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If your pet is suffering from any obvious physical ailment, your vet is the best person to help your pet. If your pet does not show good manners, then consulting a professional pet trainer could be an apt solution.
But if you find your pet behaving strangely, showing traits such as abnormal fear, aggression, and anxiety, then you must approach a pet behaviorist. If you fear that your pet’s behavior could put either him or others at risk, then effective therapy by a certified behaviorist is a must.
Who is a Pet Behaviorist?
A pet behaviorist can be an animal behaviorist or a veterinary behaviorist.
An applied animal behaviorist holds an advanced degree in animal behavior, such as a Ph.D., MS, or MA.
A certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB) is one who has a doctoral degree and has received graduate or post-graduate instruction in animal behavior, biology or zoology, at accredited educational institutions.
Applied and certified applied animal behaviorists have theoretical and practical knowledge of the normal behavior of animals. These professionals employ methods that not only reveal the root cause of your pet’s behavior but also replace it with a more positive one.
A veterinary behaviorist is one who has completed veterinary education and has a specialization in animal behavioral studies. Veterinarians usually seek specialization and certification in animal behavioral studies from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
A veterinary behaviorist has in-depth knowledge and experience in dealing with abnormal pet behaviors. He or she is also trained in prescribing appropriate medications to support your pet’s behavioral modification treatment.
How to Know if Your Pet Needs a Behaviorist?
- Your pet is excessively aggressive – Depending on the pet, behaviors such as baring the teeth showing hostility, staring, howling, tail-swishing (cats), charging without provocation, nipping, scratching, hissing, biting, are common signs of aggression.
In the case of dogs, growling, barking, and snarling, are other common signs of aggression.
Pet aggression may be indicative of its need to show dominance or to protect its territory, food, or caretakers.
A behaviorist can identify the right reason and help your pet to be more social.
- Your Pet is Anxious – Different pets exhibit anxiety symptoms in different ways. A dog, for example, shows anxiety by whining or by pacing and panting. A cat shows anxiety by making meow sounds or by hiding.
Some pets, including dogs and cats, may express anxiety with other unhabitual behaviors such as licking themselves till the skin is exposed, defecating at undesignated spots indoors, or damaging objects.
- Your Pet is Showing Abnormal Fear – Many things, such as thunders, firecrackers, and specific objects such as vacuum cleaners, toys, and construction equipment, can frighten a pet.
Your pet may have intense fear if he is showing unusual aggression by growling, snarling, or attacking; or is exhibiting anxiety symptoms. Consultation with a behaviorist can help deal with the issue. Seeking timely action for abnormal behaviors can save your pet and you a great deal of stress. Go for a behaviorist with positive referrals to ensure that your pet is in safe hands.