Veterinary Behavior Consultations, PC

1446 Brevard Rd. Suite 103
Asheville, NC 28806



Referring to Trainers


Veterinarians often ask whether to send a dog to a trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. If a trainer is needed, which trainer to choose? Here are some tips.

First, any time a client shares a concern about behavior, it is important to take a brief behavioral history.

  • If you are not comfortable with behavioral history taking, it is always appropriate to refer to a veterinary behaviorist for an assessment
  • If you are concerned there is risk of injury to the pet, to another animal, or to a person, a diagnostic assessment by a veterinary behaviorist is recommended
  • If the behavior change was sudden, then in the absence of any major change in environment, an underlying health condition should be suspected and a medical work up should be done before referral.

Normal but unruly behaviors, or behaviors that reflect mild anxiety or fear that could resolve without medication may be managed by a good trainer.

It is important to do some research before selecting a trainer. There are more and more educational opportunities for dog trainers and it is becoming easier to find a trainer that has taken the time to learn how to teach use humane, scienced-based methods

If possible, observe the trainer in action, or ask for detailed information about methodology. Beware of trainers that advocate the use of confrontational techniques that may put your client or patient at risk of being injured. Furthermore, these techniques often rely on physical or emotional punishment and can exacerbate underlying fear, anxiety or frustration.

Helpful information for selecting a trainer is available at  Paraprofessionals are an extension of your practice--choose wisely and treasure the trainers that treat your clients and patients well!