A great deal of time has been spent by many members of the Pet Education, Training and Behaviour Council in developing these important job descriptions and I must thank all those involved, especially Lez Graham who has been responsible for coordinating this very important work. The attempts to create such job descriptions in the past have resulted in definitions which not been sufficiently clear and have been too ‘generalistic’ in approach resulting in groups of skills being merged into vague roles: this has not given sufficient recognition to specialists which their specific skills undoubtedly deserve.
A recent Horizon programme on the BBC clearly described the very significant differences between the psychology of dogs compared to all other animals and there is a great deal of other evidence suggesting that the long gestation of the canine/human interface is such that their behaviour cannot be compared to any other species.
Almost all universities which have degree and post graduate degree courses in animal behaviour give very little time to the very demanding requirements of understanding canine development, psychology and training. However, there are some excellent canine specific accredited qualifications at all levels, from OCN to Foundation and Honour Degree levels in Dog Behaviour and Dog Training, that meet the skill required throughout the industry.
General academic qualifications in animal behaviour should not be confused with the experience and expertise in dog training and an understanding of behaviour and behaviour modification which characterise the very specific competencies defined in these job descriptions.
Therefore I highly commend this set of job descriptions as being worthy of very serious consideration by all those whose prime concern is quality, skill, expertise and professionalism in caring for dogs at every stage of their lives and at every level of behaviour.
David Cavill Chairman Pet Education, Training and Behaviour Council