The Bark magazine has always had the reputation of high quality articles written by excellent writers. I was flattered to be quoted in an article in the January/February issue but saw that I was inaccurately labeled as a “behaviorist.” Lately, this title seems to be afforded to anyone who knows anywhere from a little to a lot about animal behavior.  Let me say for the record that I am not a behaviorist and I go to great lengths to let people know that I am not. Why? 

The title of behaviorist is endowed to someone who has a Master’s degree or PhD in an animal-related field with many years of experience. They must meet certain qualifications of the Animal Behavior Society. I do not meet these qualifications, and no other dog trainers or consultants who also do not meet these qualifications should be calling themselves behaviorists. I have a great deal of respect for behaviorists and believe they alone deserve the title. After all, if you know something about medicine, you certainly don’t go around calling yourself a doctor unless you are a doctor!

I wrote to the editor of The Bark to point out the mistake and offered to write an article for the magazine to describe the various titles used by those in the dog training and behavior professions. I wrote two posts back in 2010 on that topic –  August 10 and August 16. I have not received a reply from the editor and that’s disappointing.  I believe it’s important that people know the distinction.

Okay, my conscience is clear!