Inappropriate or outdated advice or methods might adversely affect your dog’s welfare and might even make the problem behaviour worse in the long term. Because anybody can use the title ‘behaviourist’, even without qualifications or experience, it’s important to check that they belong to an organisation where members are required to have good standards of education, qualification and experience. This will ensure that they will have the right up-to-date knowledge, skills and ability to help your dog.
The Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) is a regulatory body that represents and maintains registers of animal trainers and behaviourists fulfilling accreditation criteria and belonging to approved member associations https://abtc.org.uk/
In addition, the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) is an independent organisation which accredits Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists (CCAB), a standard identical to the certification mentioned above https://www.asab.org/ccab-register
Behaviourists registered with these organisations at the level of Certified or Clinical Animal Behaviourist will hold an approved qualification at degree level of higher and have undertaken an extensive period of supervised training in order to build up a portfolio of casework. They will only work on veterinary referral, ensuring that any underlying illness, injury or pain is being treated in conjunction with the behavioural support being given.
Similarly, veterinarians who hold Advanced Practitioner or Specialist Status in Animal Behaviour can be found via the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons https://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet-surgeon/
When you have located a behaviourist in your local area, it’s always worth checking what their qualifications mean as well as the types of methods they use to address behavioural problems. It’s important to feel comfortable working with your behaviourist and be confident that your dog’s welfare is always prioritised.
Some behavioural support might be covered by pet insurance, so if your dog is insured it is worth checking the terms and conditions of your policy.