What is an animal behaviour consultant?
Consultants in animal behaviour educate, train and find solutions to behaviour problems in domestic animals (pets), although other species may also be dealt with. Commonly termed an animal behaviourist, some may specialise in one particular species eg. dogs while others may also diversify into roles within commercial companies, not-for-profit organisations, government and media.
What are typical consulting jobs?
Pet owners may have all sorts of problems with their pets including aggression, house training, obedience issues, noise problems, stress and anxiety, fears and phobias. Consultants assess the situation and design programs to improve the behaviour problem. Within other organisations, animal behaviour consultants may be employed to assess animals eg. shelters or train animals and/or people.
How do I become a consultant in animal behaviour?
There are many ways of becoming a consultant in animal behaviour. While this role is not restricted to those with qualifications, most consultants generally have degrees in science or psychology and experience in one of more species of domestic animal. Some may be highly qualified with postgraduate degrees.
What other ways can I do this, apart from going to University?
While qualifications are desirable, there are courses in the community including dog training and TAFE animal care courses that give potential avenues to get into this field. In addition, experience is desirable so working alongside other experienced professionals may help in gaining the necessary knowledge and skills. An important part of being a consultant is understanding what you are capable of doing yourself and what you should refer on to more qualified and/or experienced people. The only experts in the animal world who can prescribe medication, for instance, are veterinary surgeons. Vets have the option of completing postgraduate study and becoming a veterinary behaviourist.
What else do I need to know?
Since most consults deal with people, people skills and a desire to work with people is necessary. Having some business knowledge will be an advantage when operating your own business.