For many years it has been a major concern of the CFBA that general animal behaviourists have considered themselves experts in all matters concerning animals of all species. This is of course impossible due to the enormity of variations between even mammals, reptiles and avian, for example. Since 2008 the Government, under the auspices of LANTRA sought to introduce National Occupational Standards for dog behaviourists and trainers. Several leading authorities in the field have made major contributions to ensure that the UK’s leading experts were consulted and the CFBA, being the country’s premier organisation in the field, was in the vanguard.
The significance of being able to call upon the UK’s leading experts in this field cannot be overstated. The dedication of the Fellows, Members and Associates has ensured that the future occupations of those with exemplary qualifications, as well as practical skills, will be recognised as professionally competent to provide the vitally important services to dog owners and commercial organisations within the UK.
The establishment of National Occupational Standards for dog behaviourists and trainers elevates the status of those professionals or dedicated enthusiasts working with dogs to a level commensurate with general animal behaviourists and those engaged within the equine industry. It is a significant step forward for professional bodies such as the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as veterinarians, who are required to appoint professionally qualified dog behaviour practitioners to deal with dangerous dogs or difficult behaviour cases. They can be assured that when appointing a member of the CFBA that they will be dealing with an expert who specialises with dogs.
County Councils and other local authorities, as well as all dog charities, are now able to use the National Occupational Standards when an expert to assess dogs’ temperament and behaviour is required. In addition, they can expect an applicant seeking employment to have demonstrated the competence to achieve the standards set and will have the level of expertise to undertake the appointment. In effect, these National Occupational Standards will set dog behaviourists and trainers apart from the general practitioners known as “animal behaviourists” whose breadth of knowledge across the range of animal species precludes them from the intimate relationship enjoyed by those dedicated solely to the dog genre.
The commitment exhibited by members of the CFBA involved in formulating these National Occupational Standards for dog behaviourists and trainers has been instrumental in driving this whole sector forward to a brighter future, essentially for all CFBA dog practitioners, but undoubtedly for all dogs.