Choosing A Dog Behavior Consultant

It’s difficult enough to wade through all the dog trainers and to choose one that works for you and your dog; but when you need a little more in-depth training and behavior modification, it gets even more gray and blurry!

First of all, in Utah, there are only a handful of certified dog behavior consultants. Many people will SAY they are behavior consultants and even behaviorists, but they are not certified.

What does “certified” even mean? Certified in this case means the person had the experience to qualify to take the test and/or write the case studies and then they successfully passed the psychometric, comprehensive test and/or wrote acceptable case studies. It also means that they are required to maintain their certification through regular continuing education. Bottom line, they have, and are, putting in the time and energy required to be a documented, credentialed, and educated cutting edge professional.

There are three certifying organizations in the United States for dog behavior consultants: the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (, and the Pet Professional Guild ( All three of these organizations have online directories to help guide you to a certified professional in your area.

A quick note about Dog Behaviorists — a behaviorist is either a veterinarian with a behavior specialty or a PhD. Period. The advanced degree is what makes these professionals behaviorists. If the person cannot be called “doctor,” they are not a behaviorist. ¬†We have one Dog Behaviorist in Utah.

So, do your homework. Certified professional dog behavior consultants certainly have!

(Laurie is a certified canine behavior consultant with CCPDT and has been since 2011.)

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