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Work Based Learning role description:


The Canine Behaviour Practitioner


The Canine Behaviour Practitioner (CBP) has acquired on the job vocational training in rehabilitating dogs with behaviour problems and will have extensive training and handling skills experience with dogs of varying ages.


A crucial part of the CBP role is to be able to communicate with dog owners and educate them in the behaviour of their dog and help them understand which behaviour is natural, natural but unacceptable in our society (for example killing sheep), unnatural therefore indicating stress (for example chasing its tail) or just unacceptable.


The CBP needs to able to assess a dog’s behaviour accurately and then teach the owner, sometimes with words (spoken and written) and sometimes with demonstration, how to go about modifying the behaviour in the dog. Report writing skills are essential as a written report should be provided to give the owner information they can refer to following your visit, it is also used to document the advice given, as during the consultation owners are quite often stressed and don’t retain information given or distort it.


The CBP needs to have in-depth knowledge of how dogs develop from birth to old age, how dogs communicate with other dogs and other species, how the pack hierarchy is established within a dog pack and a mixed-species pack and how that effects the dog’s behaviour when it meets with others of its own species.


A detailed knowledge of puppy and dog psychology is imperative as the CBP may be called upon to go to people’s homes to work with their dogs is when they have a new puppy and require advice on how to look after and train them. Having experience of owning a dog is absolutely essential for the Canine Behaviour Practitioner.

Minimum vocational training requirements

As a dog trainer

As a dog training instructor

As a professional trainer

As a canine Practitioer

Dogs handled

Total number of hours required

Theory / academic knowledge







Reading for interest

150



200


350

Watching DVDs

50



50


100

Coursework

250



500


750

Practical experience / courses attended







Courses attended

100

100

100

200


500

Indvidual dogs trained





150

(150 dogs)

Breeds handled - minimum





20

(20 breeds)

Behaviour modification consultations




200


(200 consultations)

Teaching







Adult dog classes



100



100

Puppy classes



50



50

On-to-one training sessions



100



100

Mentored learning







Observation of / attending training / classes

150





150

Observations of consultations




50


(50 consultations)

Instructed learning one-to-one

100





200

Teaching assistant: adult dog classes


50




50

Teaching assistant: puppy classes


100




100


900

250

350

950

150

2450

Overview of minimum skills and experience required:

The Canine Behaviour Practitioner will be an experienced Professional Dog Trainer. As such the minimum skills and experience required apply.

Theoretical

Practical

Operational

How people learn / different learning styles

Indicators of stress in people

Human body language

Motivational skills

Teaching skills on an individual basis

Communication skills

     Verbally (in person and over the phone)

     Written

     Active listening

Presentation skills

Report writing skills

Man management skills

Time management skills

Administration skills

Aggression in all forms (over 70% of problems a CBP will deal with)

Aggression and the law

Temperament testing  

     With people

     With dogs

Safety equipment  

Scenarios triggering behaviour

How people learn

Indicators of stress in people

Human body language

How to motivate the client

Teaching skills on an individual basis

Communication skills

     Verbally (in person and over the phone)

     Written

     Active listening

Presentation skills

Report writing skills

Man management skills

Time management skills

Administration skills

Aggression in all forms

Knowing when to and when not to intervene

Aggression and the law

Temperament testing

Use of safety equipment

Planning possible scenarios

Use of test dogs: monitoring reactions of  client’s dog and test dog

Awareness of environment

     People

     Traffic

     Animals

     Bicycles

Awareness of distance of above at all times

People management for safety and stress

The Work Based Learning Path to being a Canine Behaviour Practitioner(CBP)


More often than not, we start training to be a CBP without actually realising we’re doing it. Gradually dealing with more behaviour problems rather than ‘straight’ training of sit, down, come for example, some CBPs make a conscious decision to train as a behaviourist, others continue down the learning as they go taking the opportunities that present themselves.


Another way that we ‘fall’ into dog behaviour is by owning a dog with behaviour problems and learning about how to deal with via a CBP.


Dog Training


Ancillary Work Based Learning Skills


As well as being an experienced Canine Behaviour Practitioner, the candidate may also have a plethora of other dog training skills, attended many courses and achieved many awards on a personal basis with their own dogs.


They may have qualifications outside of the Dog Behaviour and Training arena that contribute to their competence, confidence and skill as a Canine Behaviour Practitioner and, under the Work Based Learning ethos, these should be acknowledged and recognised as achievements to date within the profession.

Reflective Learning

As a Canine Behaviour Practitioner we are constantly evaluating what we are doing when we are doing it. We start training an exercise and modify what we are doing depending upon the response we get from the dog we are working with. Sometimes we change our position, the dog’s position, the motivating force (us, toy, food etc.,) or the equipment we use. As a behaviourist we just class that as part of our job, however, in the work based learning arena it’s called being a “reflective practitioner”.


It is imperative that Canine Behaviour Practitioners realise that they are reflecting back; not only with the dog they have in front of them but of past cases and dogs they’ve worked with. A CBP cannot progress without this aspect of experiential learning, it would be impossible as no two dogs are the same and no two will react in the same manner.


Although we do it automatically, the importance of reflection in learning at work and awareness of the process, needs to be acknowledged for an individual to be able to carry out any kind of self-accreditation via the work based learning scheme.


Technical and textbook knowledge, though important, is insufficient to prepare individuals to be practising professionals. Knowing how or “knowing-in-action” must also be recognised as important. Knowing-in-action is referred to tacit and intuitive, rather than explicit knowledge, learned through doing rather than in the classroom. It is the kind of knowledge that underpins much everyday activity, whether at work or not.


Knowing-in-action is vital for Canine Behaviour Practitioners, as, as we all know, ‘real’ world problems tend to be “messy” rather than well formed. Problems with dogs tend to come along in rapid succession depending upon our reaction rather than nicely organised “first solve this problem, then solve that” as is often written in dog training books. Also some problems may well be unique to that situation, in the sense that they do not fit theoretical categories and therefore do not lend themselves to the applications of rules from the profession’s theoretical knowledge base.


When something untoward does happen it is likely to reflect on what’s going on in the midst of the activity itself. It is a consequence of this process that is known as “reflection-in-action” ie., thinking about what we’re doing while we’re doing it and changing the process as we go along.


To be able to put into practice these reflective skills, both during and after the action, is what makes you a truly reflective practitioner.

Donald Schon (1983, 1987)


Comparative Assessment elements:

In general an Animal Behaviour Degree will average 1800 hrs study time on wild animals and some domestic species. Dog specific theory is generally taught at less than 5% of the entire degree and rarely by a dog expert but by a teacher who has no practical experience. Animal behaviour degrees are not an expertise level in dog behaviour, training, theory or otherwise.


All vocational learning in canine work-based roles should be taught by highly skilled people with extensive hands-on experience. Degrees obtained, therefore, provide targeted theory learning in canine behaviour and training as well as extensive hands-on work to prepare the student for their chosen vocation.

Accomplishments and Qualifications

Training course providers

Personal (Work Based) Achievements

Cambridge Institute for Dog Behaviour & Training

Animal Care College

Guide dog training

National Association of Security Dog Users

Home Office police dog training

The British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers

Other courses are also available

KC Competition obedience

KC Beginner

KC Novice

KC A B C comp-C

KC Agility

KC Working Trials

UD/UDX

CD/CDX

WD/WDX

KC Field Trials

KC Bloodhound Trials

KC Herding Tests

Search & Rescue Cert

KC Accredited Instructor

The Kennel Club (KC) standards are some of the best in the world and to compete and win is an acknowledgement comparable with other high standards of training knowledge as in the horse world and international competitive events.