Animal Behaviorist

Animal Behaviorists Help Pets

People who use their knowledge and experience to help pet owners solve behavioral problems in their pets are knows as Animal Behaviorists.

People have studied animals for thousands of years. Early peoples observed the habits of the prey they hunted. They learned about the animals that browsed on the wild plants people ate, and then on the crops they grew. Later, people studied the distinct behaviors of animals they bred as livestock or as companions.

Today, scientists still study animal behavior to help farmers and ranchers understand agricultural pests and predators, and to breed and raise high-quality livestock. But that’s not all animal behaviorists do. Animal behaviorists design healthy habitats for animals in zoos, aquariums, and laboratories. Some research ways to help protect species whose natural habitats are threatened. Others develop ways to help people and animals live together in an increasingly crowded world.

Animal behaviorists also study animal behavior to enhance our knowledge of human physiology and psychology. Studies of animal behavior, combined with recent research on the brain, have increased what we know about how the central nervous system works. Animal research enhances our understanding of human disease and aging. It has also contributed a great deal to what science knows about human learning and intelligence, stress, and about what motivates behavior such as aggression and reproduction.

Modern studies of animals come from three scientific traditions:

  • Behaviorists who observe animals in their natural environment are often called ethologists.
  • Behaviorists who observe and treat animal (especially pets) behavior problems in their home environment are often called applied animal behaviorists.
  • Some behaviorists study animals in a laboratory setting. Their work usually involves conducting experiments to test hypotheses.
  • Other scientists analyze the neurological and physiological foundations of animal behavior. Many branches of animal behavior overlap with disciplines such as neurobiology, endocrinology, and others. Some animal behaviorists are called biopsychologists or psychobiologists.

Veterinarians and people with degrees in agriculture, biology and zoology study animal behavior. Many animal behaviorists have degrees in psychology. The study of animal behavior requires knowledge of several disciplines, including psychology, biology, ecology, genetics, and zoology.

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