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What do I need? Dog trainer or behaviour consultant?

Understanding the difference between dog training (obedience) and dog behaviour issues will help you to understand what is best for you. We're often contacted by people wanting to have obedience training yet their dog is jumping up, digging holes, aggressing, or one of many other issues which cannot be effectively addressed in a group training situation.

Dog training or obedience training is about teaching your dog skills - these are things like recall (getting your dog to 'come' when called), 'sit' (which IS useful for a jumpy dog but often not really effective), walking at 'heel', etc. These are the primary commands that we will teach people as these are the commands used to keep our dogs safe. Other obedience commands such as 'drop', 'stand', 'stay', etc are just an added bonus. In a nutshell, these commands don't change an inappropriate behaviour, they're simply a request to you dog to perform or do something for you

Behavioural training focusses on changing a behaviour that we don't like. We can use (or TRY to use) an obedience command to change a behaviour that we don't like but if that is all that you're doing it will take quite some time to get the changes that you're after. So a behaviour consultant will work one on one with you to see why your dog is doing the naughty things and teach you how to change these behaviours. Dog behaviour consultants will usually teach (or use existing) obedience commands to help to get the appropriate behaviours so they are both dog trainer and dog behavioural therapist or consultant. A dog trainer, however teaches obedience and, unless studying dog behaviour would normally not be able to help with the behavioural aspects.

So when looking for help with your dog, think firstly - does your dog need commands? (therefore dog trainer OR dog behaviour consultant will be fine) or does your dog exhibit behaviours that you don't like? In this case you'll need to be searching for dog behaviour training.

A dog obedience skill

A dog behaviour issue

Either way, take action and enjoy a far better relationship with your dog :-)

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