Professional Standards

Canine & Feline Behaviour Association Professional Standards

The Canine & Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA) was established in 1997 as suggested by Pet Plan Insurance the first specific pet dog insurance in Britain at that time . Since inception, the association has gone from strength to strength with many of our Members being some of the most qualified, experienced dog behaviour experts in the UK. Many of our members have not only academic qualifications up to Master’s Degree level in Dog Behaviour & Psychology, but decades of practical experience.

We have worked with Lantra writing the National Occupation Standards for dog behaviour and training along with the Kennel Club and written the defining roles for the Pet Education, Training & Behaviour Council of Great Britain (PETbc) and through them are members of the Canine & Feline Sector Group.

All of our members must have quantifiable knowledge, experience and evidence of successful practice and are rigorously assessed via our three-tiered application process.

Exceptional behavioural knowledge of dogs and their breed specific traits including mixed breeds, overseas rescue dogs, working and sports dogs and all related specialist training disciplines. An exacting understanding of dog ownership and human expectations along with inter-species relationships, empathy, understanding and professional delivery of written and verbal information is a prerequisite.

The Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training (CIDBT)

We also offer home-study with (mandatory) practical courses at the Kennel Club in Warwickshire and other venues throughout the UK all aspects of Canine Behaviour & Training through our education department The Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training (CIDBT). No other Canine behaviour organisation in Britain has such an Institute as its training arm. These courses are delivered within the ethos of the CFBA, with complete professionalism, honesty and reality by our skilled team of passionate, dedicated, vastly experienced tutors who have been working in this industry running their own multi-faced, successful dog behaviour and training practices for a minimum of fifteen years and who also hold the relevant academic qualifications, professional memberships and vast success.

Dog Handling & Training

Academic qualification is important. However, a skilled Canine Behaviourist must have the ability to control, manage and appropriately and effectively handle all breeds of dog in a safe, confident and humane manner. When dealing with aggressive dogs our members will be aware of the nuances of safe interaction and handling and be able to demonstrate by example behavioural reformation and or retraining techniques.

Professional Dog Behaviour Consultations

Behavioural consultations conducted in the clients home or centre / clinic will be professionally conducted with pre-consultation forms and information completed, an interview along with appropriate temperament testing will be conducted prior to informing the client of the problem, the prognosis, and the reformation / treatment / training plan. The majority of clients seen will be on veterinary referral, for which we have a clear process and work to maintain a relationship with the referring veterinarian.

Understanding related UK Dog Laws and local byelaws, particularly the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, The Dogs Act 1871 and working within the remit of that along with strong moral and ethical standards of professional practice, customer service, client confidentiality and social conscience.

Canine behavioural consultations are always followed up by a full written report addressed to the client and a duplicate sent to the referring veterinarian at the client’s behest and/or with their permission.

Follow up advice and or additional to the original advice is provided via the telephone, email, Zoom et al for continuity of support and is triggered primarily by the client in most cases. CFBA members will however set out their terms of business with their client.

Veterinary profession Referral and working with others
As well as working with veterinarians, it is also noted that we may be required to refer or receive referrals from other canine specialists such as dog trainers, specialist veterinarian referral services, veterinary nurses, hydro-therapists, chiropractors, nutritional consultants and other professionals always in consultation with the referring veterinarian and working in a holistic manner in approach to the ‘whole’ dog from a psychological and physiological perspective to achieve the client aims and the needs of the dogs that are being worked with.

Dog behaviour in society

Naturally, our canine behaviourists will have a thorough understanding of the roles of dogs in society, their inter-species relationships with people and the varying needs of the dog owner. A sound understanding of the relevant dog laws and local byelaws is essential as is an empathetic approach the various relationships and social and socioeconomic factors that affect the client with whom they are working.

Canine Science Key Concepts Principles

We teach and follow the key concepts of Science led Operant conditioning which is a process that attempts to modify behaviour using positive and negative reinforcement. In simple terms through operant conditioning, a dog makes an association between a particular behaviour and a consequence.

Dog on dog behaviour skills and an understanding

When working with dogs that display aggression or other problematic behaviours towards other dogs it is necessary to conduct the appropriate temperament assessments with other dogs to ascertain the type of aggression being displayed along with workable solutions to reform the behaviour and as safely as is possible. One must be sure of the likely behaviour of the dog and give realistic, achievable advice taking in to account the owner’s ability, environment, antecedence and the chronology of the history of the dog.

Dog on person behaviour skills and an understanding

When assessing dogs that display aggression towards people, suitable temperament assessments will be undertaken to ascertain the type and level of aggression. This will be done as safely as is possible to avoid injury to persons and to minimise stress to owners, colleagues, the public and the dog. It is important to understand the level of aggression that the dog is likely to display in various situations to impart the relevant advice and retraining programmes.

Experience with dogs

CFBA Clinical Canine Behaviourists have all been working full-time with dogs for excess of ten years. Whilst continued professional development and academic study is vital, hands-on quantifiable success over many years with all breeds and types of dog is critical.

NB A Clinical Canine Behaviourist draws on varied canine research, academic and vocational combined with many years of practical experience gained in the field to achieve a working diagnosis, probable or possible causation and compounding factors and solutions to the behavioural problems being presented.

The relevant treatment prescribed encompasses both the social and environmental circumstances of the owner and the intrinsic, sometimes latent, character traits of the dog to achieve a holistic, client centred, practical rehabilitation programme which aims to achieve an agreed expected outcome. The key elements in the armoury of a Clinical Canine Behaviourist are the ability to objectively analyse the episode(s) presenting and utilising clinically accumulated academic knowledge and vocational experience to resolve unwanted behavioural presentations in practical terms.

Canine Vocational Field Experience

Applicants to the CFBA when undergoing rigorous assessment, are viewed not simply by years in practice, but by days and hours of practical work with dogs. Our members are required to have canine specific qualifications and experience and not generic ‘animal behaviour’ degrees whereby in the majority of cases, canine study is very limited or non-existent.

There is a vast difference between academic knowledge (theory) and practice (practical application). Field knowledge, including that of breeds, human psychology, and behavioural consequences in society. Understanding UK Dog Law is essential.

More about the CFBA

The CFBA was the first organisation to have trained a number of Police Officers setting down a national available group of canine experts in dog law and behaviour combined available for the legal profession in Civil and Criminal Law.

The CFBA Fellows being founding members of the Pet Education, Training & Behaviour Council of Great Britain (PETbc) supported and recommended by Sir Colin Spedding at the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC) meetings.

The CFBA also have their own training Institute – The Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training (CIDBT) who deliver practical and distance learning courses in dog training and behaviour. THE CIDBT is recognised by the Government’s sensitive words and specified in regulations that allow the CIDBT to use the protected word Institute as a recognised teaching organisation.

The CFBA Members were involved in creating the New National Occupational Standards (NOS) with Lantra (one of the UK’s leading bodies for land-based studies) which have just been renewed and will remain in place for the next five years.
Highly qualified, field experienced CFBA members were heavily involved in writing the Professional ‘roles’ in dog behaviour and training for the Pet Education, Training and Behaviour Council.

As an independent advisory body, who had the support and approval of Sir Colin Spedding of the Companion Animal Welfare Council, we led the working party set up by Lantra (the government’s Lead Body for Agriculture and Animal Care) to develop the occupational standards for dog trainers and behaviourists and it is to these are the standards which all our courses adhere. They were incorporated and recognised by National Occupational Standards in 2014 (NOS) as set out below

  • LANCTB1 – Observe, Assess and Respond to the Behaviour of Dogs
  • LANCTB2 – Handle and Control Dogs
  • LANCTB3 – Plan and Implement Training Programmes for Dogs
  • LANCTB4 – Plan and Implement Training Programmes for Dogs and Handlers
  • LANCTB5 – Plan and Implement Programmes to Address Undesirable Behaviour in Dogs

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