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Pet Behavior Counseling

As much as we love our pets, they can sometimes upset us with their less endearing behaviors. Despite our best efforts to understand and teach them, they may still have problems adjusting to our living conditions. For many pet owners, diagnosing and solving their pet’s true problem(s) is above their level of expertise. A pet behavior counselor is specifically trained in analyzing and modifying a pet’s behavior and will help to achieve the desired result. Pet behavior counselors come with many different titles and levels of education and experience.

The veterinarians at Village West Veterinary put together this post to help you better understand the categories of animal behavior counselors.

What are the different types?

There are four main categories of professionals who practice pet behavior counseling:

  1. Trainers
  2. Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs)
  3. Applied Animal Behaviorists, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs) and Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (ACAABs)
  4. Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists in Behavior (Diplomats ACVB)

What’s the Difference?


This group can have many different names, and even such titles as pet therapist or pet psychologist. The level of education amongst this group varies greatly. Most have learned how to work with animals through apprenticeships. Some are self taught. Certain schools also offer training certifications.

Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDTs)-

This certification is associated with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. This is an international certification program. Certificate holders have to work a certain number of hours as a dog trainer. Additionally, they must pass a standardized test and provide letters of recommendation.

Applied Animal Behaviorists, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs) and Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (ACAABs)

This group of behavior counselors either have bachelors, masters, or PhDs in animal behavior. They are experts in techniques to change animal behavior and what normal animal behavior is. They are also trained to teach owners how to more effectively interact with their pets.

Veterinarians and Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorists

Veterinarians work extensively with animal behavior on a daily basis. Some veterinarians focus especially on behavior, and some expand their skills through advanced training. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists specialize solely in behavior, and are considered the highest level of clinical behavior practitioner. The advantage of seeking help from a veterinarian or veterinary behavior specialist lies in their ability to diagnose and treat more difficult issues that may require medication for reaching any degree of success.

Village West Veterinary veterinarians have extensive knowledge of pet behavior problems and regularly employ a range of behavioral medications for success in helping with behavior problems.

Call Village West Veterinary Today

When looking for a Chicago veterinarian, call Village West Veterinary. We know how much you love your pets, and we want to keep them happy and healthy. Our kind, dedicated and educated staff ensures you’ll get the best care from any one of our great Chicago vets. Call us today at (773) 697-7052.