INTO Dogs assesses applicants through proof of qualifications, training and CPD. Three detailed case studies must be included with the application forms so that we can be certain that applicants have the required level of education and experience, and conform to our Code of Practice and ethics and therefore the CAWC Code of Practice.
The application form requests contact details and qualifications (with proof of these), and a number of questions about dog behaviour and dog law that must be answered in depth. The application forms are co-assessed by our membership secretary and chair, and successful applicants are then invited to a phone or Skype chat. Two references will also be required, one professional the other from a client; the professional can be a Vet, educational tutor, other behavioural professional or an existing INTOdogs member. Should an applicant’s assessment be considered to be below the required standard they will not qualify for membership until relevant CPD has given the applicant the necessary knowledge to reapply successfully. A waiting period of at least one month must elapse before re-submission.
We reserve the right to contact practitioners’ clients for feedback as part of our annual review. All member files are kept by our Membership Secretary. The questions in our application forms are designed to give us confirmation that applicants meet the following criteria:
- A thorough understanding of dog behaviour and psychology
- Critical assessment and evaluation of the needs of the animals in their care.
- The ability to discern the effects of environmental and outside influences, plus diet and exercise, on wellbeing
- An understanding of animal welfare and dog laws
- The ability to identify and act to ensure the welfare of the animal and client, both short and long term
- The ability to distinguish between various methods and regimes of behaviour modification and treatment, and to choose the appropriate course of action. INTO Dogs uses only “positive”, force-free methods.
- An understanding of health care, complementary therapies and nutraceuticals, and reliable sources for referral, if referral is required
- A demonstration of the use of skills and competency in a wide range of behavioural techniques and training aids, so that the most appropriate and potentially effective can be chosen for each individual client
- The ability to put together a written “action plan” for behaviour modification that is tailored to suit each client and animal, and clear explanation of this to the client. Members must provide back-up support and offer referral to other professionals (e.g. veterinary professionals, hydrotherapists or complementary therapists) if this is assessed as beneficial to the client and animal.
- Accurate and detailed record keeping is vital
- The ability to identify ethical or welfare issues and to take action to address these
- The ability to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the work through follow ups and gaining feedback, as well as through observation of the animal and client, and to revise the programme if necessary
- The ability to maintain a high level of conduct and integrity with clients, other professionals and the public
- To contribute to current research through continued study and sharing of information
- Members must have a thorough understanding of animal ethology, including perceptual abilities, the senses, social behaviours and communication, functions, motivational drives and the interpretation of body language and vocalising, and a basic understanding of the neuroscience of behaviour
- The ability to recognise, evaluate, report on and work with all behavioural states, and to understand the signals that indicate key states such as fear, anxiety, nervousness, aggression, conflict reduction and resolution, play and relaxation. Members must have the knowledge to determine whether health issues or pain are linked in with the individual’s behaviour and emotional and mental states
- An understanding of behavioural ontogeny that includes developmental sensitive periods and critical periods, attachment theory and stages of life
- An understanding of influences of the environment and others within the environment on behaviour, and of the interaction between evolutionary and biological influences as regards the development of behavioural disorders
- An understanding of the effects and consequences of health issues and medical disorders on behaviour, and the ability to recognise the presence of a medical cause
- A knowledge of classes of veterinary drugs commonly used, and of the indications, contra-indications and correct use of psychopharmacological intervention should this be necessary
- An understanding of when a client should be referred for medical intervention. Members must refrain from diagnosis but state the need for referral
- An understanding of human and family psychology, inter-personal relationships and the effects of these on the clients and animals, an understanding of attitude theory, and the ability to help clients through distress, anxiety, bereavement and grief
- The ability to counsel clients and help, encourage and guide them towards to effective change
- Good communication skills in all interactions with clients and other professionals: by phone, email, letters, reports and action plans, and in person. The ability to tailor the mode of communication for each individual to ensure maximum clarity of understanding, and to assess and resolve any issues that may arise regarding clarity or understanding
- The fostering of positive professional relationships with other professionals in all fields related to the work, and an attitude of respect towards other professionals
- An understanding of any professional or ethical issues to be considered at any time during the process of the work, the ability to take appropriate action to immediately address and resolve these, an understanding of when further referral is appropriate or necessary, and knowledge of the referral process
- Accurate methods for gathering, recording, assessing and critically evaluating a behavioural diagnosis
- The ability to deliver an appropriate structure for an effective treatment programme for identified behavioural disorders
- The ability to identify and explain when any need for further action is needed, including an extended treatment regime and/or referral
- The employment of methods for assessment of the effectiveness of the treatment regime, including using analytical tools and statistics. A database must be kept for each client
- An understanding of dog laws and animal welfare laws in the UK, Europe and America. These must include laws regarding animal ownership and uses, the behaviourist’s roles and duties, and the roles and duties of all other professionals, including veterinarians and therapists, in this field. This includes the legal implications of providing advice, professional liability, client liability if the laws are not being observed, and client confidentiality
- A thorough understanding of health and safety legislation, employment law, the Data Protection Act and the implications of these regarding the behaviourist, clients and all others
- An understanding of the ethical guidelines in relationship to the use of animals
- This is not mandatory, but members are encouraged to create and implement programmes of original enquiry and study, to collect and analyse data and contribute to the body of knowledge by sharing results based on quantitative and/or qualitative analysis and evaluation.
If your application is unsuccessful, you will be informed which areas need more work, and you can then re-submit your follow-up application for a £25 retake fee.