Saturday, March 20, 2010

How Vets Become Instant Dog Training Experts

Over at Veterinary Practice News, they are touting a one-day course that a vet can take to increase his or her revenue stream by $75,000 to $200,000 a year.


And what does this one-day course, that costs a $1,000 per-person, actually teach?

"Dog behaviorism" as taught by someone who seems to have no credentials other than being a self-described "canine trainer and behavior modification specialist" who has "trained and shown dogs and horses all of her life."


No wonder everyone in the veterinary profession has suddenly decided to jump on the "doggy behaviorist" bandwagon.

Don’t send your clients away for dog training. Now, you can provide those desired results with one of your own staff members. Donna has helped hundreds of veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants work in harmony with their veterinary employer utilizing drug therapy coupled with behavior modification. Not only will your office be able to provide clients with this invaluable service, you will have a money making opportunity inside your doors. In just one day, veterinarian assistants and technicians will have the accreditation that will bring in additional income for your office. Donna will provide you with all the information you need to create an immediately profitable Good Dog! business in your practice today.

Right. No need to send your clients to a dog trainer, when you can prescribe "drug therapy" and pocket that money yourself while getting 8 "continuing education" credits for your vet techs at the same time.

And if anyone asks, you can tell them your vet techs are "accredited" by a program certified by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards for veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants. Yes sir! That is indeed impressive.

Just don't tell them that you and your vet tech got all that education in one day, or that it's all based on a book that anyone can buy brand new for $1.74 (or used for as little as $0.01).

Shhhhhhh. Mum's the word. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Remember, you're not just a veterinarian now; you're an accredited animal behaviorist.



The Doubtful Guest said...

Wow. Just wow.

When you go to Amazon, the excerpt from the book reads, "For those of you who did not read my first book..."

It appears that no one read this one, either.

This whole idea of "get rich quick" by becoming a behaviorist by taking this course is beyond reprehensible.

What a huge disservice to dogs and humans, in so many ways.

Tara said...

I think this points to why it's always a good idea to talk to people about their credentials. If a veterinarian (or trainer or guy at Petsmart)gives you some training tips or offers to help you with your dog, ASK them how long they've been working, what their own training was like, and if they've got any professional references you can speak to. This seems so much more important than the dominance/positive issues people get so hung up on.

On vets specifically: some veterinarians have had special training to become veterinary behaviorists - often involving a full residency with years of work and experience. Others may have a special interest in training and may have taken some extra coursework or may have worked as trainers before/during vet school. Some vets may have much less knowledge of training or may have taken something like this one day course. No way to know unless you ASK the vet - they should be fine with answering your question politely and happily.

Funny related anecdote: I remember once taking my mother's dog to a new vet. She's a very well behaved boxer and was going in for some minor issue. The vet tried to hard sell us on Cesar Milan's book, which he sold in his lobby, in case we "ever have any issues" (with the perfectly well behaved 5 year old boxer), then he tried the CM "tsst!" on her when she flinched on the exam table (it was a moving table - she didn't try to bite or growl. It moved and startled her.) He then explained how this was due to the dog's dominance and how we could buy the book and "fix" her. **SIGH**

Jonzie said...

I studied and graduated as a Vet in Italy. I never went on practising, all the business in the profession sort of left me a bitter after-taste.
I can say that this recent rush towards dog behaviour and training can be seen over here too.
Clearly there is an increasing need for education of owners and therefore of dogs (often ruined by the owners).
But luckily I haven't seen one-day courses so far here and vets take the matter very seriously. The few ones that do behaviour around my area devote themselves almost exclusively to it and do study a lot as trainers and behaviourists.
Let's hope that it doesn't become too much of a business here too :(

PS. I have found on my blog a comment of yours awaiting for moderation from ages. I apologize. I don't know how that happened since I don't have comment moderation on my blog!

Viatecio said...

I think what actually did rub my fur the wrong way was when, in "Client relations" class, the professor (who is a VET who is also a behavior 'expert') was saying that vets only refer to "behaviorists" for things like aggression, separation anxiety, and basic problem behaviors, stuff that we say Cesar "rehabilitates." The dogs only go to trainers to be taught to sit, lay down, come etc. And anyone who is a real behaviorist is accredited through veterinary behavior societies...Good thing to know, I'll avoid them at all costs!

I know a few trainers who receive vet referrals, and frankly I would trust a real-world trainer to help me correct any problems than someone more interested in pushing drugs, "Gentle" Leaders and a bait bag full of extra calories.

I'm sure you remember the story I wrote regarding a vet visit to discuss raw bones that turned into a behavior beatdown on her part. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that.

aficat said...

Here's a link you'll enjoy.

Her book is actually for free on Google. Does she really have the only US Spanish dog training book? That seems like an outlandish claim, even for back then.

Someone can show horses for freakin' ever without getting any skills at all. Some barns get you on a horse already tacked up, shove you in the ring, and take the horse away after the class for the trainer to tune up and take care of. I assume the dog world has similar handler princesses (The horse world has "hunter princesses", "dressage queens", and "rodeo queens", which is actually a legit class when you're not using it as an insult XD). If you're paying for the ribbons, sometimes that's all you want; OTOH some people can take a horse from nothing to the Worlds. So those "credentials" can mean everything or nothing.

Seahorse said...

Agreed, Aficat. The instructor certification I hold from the prominent organization that bestowed it upon me is not worth the artificial parchment it's printed on. In my barn everyone brushes and tacks their own mount, with supervision as necessary. As I tell them, "I already know how to do this, I don't need the practice."

There are pretenders and fools following them in every endeavor. One can only hope that in the more dangerous pursuits there are fewer of both.