Please note that some posts contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links Find out More

Dog Problems? Cat Concerns? Here’s How to Find Pet Behavior Help

by | Mar 23, 2020 | Ask Amy Videos, Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care | 3 comments

Do you know how do you find pet behavior help? As a certified animal behavior consultant for cats and dogs, I receive many requests for pet behavior help. Solving cat behavior problems and bad dog behavior can be a challenge. Some of these I address with articles explaining cat behavior (how to stop meowing, for example, or dealing with cat aggression), as well as puppy and dog behavior issues like noise phobias and separation behaviors.

Some pet behavior challenges have solutions through reading books and articles, others via phone call advice, and more serious issues (dog aggression, for example) need one-on-one help. But how do the behavior experts receive training? Some time ago, I received this email:

My son Dylan is a sophomore in high school. He wants to be a cat behaviorist. He is 16-1/2. Can he take online class somewhere to become a cat behaviorist? David A.

Hands-on help with a professional able to offer individual advice works best, especially in severe cases of dog behavior issues or cat problems. So I applaud Dylan’s interest in learning how to help cats and the people who love them.

Are Pet Behavior Problems Getting Worse?

In our grandparents’ day, pet potty problems weren’t an issue. The whole outdoors served as a toilet. The wide-open spaces reduced territorial arguments between pets. Did the cat groom too much? Folks never noticed (or cared) about hissing off their cat and causing behavior issues. And when an animal’s behavior became a problem, they were replaced.

Today cats and dogs have moved from the barn to a fenced yard or house. They share our meals, our love, and often our pillow. Some may even climb into our refrigerators! But with busy lives, many pets end up alone for hours each day while we’re at work. Boredom, frustration, and sometimes poor breeding, or lack of training or socialization leave us with neurotic, destructive or sometimes aggressive pets. What’s a caring puppy lover to do?

There are several paths that Dylan (and pet lovers needing help) can pursue. Here are my top recommendations.

Finding Credentialed Pet Behavior Help

  • Animal behavior specialists study the relationship of animals to their physical environment as well as to other animals (and to people). The study tries to understand the causes, functions, development, and evolution of behavior and uses that knowledge to help owners and pets build positive relationships.
  • The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) established in 1993. Veterinary behaviorists have veterinary degrees and so can diagnose and prescribe drug therapy as well as behavior and training interventions to solve problems. As of 2020, there are about 80 veterinary behaviorists in the world.
  • The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) developed a certification program in 1991. Members called certified applied animal behaviorists, must have a Ph.D. in a related field. There are about 56 ABS-certified animal behaviorists in the world.
  • The American Animal Behavior Society consists of both veterinary behaviorists and Ph.D. behavior consultants. The database here allows you to do a search to find behavior help for your animal companions.
  • The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) formed in 2003 to create a certification program that validates non-veterinary or Ph.D.-credentialed individuals. Certifications for dog, cat, parrot, horse, and shelter behavior consultants are offered. A number of veterinary and Ph.D. behaviorists also are certified with IAABC. Certified behavior consultants often work with veterinarians. They often also are dog or cat trainers.

How to Become A Cat Behaviorist or Dog Behaviorist

Prep courses in high school and college help students for a future as a veterinarian or Ph.D. behaviorist. For those without those credentials, online courses offer some great instruction. But be aware that just about anyone can tout a “title” on the Internet.

So choose a respected source to find coursework, especially if you plan to offer professional advice to pet lovers. Some of the best options include mentorship and hands-on interaction with the animals.

IAABC offers a “supporting” level membership where interested students like Dylan can get paws wet *s*. The organization also has online course work for learning about behavior. The Animal Behavior College also has an accreditation program for both dogs and cats.

Look into the possibility of working as a pet sitter, under the guidance of a professional. Many of these folks know pet behavior and/or also train dogs (or cats). Learn more about pet sitters here.

cat behavior helpdog behavior helpRead, Read, and Read Some More!

I’d also encourage Dylan to volunteer at the local animal shelter, and read lots of books on the subject. Self educate not only with your own animal companions, but learn from other pet lovers and experts. For general behavior information about cat behavior and dog behavior, check out my ComPETability cat book and the ComPETability/Dog book.

I’ve just begun to create on-demand cat (and dog) behavior webinars for folks like Dylan. Designed as an economical alternative to one-on-one consults, pet lovers, pet sitters, shelter volunteers, and similar folks benefit with the specific advice. As they become available, I’ll post links here.

The first one is here, and comes with one of my Quick Tips cat behavior booklets:

CAT-EGORICAL ENRICHMENT: DIY Pro-Tips for Improving Cat Behavior & Health

NOTE: Recently, I’ve received a large number of Email questions about pets, writing, and publishing. While I can’t answer all of these in detail, some of these will become blog posts and/or added to future Ask Amy videos and podcasts.

YouTube Button

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers?  Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

3 Comments

  1. Franklin Steele

    As always, great information. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Judi Moyers

    Has the name contest started for thriller book 5?

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Litter Box Problems? 8 Reasons Cats Snub the Box & What To DoAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] Learn where you can find professional pet behavior help in this post. […]
  2. Cat Aggression: 4 Kinds of Cat Aggression, and How To Keep the PeaceAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] Learn where to find professional pet behavior help in this post. […]
  3. Dog & Cat Behavior Help: Where to Find HelpAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] issues) that may be the tipping point for solving big-time problems. Learn about some of the professional behavior organizations…
  4. Pets Are Family: Important Pet Relationships in Your Pet's LifeAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] As a certified animal behavior consultant, much of my work focuses on helping YOU understand dog talk and cat…

Leave a Reply

Categories:

Recent Posts

Safe Hot Weather Games for Pets: Keep Cats & Dogs Cool in Hot Weather

Yikes! It’s hot-hot-hot here in Texas. We’ve hit triple digits already. Shadow-Pup is NOT happy. He misses his ZOOMIES in the back garden, but I’m afraid to let him overdo too much. It’s time for hot weather games for pets and keeping cats and dogs cool in hot weather. This year, I’ve invested in more indoor fun for Karma-Kat and Shadow-pup, some with the help of pet products companies sharing neato-torpedo products. Here are some of my favorite pet hot weather games, including Tearribles, Purrini, and LifePro Dog Treatmill (giving some schtuff away!).

What kind of cat toys float your kitty’s boat?  Do your pets enjoy water fountains? Would your hot dog relish a cooling bed, or a wading pool? I offer some more hot weather games and tips in the ASK AMY video, below.

And for a flash from the past, enjoy the Magical-Dawg video of some water fun. I need to get that doggy tub out this year and see if Shadow might indulge.

How do your dogs deal with the weather? Please share your tips for keeping hot dogs cool customers!

Fearful Fido? Know the Signs of Dog Fear, Anxiety, and Stress (FAS)

June is Pet Anxiety Awareness Month. Do you have a fearful Fido? Do you need help with the fireworks and loud thunderstorms happening this time of year that makes dogs scared? It seems silly, but some dogs feel stress when their human wears a hat! I wanted to share some resources for recognizing and understanding signs of canine fear, anxiety, and stress.

While it’s normal for dogs to be cautious and not run head on into traffic, too much stress and anxiety isn’t healthy. Fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) also affect the immune system, impacting both physical and emotional health.

Up to 20 percent of dogs will be born prone to introversion and fear. Proper socialization improves puppy confidence, but abuse or poor socialization can result in anxiety-ridden adults. Pain or illness also can cause anxiety so these dogs associate certain kinds of handling with discomfort. Ongoing anxiety, stress or fear may lead to fear aggression.

Extreme fear interferes with learning, making it even more difficult to help dogs overcome the angst. Fearful dogs quickly recognize that escape behaviors or fear aggression makes the scary situation go away, so they learn to repeat these behaviors…

Chewy Once a Year Blue Box Event: Pet Products Savings for Your Special Pets

Y’all may notice something different about my blog–yes, it’s been spiffed up, thanks to a fantastic web designer! Seems the perfect time to celebrate with some great opportunities for your pets. Once a year, Chewy price drops all kinds of pet goodies in their Blue Box Event–good from June 21 through June 24, so don’t wait. Stock up on all the must-have dog products and cat essentials, as well as pocket pet supplies. Oh, you’ll find way too many bargains for me to list simply by going to this Blue Box Event link. But here are some of my favorites. Shadow-Pup and Karma-Kat put in their orders. Shhh, keep it a secret or your fur buddies may swipe the credit cards and have a fun time!

Get a $25 eCard Gift Card when you purchase $75 worth of select pet products favorites.

Up to 50% Off Select Toys During Chewy’s Blue Box Event.

Up to 50% Off Select Disney During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Up to 30% Off Once-a-Year Pet Parent Deals During Chewy’s Blue Box Event

Learn about more savings…

Small In Show: Calling All Pocket (and other ) Pets!

Why do dogs and cats get all the love? Well… they deserve it, but so do the #SmallInShow contenders, as Rainn Wilson says. “Small pets are truly overlooked. Everyone goes straight to dogs and cats. But Kaytee is out to show that these little creatures have big personalities and are just as worthy to be part of your family. That’s something that was easy to get behind,” said Rainn Wilson.

No, I’m not compensated to share this. It just tickled me, and we all need some giggles these days. Back in the day, I loved my hamsters Whiskers, Snowball, and Cinnamon, and the first pet article I ever sold (for real live dollar$$$) detailed the story of my rescue parrot, Venus, a spectacle Amazon. Pocket pets deserve the love, too.

Besides, I miss attending Westminster, and certainly understand where Rainn comes from in his disappointment. Enjoy this fun MOCK-umentary from Kaytee. The company is launching its inaugural #SmallinShow Award Show, inviting pet parents of hamsters, bunnies, mice, birds and other small companions to share images and stories of their mini heroes across social media. The #SmallinShow Award Show will culminate with the crowning of three winners who will each receive a one-year supply of Kaytee products….

Work Goes To the Dogs & Cats: PSI’s Take Your Pet To Work Week!

Today, it’s PSI’s TAKE YOUR CAT TO WORK DAY! At my house, every week is Take Your Pet to Work Week. This year, it falls on June 20-24, with the CATS’ day on Monday, and the DOGS’ day on Friday. For many folks who continue to work at home, they experience the joy–and challenges–of work with furry companions 24/7.

Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999 to help promote pet adoptions, this week celebrates the 24th anniversary of the event. I’ve written about this nearly every year, so you’ll recognize some of the pictures in the blog.

This year, of course, we have a new dog, Shadow, helping us celebrate. And we’re still navigating a new “normal” after losing our beloved Bravo following his cancer diagnosis. You’ll see some pictures of Bravo with Karma and Shadow, below, as I can’t bear to remove them just yet…after all, he’s still one of my Furry Muses…

Heatstroke Dangers: Pet First Aid for Hot Weather Play & Travel

These hot summer days, Shadow loves to run and play outside, but the hot weather can lead to heatstroke dangers in dogs as well as people. This week, we topped the thermostat at 101 degrees, and it will continue to hover near three digits all week long. Fun in the sun can quickly turn to tragedy if pet owners don’t take precautions to prevent cat and dog heatstroke dangers. Pet heatstroke is common because cats and dogs can’t effectively keep cool in hot summer weather. It becomes especially dangerous during summer travel in cars. Here’s how to save your pets’ lives if they overheat…

How to Prepare for a Disaster: Pet Preparedness & Tips

With the latest hurricane on the way, it's time to revisit your pet disaster plan. You do have one, right? After Katrina and Harvey, everyone should understand the importance of disaster preparation. June is National Pet Preparedness Month, and in the fall, September...

Check the Chip: All About Pet Microchips

It's Check Your Pet Microchip Day on August 15! It's early to check but everyone needs a reminder. Your cats and dogs are microchipped, right? When he was (ahem) neutered, Shadow-Pup got his microchip. Both Bravo-Dawg and Karma-Kat already had microchips so that if...

Our Pet Memory Garden: Honoring Furry Muses

Those who follow this blog know about our rose garden tribulations. We live on 13 acres, with lots of area to landscape. It remains a work in progress, and I had several ideas for pet remembrance and plants to honor pets like my Bravo, Magic, Seren and others....

Visit Amy’s Website

Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

On Demand Writer Coaching

AmyShojai.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com http://amazon.com/.

Awards

Memberships

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This