People hire dog behavior specialists when they feel that their pets are behaving in ways that are not healthy or that are disruptive. For instance, people who believe that their dogs are out of control and cannot be trained might hire behavior specialists to learn about dog training methods that are more effective. If a person's dog seems melancholy or perhaps has lost an interest in food, he or she might hire a dog behavior specialist to find out why the dog is unhappy. To choose the best dog behavior specialist, you should get references from professionals or friends whom you trust. Even if someone whom you respect has given you a list of references, you still might want to check with a veterinarian first, because he or she might be able to give you some insight into why your dog is behaving in a certain way.
Many animal health experts believe that before calling a dog behavior specialist, it is essential that you take your animal to a veterinarian. In a number of cases, behavioral problems in pets are related to or caused by health problems. Instead of paying for both a dog behavior specialist and a veterinarian, it might make more sense to go first to a veterinarian to make sure that your dog is not suffering solely from a physical health problem.
If it turns out that you still have to take your pet to a dog behavior specialist, you should ask your veterinarian for a few references. Chances are that he or she is familiar with a number of pet behavior specialists in your area and might know about their specific areas of specialization. Your veterinarian also might be able to find a good fit for you in terms of cost, location and preferred methods.
Before committing to a dog behavior specialist, make sure that you consult several. In most cases, you can get a pretty good idea whether a specialist is right for you through conversations you have on the phone. If you speak to a specialist who seems quite concerned about your own behavior toward your dog, as well as your pet's medical history, this can be a sign that he or she is an attentive professional who is concerned about the health of your pet. When you feel that a dog behavior specialist is aloof or inattentive and doesn't ask many questions at all, this can be a sign that you should take your dog elsewhere.