Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

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Red
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Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:47 am

Many dog owners are unsure of who they should contact in case of significant behavioral problems and because there is a difference in what individuals can offer, depending on their qualifications, knowledge and experience, it is important to know what that difference is. The following is just a brief explanation of who is what and how they can help you and your dog. These are not only trainers, although some are as well, and don’t put a band aid on symptoms of something that is an indicator of much bigger underlying problems.

BOARD CERTIFIED VETERINARY BEHAVIORISTS are specialist in behavior medicine. They have graduated from veterinary school (have a DVM degree or equivalent) and went through more years of specialized studies in residency programs, they are versed in neurology, neuropharmacology , ethology, the principle of learning and behavior, normal and abnormal behavior and so on. They have a medical background that can help your dog where your average dog trainer can't. These the people you also look for when your dog is displaying specific behaviors that are caused by flaws in the system such as chemical imbalances in the brain.

Once you contact a veterinary behaviorist there is a questionnaire to fill up, in which questions are carefully planned to get an overall idea of what is going on with the animal, including a medical history. The veterinary behaviorist looks it over and prepares other questions if he/she believes they are needed. After that there is the consultation in person, usually about 1 hour and half, and the dog is observed. The problem behavior is never elicited. If the dog has aggression issues at home the veterinary behaviorist will believe you, even if the behavior is not directly observed during the consultation. No point in creating situations in which problem behaviors are reinforced once again.
If you have videos make sure you offer them to the vet as they are valuable tools. If aggression is the problem don't put the dog in situations in which a behavior escalates, in order to take videos. It is not necessary, but if you happen to have videos prior contacting the veterinary behaviorist then let him/her know.

After the consultation a prognosis is made and the owner receives a behavior modification protocol to utilize, in writing. If medications are in order they are prescribed and the veterinary behaviorist will work with your regular vet by sending in a report of the consultation. Follow ups through the phone or e-mail are the next step and the dog should be seen again after the behavior modification program has been practiced for some time.

More info here:
http://dacvb.org/home/
http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=77&Itemid=353
http://www.tufts.edu/vet/behavior/help.shtml


CERTIFIED APPLIED ANIMAL BEHAVIORISTS have graduate degrees in the science of animal behavior, by an accredited college or university, they completed post-graduate education receiving a Master’s (2-year full time) or Ph.D.(4-year full time) degree in a behavioral science, or DVM or VMD degree with a behavioral residency, have passed rigorous oral and written examinations given by their faculty committees, published articles in scientific journals, supervised hands-on experience with animals and meet the course work and experience requirements for certification as set forth by the Animal Behavior Society. Often animal behaviorists are members of the IADBC (International Association of Dog Behavior Counselors), the ABMA (Animal Behavior Management Alliance), the ABS (Animal Behavior Society) or the ACABC (Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors). The owner fill up a questionnaire, there is a consultation in person and a behavior modification protocols is given. More info:

http://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/certified-applied-animal-behaviorists

http://www.animalbehavior.org/

If you visit a website while seeking help, or consult someone who claims to be a dog behaviorist, you want to check for credentials. Unfortunately there aren’t government licensing requirements for applied animal behavior professionals, which have allowed individuals to call themselves animal behaviorists, canine behaviorists, dog psychologists and and so forth. This results in many people having little knowledge of the use of the scientific method to modify behaviors and failure to apply appropriate methods. A few titles put on their own dogs does not entitle any person or trainer to claim they are dog behaviorists. Not even TV shows, but that is another can of worms.

DOG BEHAVIOR CONSULTANTS (I use a general term) specialize in dog behavior and they can be certified trough different associations. They can be members of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants or similar associations, in which they are required to follow certain ethic standards and apply scientific methods. Overall a consultant’s education can include accredited university coursework, diplomas and certifications from a reliable institute with internship programs (IAABC approved course providers, for example) , extensive reading, writing, working under a mentor, independent study and hands-on experience working with animals. These people are continuously keeping updated, though seminars and workshops, courses, text books and articles in animal behavior journals. A reliable behavior consultant does not make promises and guarantee results within a certain amount of time. If someone tells you that they can "fix" any behavioral problem in a month or 3 sessions, aggression in particular, find someone else who has realistic views of how much time it actually takes to modify behaviors.

These people come to your home, especially if that is the environment in which problems are more significant, and will explain what you need to know and do in order to see improvements. Techniques are shown, as well as management suggestions when this is lacking. Depending on how advanced the owner is the homework might target only one thing to work with at a time, and then move farther. A good behavior consultant will ask for the dog’s medical history and depending on what behaviors are observed or learned a thyroid panel or farther blood work and health related tests as well. He/she might also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. This is not done to bother the owner and add more expenses. Often there is a health problem that is directly responsible for changes in the behavior or behavior patterns that have been there for a long time. My worse case of fear aggression improved dramatically once the owner finally agreed to travel to a very valuable vet and get a full thyroid panel done. While there have been improvements with behavior modification there was only so much to do when the dog needed medications for his health problem.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby BabyReba » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:58 am

really good information, red. thanks for posting this!

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Stormi » Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:33 pm

Well put! This should be a sticky *cough, cough*, *nudge,nudge*.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby merriterrier » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:53 am

Stormi wrote:Well put! This should be a sticky *cough, cough*, *nudge,nudge*.


X2!

Thank you for the clarification. For those of us not in the know this is pretty muddy water, especially if you are trying to find help for you and your dog.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Stormi » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:41 pm

ahem... sticky.... :pray

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby BabyReba » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:06 pm

Stormi wrote:ahem... sticky.... :pray


yes, we saw, we're working on it. individual mods try not to just take action without having a chance to run it by other mods first, and since everyone's not online at the same time, it's never an instant process.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby HUGaBULLyo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:38 am

nice post :thumbsup: some good info for those in need of it.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:26 pm

I'd like to add something about the "trainers"...please do your homework, before you end up with a business where the "trainers" learned to be trainers yesterday, are uneducated, have no background in dog behavior whatsoever and slap an electric or a prong on your dog. Most people do not understand terms such as those in this thread's original post and when they need help, which can include behavioral issues, they usually look for a "trainer". Unfortunately, it takes a moment for someone to claim to be a trainer.

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Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Stormi » Sat Aug 20, 2011 10:53 pm

Red wrote:Most people do not understand terms such as those in this thread's original post and when they need help, which can include behavioral issues, they usually look for a "trainer". Unfortunately, it takes a moment for someone to claim to be a trainer.


And to add to this, it's important to understand that training and behavior modification are not the same thing. There are plenty of fabulous trainers who do well with operant, "obedience" classes, teaching dogs tricks and basic manners, but are not skilled in behavioral issues. The two do coincide, but do require very different skill sets. Emotional behaviors cannot be "cured" with an obedience fix. Unfortunately it is difficult for owners who simply want help for their dog to understand the lingo and really know who is qualified and who is talking out of their bum, but until there is some form of standards and regulations that "trainers" are held to, its up to the owners to do their homework and find someone who is truly qualified to help their dog. If a trainer is claiming to be a "behaviorist" with no credentials to back that claim up, they aren't the person you are looking for.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby 1lila1 » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:30 pm

Red wrote:I'd like to add something about the "trainers"...please do your homework, before you end up with a business where the "trainers" learned to be trainers yesterday, are uneducated, have no background in dog behavior whatsoever and slap an electric or a prong on your dog. Most people do not understand terms such as those in this thread's original post and when they need help, which can include behavioral issues, they usually look for a "trainer". Unfortunately, it takes a moment for someone to claim to be a trainer.


Excellent post and this is a very important thread! I've spent years trying to repair the harm to my relationship with Lila that was done when I blindly trusted "trainers" and "behaviorists" to help me with her issues. If you are training your dog in these manners you may not think your relationship is harmed because dogs are amazing and they have the ability to love and trust us despite what we humans do to them. When, however, you begin training in a positive cooperative manner instead of the aversive confrontational way of the past, you will see a bond develop with your dog you never knew was possible.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:12 am

suhrich05 wrote: But the problem is she has just recently started humping my 10 year old niece Jessica.


What is happening between the two right before the humping behavior is noticed? Can you think of specific situations in which this has happened?

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Curly_07 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:11 am

You should always be supervising play, children present or not.

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Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:23 am

Curly_07 wrote:You should always be supervising play, children present or not.

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This.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby Red » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:52 pm

suhrich05 wrote:Unfortunately due to the fact that they were in the backyard playing, I was not able to witness what had happened. The girls just ran in the house and told me that it had happened. So I will observe the playtime with them, the next time she comes to visit. Then I will know for sure exactly what is going on.


Something you want to start doing is to provide frequent "breaks" for your dog, during play time. It has been mentioned before that humping is not necessarily related to social dominance but can be the results of arousal levels. It would be beneficial to monitor the situation and intervene to help your dog, before she display behaviors that are unwanted. I don't know if your dog has a sit/down cue and is reliable with it, but what you can also do is to gently lead her to a quiet area to "take a break". To move your dog to that area is not punishment, and it is important that you pair it with something valuable to the dog such as bones or a Kong toy filled with food, it is should be more of a place where she can relax and lower her arousal level before play time is resumed.

It is important that you really monitor the situation, not because the humping behavior must mean that the dog is "dominating" over the children, but because you want to avoid the practice of that behavior.

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Re: Veterinary Behavorists, Behavior Consultants etc

Postby gerry » Sun May 20, 2012 11:59 pm

In the lead post you said:
If the dog has aggression issues at home the veterinary behaviorist will believe you, even if the behavior is not directly observed during the consultation. No point in creating situations in which problem behaviors are reinforced once again.


I'll disagree with that one. There are different forms and levels of aggression, and the typical owner tends to lump them all together. One fellow complained his dog bites him when he plays or even pets him for long. However, the dog was found to be just fine with normal levels of intensity. From a demonstration I found he was being rough enough for a long enough period of time that the dog started complaining then eventually snapped at him. He never noticed the dog in distress (he seemed to think they were play sounds), nor would his story to the behaviorist have included that.

Similarly, observing the people running local play groups, a few notice and understand nearly everything that's going on, while others are unsure or completely miss noticing important actions. Overall, very few of their volunteers end up managing those groups, with more just supporting them. If you were to ask each of these three groups of people what was happening, their stories would be rather different.

As for reinforcement, I expect that most people will have observed the dog's behavior many times before going for help. If a single additional instance would cause significant reinforcement, then by the same logic we should be able to cure anything in just a few days. But no, neither direction will change that quickly or easily. Added to this, many times the behavior adjustment needed is more in the owner than the dog, and to find this out you need to observe the owner.


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