When your dog gets out of line and you are at your wit's end, you want to get the best help you can get, right? Just as you would go to great lengths to select the right specialist to consult for a personal medical problem, you should ensure that you find the right animal behaviourist for you and your dog.

Not everyone who offers behaviour consulting services has your best interest at heart. There are individuals who are only interested in making money. If a behaviour consultant is prepared to fly across the country at your expense to deal with your problem rather than refer you to a local colleague, ask yourself what the person's intentions are.

For us it is important that you get answers and solutions to your dog's behaviour problems. That is why we recommend you follow these basic guidelines when selecting your behaviour consultant:
  • Check the credentials of the consultants they are considering. Please visit the South African Board of Companion Animal Professionals, or any of the other animal behavioural societies to verify that the persons you wish to deal with are registered as Animal Behaviourists. Ask for references that you can contact.
  • Compare the fees: more expensive is not necessarily better.
    • Find out what is being offered for the fee you are being charged.
    • Your initial consultation fee should include at least one follow-up visit and it should be a flat rate, not an hourly rate.
    • Follow-up communication by phone, email, etc. should be included for a fixed period.
    • Road travel to areas outside a specified radius from the consultant's office should be charged at publicly published rates.
    • Fees for longer term interventions should be clarified before any commitment is made.
  • At the end of your initial consultation you should expect the consultant to give you a verbal summary of his or her assessment in terms that you understand.
    • He or she should provide a detailed description of the remedies he or she suggests you implement as corrective measures.
    • You should be provided with a prognosis, i.e. whether the consultant believes the problem can be solved, to what extent, and how long it may take.
  • You are entitled to a written report on the behaviour consultation.
  • If the consultant believes that the problem may require a long term intervention, you should discuss this in detail with the consultant and, on request, be provided with a written treatment plan and quotation.
  • Remember that you are under no obligation and should feel free to obtain a second opinion if you feel uncertain or uncomfortable.
Remember that animal behaviour, like human behaviour, is an individual thing. Anyone who guarantees results should probably market themselves as magician!
Dogtown South Africa
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