Does your dog guard its food or toys or do they jump up on people – no matter what you try to do to stop it? Is your dog reactive to other dogs or do they have extreme anxiety when you leave them alone?

If your dog is exhibiting unwanted behaviours or anxiety like some of these mentioned and you feel it’s time to call someone to help our recent podcast guest, Karen Baxter explained some of the options available to you.

There are three different specialists available to help you with your dog; a Dog Trainer, a Behaviour Consultant, and a Veterinary Behaviourist.

A Dog Trainer works with you to teach the dog how to do specific tasks and your dog also learns some structure and boundaries. Karen defines dog training as working and teaching your dog how to work, doing a specific task. For example, sit is a task – down is a task. Dog training is enriching for the dog because you’re mentally challenging them and that can help with minor behavioural issues.

Dog BehaviourA Behaviour Consultant is like a human psychologist. If you have an issue, the human psychologist will teach you skills that help you cope with your anxiety or cope with your reactions to things. A Behaviour Consultant does the same things – they help to change the emotional response of the dog in a situation. It can take a little longer than teaching them a task and you need to have a more in-depth knowledge of dog psychology in order to help the dog overcome the unwanted behaviour or anxiety.

Finally, a Veterinary Behaviourist is a trained Veterinarian. They have continued their education to specialize in behavioural issues – usually at least a couple of years past what a typical vet would go to school for. A Veterinary Bahaviourist is the equivalent of a human psychiatrist. If I have an issue, I might go to a psychologist first. But if it’s a really serious issue that is due to chemical imbalances and physiological responses as well, then I go to a psychiatrist who’s able to help me with the medical side, as well as the psychological side.

Depending on the issue your dog is having they might just need some training – they just need to learn a task and some structure and boundaries, etc. But, if their reactions are to something in the environment, or more from an emotional standpoint, then you can seek out a Behaviour Consultant who can help that dog (and help the people work with the dog) learn some coping skills, so they can cope with the environmental triggers. And then some dogs have such a strong chemical reaction in their body to something that’s going on, because of something that’s happened to them – a trauma or something – that they might need some medical assistance as well. In that case, you would need to seek out a Veterinary Behaviourist to get that type of treatment.

In some circumstances, a Dog Trainer, a Behaviour Consultant, and a Veterinary Behaviourist will work together to complement each other to assist a dog to overcome their issues.

With the right treatment from one of these amazing specialists, you will have a happier, calmer, better-behaved dog — and be a more contented owner.

Happy Dog and Owner

To learn more about Karen and hear some examples of how she has worked with her clients listen in to our April Podcast – Episode 11: When Do I Call a Behaviour Consultant? An Interview with Karen Baxter.

At Muttz with Mannerz™ we are committed to providing you with the help and resources that you need for you and your pup so that you can live a happy, healthy life. To contact us visit our website at