By Marli Naidoo
An animal behaviourist could also be called a psychiatrist for animals. He will observe the animal’s behaviour, and then help to bring about improvement. Animals can also have relationship problems, problems with anger, jealousy and all kinds of other behavioural problems. Sometimes it is the human in the animal’s life who needs to adapt his own behaviour. Other experts however don’t interfere, but observe the animals for research purposes.
Someone with a great love of animals and lots of patience will fit into this role perfectly. He has to care about others and be a good communicator. It also helps to be gentle, friendly and attentive. Animal behaviourists usually have to travel to the clients, and regularly have to work unusual hours. They must also be willing to complete reports.
Animal behaviourists don’t work with dogs only, but can work with any other animals. However, it is more common for them to work with dogs, cats, birds and horses.
Training is important, but very diverse. You can obtain your degree in Ethology, and thereafter qualify yourself further. You could also obtain a Baccalaureus in Veterinary Science, a Master’s degree in Biology or Behavioural Science, or a Doctor’s degree in Veterinary Medicine. However, this is not a prerequisite. There are instances that offer various animal behaviour courses. Some are certificate and other diploma courses. Just make sure that the training institute is registered with the Department of Higher Education. There is also a considerable number of professional and respected animal behaviourists who received no formal training. It is possible to equip yourself in time by learning directly from an expert.
Depending on the employer and field of specialisation, many possible work environments are available, such as laboratories, universities, zoos, farms and natural habitats. Most scientists who are directly involved in animal behaviour work in one of four broad fields: ethology, comparative psychology, behavioural psychology or anthropology. These disciplines overlap a lot in their aims, interests and methods. If you should prefer taking the path to a certificate or diploma course, you will still be able to work with in a career involving animal behaviour, especially pets.
If, therefore, you are fascinated by animals and their interactions with one another, their environment and with humans, this might well be the perfect career for you.
Career Planet: https://careerplanet.co.za/careers-listing/animal-behaviourist/
The Animal Behaviour Consultants of SA: https://animal-behaviour.org.za/courses/
Go Study: https://www.gostudy.net/occupation/animal-behaviourist
Post Matric: https://www.postmatric.co.za/animal-behaviourist/