Pet Tips Sam Kabbel

Need help with your pet?

Should you call a trainer or consult a behavior specialist?

While a behavior specialist can also be a trainer, trainers do not have the credentials to be considered a behavior specialist (i.e. while a chef is also a cook, a cook is not a chef).

Consider the following in helping to decide whom to call if you need help:

How can a trainer help you with your dog?

• They teach obedience training (sit, stay, down, heel, come).

• They can help with nuisance behaviors (digging, chewing, barking, stealing food off counters, etc.).

• Their specialty is in changing behavior, or in training behavior to make your dog do or stop doing something.

• They can train for specific behaviors (e.g., service dog, protection dogs, any working dog).

• Trainers can vary widely in their training and expertise; this can vary from merely having a skill or talent to being a credentialed, educated professional.

When would I need a behavior specialist?

• Behavior specialists have had specialized training in temperament disorders such as aggression, fears, phobias, anxieties, dynamics, etc.

• Behavior specialists can also be trainers but with a higher level of education resulting in credentials and certifications. They have studied and learned the science of behavior and learning.

• Sam Kabbel, CPDT-KA, is owner and president of Valley-based Pet Behavior Solutions, serving the Phoenix area. For more information, visit

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