She is also working towards becoming an accredited trainer and is currently undergoing the Canine Instructor Course with the Professional Association of Canine Trainers (PACT).
What training methods do you use?
Kind, ethical, science based, and effective training and behaviour modification is used. Positive reinforcement based training where we set pets and owners up for success. We do not use or advocate the use of aversive methods that cause pain or fear. For behaviour modification we consider why the animal is performing the behaviour before trying to address it. With most behaviour problems, desensitisation and counterconditioning is used to modify the pets emotional state and behaviour.
Are you able to see aggressive dogs?
Yes, we do see dogs that have shown aggression to either people or other dogs/pets. Dogs who are showing aggression are not suitable for a training session and instead require a behaviour consultation. Prior to the consultation I will advise on safety precautions.
Why does my vet need to refer my pet for a behaviour consultation?
Often a behavioural change in pets can come about because of a health problem. Before going down the route of treating the behaviour, it is important to first of all try to rule out or identify any potential medical influence.
Do you need to witness the problem behaviour?
No, we will not ask you to put your pet in a situation where they are likely to display the problem behaviour, in fact we will try to avoid it. Each time an animal practices the behaviour it becomes more established and therefore more challenging to modify. Before and during the behaviour consultation specific information about the pet is gathered and this helps form a picture of what is happening.
How long will it take to fix my pets behaviour?
There is no set time. All animals are individuals there are a lot of factors that may affect this. When we are working on changing the emotional response, this is a gradual process and therefore resolution of the problem behaviour is not often instant. There are often aspects of the behaviour that can be modified or managed with immediate effect. With consist implementation of the behaviour modification plan, there should be a significant improvement or resolution of the behaviour problem over time.