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
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
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
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
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.