What to look for in a Trainer or Behaviourist

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RAINYBOW, Apr 15, 2010.


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  1. RAINYBOW

    RAINYBOW PetForums VIP

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    Please can someone with the knowledge do a thread listing the preferred affiliations and qualifications to look for in a Trainer and behaviourist (obviously it may differ for each). I don't think it is necessary to name specific people :)

    As we have said in the other ongoing thread this is a minefield for the general public at the moment with franchises popping up all over the place so some general advice could prevent people going down the wrong path and wasting a load of money.

    Please can this be merely informative and not a discussion :)

    Then can we have it as a sticky please :thumbup:

    (i don't ask for much do i :p)
     
  2. katiefranke

    katiefranke PetForums VIP

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    Some of the things to consider when choosing a Dog Trainer (whether that be for a puppy or an adult dog) should be:

    Choosing a Dog Trainer - Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK

    One of the the MOST important things is to GO ALONG AND WATCH A CLASS before signing up. I think this is so important!! And in fact, if this is your first training class, go to a few and compare before deciding.

    As we have said in other threads, affiliations and qualifications are important, but not the only thing to look for - plus, as with anything, there are those that don't abide by the code of conduct/ethics of their affiliation, but they can be reported.

    In the UK, a good place to start, would be a trainer registered as a member of the UK APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). They do have a good code of ethics and conduct and will enforce it. If someone does not train by this code, they can be reported and struck off from the membership.

    www.apdt.co.uk

    You can see here what is required of members to gain membership: http://www.apdt.co.uk/dog_trainer_membership.asp
    And here is their code of practice that all trainers must abide by: http://www.apdt.co.uk/about_APDT.asp

    This is not to say that anyone not with the APDT is no good, but at least with the above you have some benchmark/come back as such...although still no guarantees, which is why it is very important, no matter what affiliation, that you check what methods they use and go along and watch a class.

    For a behaviourist, I think that the criteria should be to a higher level - so will do a separate post on this.
     
    #2 katiefranke, Apr 15, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
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  3. rona

    rona Guest

    It would also be useful to list those organizations that do not have an assessment or code of conduct, also those that have a system in place to report a trainer for misconduct
     
  4. katiefranke

    katiefranke PetForums VIP

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    Yes good point...

    The APDT definitely has a system in place for this...but will leave to others with more knowledge to confirm which other ones are good/which are not so good...
     
  5. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    There's an excellent article written here on the APBC page that describes how to become a Pet Behaviour Councellor so I suppose it could also be used as a Guide as to what to look out for? Becoming a Pet Behaviour Counsellor The UKRCB also have a similar article linked on HERE

    The UKRCB and APBC are the main two behaviour organisations which most serious, legitimate behaviourists would want to be affiliated to. Most vets will refer to a member of either of these organisations, particularly if the consultation is covered by the owners Insurance policy.

    Remember that any individual can set up their own 'Guild' or 'Association' so it is better to stick to the well known ones. ;)
     
  6. leashedForLife

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    USA behaviorist:

    vet-behaviorist:
    *Diplomates*|* American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    DVMs who go on to board-certify in behavior - can write scrips as well as B-Mod protocol; scarce on the ground, but many will do a long-distance consult, with the local-vet as hands-on for tests, exams, etc, and VIDEO of the dog behavior in Q.
    not cheap but for rare or dangerous behavior, may be irreplaceable.

    focal-seizures, OCDs, severe-aggro with damaging bites (not just a few punctures), and similar serious issues, i would say they are the FIRST not last, resort.



    CAAB: Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist
    Directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists — Animal Behavior Society: Applied Animal Behavior
    since many CAABs partner with a local-vet for scrips, the fall-back for serious or intractable issues if there is no nearby vet-behaviorist, and U cannot get Your Personal Vet to agree to play-nice with a Vet-beh consult (some vets will not co-consult on behavior - a few do not regard it as a valid-specialty, others think they know as much, some just feel its a waste of their time, etc; they are not, thankfully, common).

    IAABC: Intl Assoc Animal-Behavior Counselors
    Int. Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants
    * have screening + study requirements
    * have ethics agreement
    * have reporting system for violations
    * cover more species - psittacines, equines, etc.
    one step below CAAB; still not common, but easier to find
    some specialties/species NOT covered by others, can be found here
     
    #6 leashedForLife, Apr 15, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
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  7. leashedForLife

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    Sit-Means-S*it - FRANCHISE
    * anyone can buy in; attend their instruction + business opens
    * uses shock to teach not proof behavior, whether pup or adult
    * franchisees are limited to approved methods only


    Bark Busters - FRANCHISE
    * anyone can buy in; a few weeks instruction, open for business
    * exclusive areas of coverage (non-compete within franchise)

    * SPECIFICALLY do not want experienced trainers -
    they want pet-owners, not trainers, as franchisees

    * franchisees are limited to approved methods only -
    if it is not covered by the book, they cannot wing it;
    specialties include *shout BAH!*, throw water-balloons + toss bagged-chains
    (corrections or aversives - not teaching but suppressing behaviors)


    IACP - Intl Assoc of Canine Pros
    * anyone can join; NO * LIMITS on methods or tools
    * members are specifically FORBIDDEN to campaign against any method or tool
    (helicoptering, shock-collars, hanging, etc)


    Animal Behavior College - ABC grads
    * long-distance learning via text + tests for theory
    * a few weeks of hands-on practice + observation with a mentor
    * quality varies; claim of positive-reinforcement not always born-out in practice
    * some are very good; some mediocre; some are awful


    PetsMart in-store training - store-brand
    * some good, some very-good, some dreadful
    * supposed to be pos-R but choke-chains, prongs, etc, are not uncommon
    * observe a class at least 2x before signing-up, and get the INSTRUCTOR U observed -
    some stores have 2 to 4 trainers, don;t just grab one - skills vary widely.


    always feel free to OBJECT if something the trainer does makes U uncomfortable -
    be an advocate for Ur dog; rough handling, harsh tools, impatience, etc, are not apropos.
    SHY * DOGS or timid pups are special cases! they may need set-back from the class, calmatives, etc;
    similarly REACTIVE * DOGS - visual-barriers to allow them to concentrate in a group-class, and other extras
    to accommodate their lower-thresholds should be readily available.
    calmatives can also be helpful to reactive-dogs.
    some one-to-one training can help shy or reactive dogs, before attending a group-class.
     
  8. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Great topic and great resources mentioned :thumbup: thanks all!

    Here is a nice list of various acronyms and letters associated with various organisations and certifications. A lot are very US-centric but many are universally relevant.

    APBC etc. have been mentioned re behaviourists and I think that its really important that people understand the difference in standard of education and skill required in behaviourists. Thats why an individuals membership of groups with strict standards are so important for behaviourists.

    Also COAPE and CAPBT behaviourists.

    For trainers you are lucky in the UK to have APDT assessed trainers - super important org.

    But these are only places to start - you still want to select from these lists based on other criteria. I have a blog post on choosing a trainer with lots of tips and resources.

    There are lots of resources available when it comes to choosing a trainer/behaviourist to suit - the problem is we have to know where to look ;)
     
  9. leashedForLife

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    this is by no means exhaustive - there are others.

    CCPDT: a 3rd-party testing organization
    Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
    anyone can sit the exam; no organizational affiliation is required.


    USA-apdt: Assoc of Pet-Dog Trainers Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources
    ____________________________________________________
    * unlike the UK, no assessment to join
    * 'promotes' dog-friendly training - a considerable dilution from their original
    * open to trainers of any persuasion -
    many shock-trainers who use shock to teach / not proof,
    many-more trainers who use traditional choke, jerk, prong methods + tools,
    JOIN the USA-apdt as a sales tactic; they slap a logo on their website, and continue to train like 1945 drill-sergeants:
    nothing has changed, its just window-dressing.
    * they DO have standards-reporting -
    however, getting a trainer expelled is not easy; conviction of animal cruelty or neglect is about It, really.
    * 2 membership levels:
    # professional: must sit + pass the CCPDT written exam [CPDT = Certified Pet Dog Trainer]
    # full: voting member; has not sat the exam; may be novice to very experienced, full gamut.

    * continuing education in the form of monthly newsletter (sadly gone from 3-punch paper to glossy full-color mag)
    and an ANNUAL conference which is terrific - but often geographically impossible; the USA is a big area.

    * members-only Yahoo-list has loads of members; few post
    good for newbies to pick-up tips, tho... (shrug)

    * trainers with a strong bias to pos-R * can * be found here.
    just be sure of who and what U are getting - if they spout dominance + pack-theory, RUN.
    if they tell U that shock-collars *tickle*, ask them to wear one while U control the remote -
    be sure its operating first by trying it on Ur own forearm. ;) collars can be turned-off at the receiver.
    ____________________________________________


    IPDTA: Intl Positive Dog-Trainers Assoc.
    International Positive Dog Training Association
    a small Canadian organization that is (IMO) in the midst of growing-pains;
    founded on the precept of using ONLY non-pain or low-aversive tools and techniques.
    the membership voted on acceptability of tools - chokes, prongs and shock collars are out;
    citronella collars with caution, only; etc.
    * they are few in number, but generally highly-ethical
    * they DO have stringent member-reporting + removal
    * assessment-protocols are in development


    TDF: Truly-Dog Friendly
    Truly Dog Friendly » About Truly Dog Friendly
    pretty self-explanatory; SHOCK is entirely off the menu, chokes + prongs are used by very few.
    a very strong bias to pos-R and proactive teaching, vs pos-P or R-/aversives + suppression.
    * Do have a reporting + removal system
    * fairly well-distributed across the USA
    * no membership fee


    IACP certification: IACP - Certification
    property of IACP; if for any reason U leave the organization, the certification is gone.
    (excellent for assuring renewals for the future.) no outside assessors or 3rd-party testing; all in-house.
    IMO? not a good telltale.


    NADOI: Natl Assoc of Dog Obedience Instructors
    National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors - NADOI | dog trainer | endorsed instructors | find trainers | educational resources
    * do have assessment
    * do have report + remove system
    * stringent - video + in-person assessments may be required
    i was on page-24 of my written application, to be copied IN TRIPLICATE and submitted by mail!, when i realized that
    i had not gotten halfway, yet; i gave up. the prospect of writing an encyclopedia was too daunting. :eek:


    CAPPDT: Canada
    other than they exist, i know nothing about them -
    Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers
     
    #9 leashedForLife, Apr 15, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  10. leashedForLife

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    * IAABC -
    see USA list

    * APDT-Aus: the Australian Assoc of Pet-Dog Trainers
    http://tinyurl.com/y5tnjcm
    * must be voted-in by membership
    * must be attested by other members
    * does have report + remove system
    * does not ALLOW shock-collars or prong-collars -
    and i doubt choke-chains will last much longer

    * strong bias to pos-R + teaching vs pos-P/neg-R aversives + suppression
    * annual conference in Australia
    * members-only list on-line


    there may be others - if so, i have not heard of them.
     
    #10 leashedForLife, Apr 15, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  11. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    I second that. This would be brilliant as a sticky ! :thumbsup:
     
  12. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    Excellent idea for a sticky. Considering this is the behaviour and training section, having a thread we could refer people to when the best advice might be to choose a behaviourist would be great.

    The behaviourist i used for miso was apdt registered, very experienced and i witnessed her in a group class before i decided to use her.

    I also "viewed" a few other behaviourists in my area, including the one associated with my vets. She is also apdt registered yet her methods featured too much shouting and punishment for my liking.

    My biggest piece of advice (after using somewhere like apdt) would be to visit the behaviourists and view them teaching, pop along to a class to see how they really are with the dogs they are helping.
     
  13. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    APDT Uk have a very thorough reporting system and the only way to protect pets and their people is to use it when appropriate if you feel that a trainers actions don't comply with the code of ethics.

    Sticky is a good idea :thumbup:
     
  14. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    hiya i have reported it, hwoever her methods are approved by them, just not as kind as i would prefer them to be, which is why i suggest you go and see the behaviourist and or trainer in action before committing to them.
     
  15. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    WOW really....thats a little worrying, any more detail? PM if you prefer ;)
     
  16. k8t

    k8t PetForums Senior

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    Hi

    I agree with BillyBoysMammy, although someone may be an APDT member, do go and check it out first.

    I know a member who was assessed with excellent results, but will still shout at the dogs and has been known to grab the lead and shut one away in the storeroom. It probably doesn't do the dog any harm - he is a noisy b....r, but probably not what the APDT would adcovate!

    APBC is a different thing all together and a lot more care is taken over making sure those who are members, do have the right knowledge.

    Kate
     
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  17. billyboysmammy

    billyboysmammy PetForums VIP

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    pm'd you but for the benefit of the thread.

    The behaviourists methods were sound and in keeping with reward based training... the execution was off.

    She did not hit or be intentionally cruel. But she would pull a to harshly sharply on the lead, and shout a little too loudly and agressively. Far too much for miso who at the time was having difficulty adjusting and displaying lots of fear signals and fear aggro.

    The type of training is in keeping with apdt ethos but her own personality/administration of the training was off for me.

    I am not in any way saying anything against the apdt though, they are fantastic, but like everything you need to assess yourself and not just take everything on face value xx
     
  18. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Thanks ;) but to me leash corrections and shouting/aggressive behaviour is not in keeping with reward based training and should not be acceptable to an organisation that stand for this. 'tis all very interesting ;)
     
  19. lucysnewmum

    lucysnewmum PetForums Senior

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    i second that! sharp leash corrections can cause neck damage and shouting is aggression in itself so hardly in keeping with the reward based ethos.

    i am an online graduate with the Academy of Dog Training and Behaviour (ADTB). whilst i admit that online courses can leave a lot to be desired, i have taken this course in part to show that i have at least studied the topics that i will be teaching and also for financial reasons (it was one of the most affordable to me at the time). i back up the knowledge gained from this course with over 30 years of experience of handling, showing, breeding, and training dogs of all kinds. The ADTB is a fee paying membership and they do have a code of practise which states that no trainer will use any methods of training likely to cause harm or distress to the dog. There are contact details of their trainers readily available to non members and also details of who to complain to in the event of a trainer using unsuitable or unacceptable methods.

    http://www.dogtraining-online.co.uk/courses.html
    Gilly
     
    #19 lucysnewmum, May 15, 2010
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  20. jmslee123

    jmslee123 PetForums Newbie

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    First of all he is an experienced person.His behaviour are looking so good.The past experience with other dogs and other dogs whose issues have been resolved with accurate and health procedures.Reputation is everything.I would suggest working at rescues training there and get experience through that.
     
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