A veterinary behaviourist in Australia is a qualified veterinarian who has undertaken post graduate studies and examination in Veterinary Behaviour. There are different qualifications for Veterinary Behaviourists, reflecting different levels of education in Behaviour.
Some behaviourists will have a MANZCVSc qualification (Member of the Australian New Zeland College of Veterinary Scientists) which means they are veterinarians with some additional training, and assessment by examination in Veterinary Behaviour, by the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
Others will have a FACVSc qualification (Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists), or a DACVB qualification (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists), or Specialist registration in Australia in Veterinary Behaviour, which means they have been assessed through rigorous examination, been supervised by a specialist in hundreds of behaviour consultations, and met other criteria, indicating a high standard of practice in Veterinary Behaviour.
Veterinary Behaviourists are skilled in identifying the causes of behaviour problems, and in developing a treatment plan. Commonly, Veterinary Behaviourists deal with abnormal behaviours, conditions based in anxiety, and aggression problems. These problems may be a result of genetics, medical conditions, learning experiences and/or environmental conditions.
Experienced and qualified dog trainers understand how dogs learn and how to teach them. A skilled trainer will understand how to manage and prevent the development of some problems. Although trainers and vet nurses can deal with training issues and depending on their level of skill, some problems, they are not qualified to make a diagnosis, develop an appropriate treatment plan or prescribe and manage drug therapy for pets with abnormal behaviour.
A Veterinary Behaviourist may work together with a trainer, and /or your regular veterinarian to help get your pet’s behaviour back on track.