Who is an animal behaviourist?
The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem. A behaviourist is a person who deals with the mental state of our pet. Can we call him a dog or cat psychologist? Not really. Behaviourism is a broader term including elements of not only animal psychology. For the sake of simplicity, we can say that a behaviourist is a super-psychologist for animals!
Does my dog have behavioural problems?
Animals – just like people – may suffer from both physical and psychological disorders. The former can be solved by a vet, the latter by a behaviourist.
It is important not to confuse mental problems with training problems. Loud barking or more widely disobedience is most often caused by improper upbringing and animal behaviourist is not the right person to solve such problems. In case of such behaviour, we should seek help in a dog school from a qualified trainer.
When to call a dog behaviourist?
Behavioural problems are problems directly related to our pet’s psyche. Anxiety when the owner leaves the house, fear of walking, social phobias or acts of self-aggression are all situations in which a behaviourist can help us.
Let’s remember that the proper psychological condition of our pet should be as important to us as its physical condition!
How does a behaviourist work? – observation
First of all, the behaviourist has to look at the problem. The observation should be conducted in natural conditions for the animal, that is, in conditions in which our friend lives every day. Therefore, it is necessary for the behaviourist to visit us at home – preferably on a day when all household members will be there!
The reason for psychological problems can be trivial – wrong amount of movement or improper diet can make the psychological condition of our pet weaken considerably.
In fact, even wrong placement of the bed on which our pet rests can have an impact on it. After all, who would like to be woken up every now and then from sleep by people passing by?
How does a behaviourist work? – action plan
It is extremely common for unwanted behaviour to be caused by a misunderstanding of our pet’s needs.
A good animal behaviourist will easily spot possible communication problems and will teach the household the right reactions to unwanted behaviour. He will show how to reward and motivate our friend, which will make him happy to undergo the transformation we care so much about.
A behaviourist is also able to write down an appropriate diet, or show what mistakes in contact with the pet are made by particular members of the household. This is why it is so important for all members of the household to be present during a visit to the behaviourist!
- If your dog barks too much, runs away during walks or is simply disobedient – a visit to an experienced trainer may be the solution.
- If your dog shows depressive states, engages in acts of self-aggression or displays unmotivated fear of people, other animals or things – call an animal behaviourist.
Please note that the fears mentioned in the article are only examples. A behavioural problem may be, for example, a fear of climbing stairs or other very unusual behaviour which cannot be listed here.
Anything unnatural can be a behavioural problem! Let’s remember – the mental health of our pet is something which needs to be taken care of!