Pet behaviour counsellor

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Pet behaviour counsellors help pet owners deal with animal behaviour problems.

Salary Range: £15,000 to £50,000

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You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialised training with a professional body
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You could take a degree in animal behaviour. Courses include:

  • animal behaviour and welfare
  • animal management
  • zoology with animal behaviour

Some professional bodies ask for a relevant degree before you can join them.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
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You can get into this job through an animal trainer higher apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
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You could start by working with animals and take training on the job, for example in dog kennels or an animal rescue centre.

Volunteering and experience

Voluntary work with an animal welfare organisation, veterinary surgery or dog and cat rescue centre can be a useful way to get experience.

You can get this by volunteering with:

  • PDSA
  • RSPCA
  • Blue Cross
  • Dogs Trust

Other routes

You can join a professional body and take training offered by them. For example, dog behaviourists can study difficult canine behaviour and dangerous breeds.

Professional bodies offering training include:

  • Pet Education, Behaviour and Training Council
  • The Kennel Club
  • Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

More information

Further information

You can get more advice about working in pet behaviour through the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors and Animal Behaviour and Training Council.

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Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • taking referrals from vets
  • holding consultations in your own centre, in veterinary surgeries or in owners’ homes
  • talking to owners and observing animals
  • looking at the nature of the problem and likely causes
  • writing a behaviour-modification programme
  • checking progress
  • adapting the modification programme if necessary

Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice or at a client’s home.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time.

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With the right qualifications and experience you can apply to the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour for Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB) status. This will allow you entry onto the Register of Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists.

You could set up your own practice or consultancy, or move into teaching or lecturing.