What is the difference between a Behaviorist and Trainer?

The more you search, the more people you will find who are not only behaviorists and trainers, but also, pet sitters, doggie day-care operators, dog walkers, etc. Now that's a busy day in my book.

We see it this way: a behaviorist deals with the underlying behavioral issues that a dog is experiencing by first identifying these issues and then working through them on a primal level. Sixty percent of a dog's brain is controlled by the nose and tactile senses (feeling). This means that the use of body language and energy is going to serve as the clearest form of communication to the dog.

A behaviorist understands the angles of body language, transitional cues, the nuances of eye contact, quickness of a dog's reaction, etc. A trainer may have a good deal of knowledge on these issues, but for the most part, dog training's objective is to shape our dogs into positions using verbal/non-verbal commands, such as a "sit" or "down," while not addressing the psychological components involved. Being obedience trainers as well, we at K9 Instincts felt a key piece of knowledge was missing, knowledge of how the dog's mind was functioning when these "tricks" were being performed. You can see this in action when your neighbor repeatedly tells his dog to "stay" in the yard when a bicycle rides by, but the dog's mind is already down the street after the bike as the dog whines and barks. The body may have physically stayed (or have been restrained), but mind and focus are gone. The mind-body connection is what we needed to understand in order to better assist our clients as well as our own dogs. We needed to be better informed as an obedience instructors by becoming behaviorists. We have the answer to those questions that remained unanswered throughout our "obedience training only" days. We look forward to sharing this knowledge and experience with you and your dog!


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