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Careers in Animal Behavior

Jacque Lynn Schultz, ASPCA, Director, Special Projects

Jacque Lynn Schultz’s article “>”Information, Please!” in the Spring 1998 issue of ASPCA Animal Watch explains that:

A Trainer learns his or her craft through apprenticing, assisting in group classes, volunteering at animal shelters, attending seminars, and working with as many dogs as possible. While thousands of people call themselves trainers, this is an unlicensed profession in most states, so quality and methodology vary tremendously.

Careers in Animal Behavior – Resources


Canine Trainers offer group classes, private lessons, or board-and-train sessions. All manner of canine etiquette and dog sports are taught in group classes. Private lessons are best for solving in-home problems or for obedience instruction when owners have erratic schedules. Board-and-train allows someone else to train the dog without owner supervision. For this to be effective, the caretakers must be brought up to speed on what the dog was taught and how, as well as how to reinforce it.

Applied Animal Behaviorists have an advanced degree in animal behavior and may also be certified by the Animal Behavior Society. They are far fewer in number than trainers. As of spring 1998, there were only 29 certified behaviorists in North America. They work with the client’s veterinarian to rule out any physical causes for behavior problems, and treatment can include drug therapy. The field is well suited for solving severe fears and phobias, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and aggression.

Veterinary Behaviorists are the newest members of the problem-solving triad, as the specialty just became available for board certification by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Behavior College in 1995. These professionals may perform the diagnostic tests needed to rule out physical sources for a problem behavior (or, more likely, refer you to your own veterinarian) and then recommend appropriate behavior modification techniques, coupled with nutritional and drug therapies, if needed.

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior
Victoria Voith
5129 Scarsdale “D”
Dayton, OH 45440

Animal Behavior Society
Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D.
New York, NY 10128

Association of Pet Dog Trainers
66 Morris Ave, Suite 2A
Springfiled, NJ 07081

Courtesy of
424 East 92nd St.
New York, NY 10128-6804
(212) 876-7700

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