The dog training industry is completely unregulated, meaning anyone can set up as a trainer or behaviourist. This leads to a huge variety in the quality of service you may receive and the methods used. Some trainer and behaviourists may have completed a course that is a few days long, while others like myself and other trainers and behaviourists I refer to have spent years studying animal behaviour and achieved degrees and masters degrees to ensure we have a huge bank of up to date knowledge. The hope is that one day all trainers and behaviourists will need a minimum level of training to advertise their services and ensure you are getting the best advice for your pets, but until then please ask questions before you book a session.
Research into animal behaviour is constant, especially work on dogs as the UK’s most popular pet. For that reason, after my degree in animal behaviour and welfare, I chose to continue my studies with the Msc in Clinical Animal Behaviour at Lincoln University.
The University of Lincoln MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour is an evidence-based post-graduate qualification and is one of only two UK courses accredited by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Some dog trainers who do not possess any qualifications will tell you that experience is more important than a piece of paper. I agree that experience is just as important and that is why Lincoln University ensure all their students engage in real cases. I also spent 5 years working at Jerry Green’s dog rescue while studying for my degree to ensure I have the practical experience to back up my knowledge. To be a good trainer or behaviourist the theory and the practice are essential.
The Lincoln MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour is generally thought of as one of the two best places to study this field (alongside the University of Edinburgh) and is headed by Europe’s first veterinary behaviour professor, Daniel Mills, alongside Dr Helen Zulch, Professor Anna Wilkinson, and many other leading scientists in this field. The university is a world leader in animal behaviour research and it is amazing to be able to discuss ideas and theories with such knowledgeable people.
The following businesses are headed by fellow students from the MSc course, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending any of them!
Laura Welch Dog Trainer – Laura is based in Christchurch, Dorset
Quality Canines – Natalie Smith, Dog Trainer in North Lincolnshire
Let’s Play Dog Training – Lyn Caldicot, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
Kyra Dog trainer & Behaviourist, West London