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FAQs

Bach Flower Remedies – Animal Counsellor Courses

FAQ’s are dealt with in depth on the official Bach Flower Centre website. Please click on the link to be transferred.  www.bachcentre.com/found/guide/ani.html

Animal Behaviour Courses

Why choose the Natural Animal Centre to become an animal behaviourist (vs a university, college or other course providers)?

1. Why choose the Natural Animal Centre to become an animal behaviourist (vs a university, college or other course providers)?
Ask the following question do they give you all the skills you need to set up your own animal behaviour consulting business?

Practical consultation experience
Persuasion skills for managing clients
Counseling practice for handling complex cases
Behaviour Modification Programmes

We consult ourselves all the time? (If they don’t consult, why not?)

Practical Experience counts

Our animal behaviour courses (equine, canine, feline science) are encompassing – does their course cover all you need to know to be effective?
Ethology – to understand aberrant animal behaviour we need to know what is normal
Evolution – domestication is but a thin veneer compared to the driving behaviour needs that evolution has created
Learning theory – if you are going to use your brain rather than force & intimidation you need a solid grounding in learning theory
Physiology – animals behaviour is driven by what is going on inside – you need a basic understanding to be effective
Counseling – managing clients as an animal behaviourist is part of your role – if they do not implement your programmes the animal will not benefit
Consultation experience– you need live practice to equip you for the real thing as a consulting animal behaviourist
Welfare – understanding welfare is critical to assessing the animals you see and in terms of costs …

Our course cost a fraction of the average university fees & rather than accumulating debts of c£25k to £30k you will be earning income after completing Stage I paying back you investment quickly.

Is the Natural Animal Centre accredited by another body?

Practically you need two things to allow you to practice as a behaviourist. You need vets to provide a referral for your case & secondly you need an insurance company to offer you indemnity insurance. We have a perfect track record on both of these aspects.
There are a number of self-appointed bodies but as none of them meet our exacting standard of using positive reinforcement exclusively we have not affiliated with any of them.
We are both registered & supportive of the aims & ethics of the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC). We have not found another qualifying body which has sufficient overlap with our ethics of behaviour modification & training to wish to join them. As such our courses are not independently certified. CAWC are mandated with finding solutions for recognized groups of registered behaviourists & trainers. We are part of that steering committee.
Our graduates find that in practice the single most important factor in generating success is your personal track record as working behaviourist. We are unique in that we focus on providing complete skill sets so that you do have all you need to set up you own business & consult effectively within 15 months, so your track record will just come with time.
We have spent time with a number of universities & associations looking at the options for accreditation & each time we reach a point where joining them would constrain our ethics with respect to animals. One such hurdle: we believe it unnecessary to use anything but positive reinforcement in both training & behaviour modification. We seem to be singular in this assertion although it has worked practically for us & our graduates for 10 years.

Does the animal behaviour course provide practical animal training?

Yes, all stages of the Animal Behaviour Qualification include practical training with the species you choose to study. Subsequent stages have increasing amounts of practical positive reinforcement training. Our purpose is not to teach animal training, rather to equip you to teach your clients to implement the training elements of behaviour modification programmes as an animal behaviourist.

How is the animal behaviour course structured?

Experience has proven that a balance between teaching modules & recommended reading between modules works best. Reading lists for modules are provided when you pay for the module. In addition to the teaching modules (8 in all, generally 1 per month) there are assessments (module 9), case studies & field studies. We offer supervision to graduates (by invitation) to help with complex cases you may encounter in practice & help in interactions with vets.
Each year we run a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) weekend – a great chance to keep up to date on new scientific discoveries & exchange experiences with colleagues & fellow course friends.

What are the benefits of teaching Animal Behaviour for three species together?

Although the cross pollination which occurs naturally as you hear aspects specific to other species, is not sufficient to qualify you in second species, we do find that it increases your depth & breadth in terms of behavioural knowledge.
Where content differs (for instance, the practical impact of evolution on your species) we split into separate groups, but you still get the benefit of mixing with students studying another species during breaks & in many cases you share commonalities & differences in feedback sessions on case studies.
Although it is more complex for us, we have had masses positive feedback on teaching three species alongside each other.

What differentiates us from horse / dog wisperers & dominance reduction trainers?

Firstly, the Animal Behaviour Qualification is not an animal training system. It teaches the science of behaviour enabling you to identify the causes of the unwanted behaviours, propose behaviour modification programmes & teach clients to implement them. This last area of implementation may include the teaching of positive reinforcement techniques specific to the species you are dealing with. In the case of horses actual training tasks are covered by our distance learning programme – Positive Horse Magic which you can purchase independently.
However, technicalities aside, what really differentiates us is our belief that it is unnecessary to use any form of fear or intimidation in either training or behaviour modification.

What is positive reinforcement (vs negative reinforcement)?

The most commonly portrayed myth is that by discontinuing something nasty you provide ‘comfort’ & that this is positive reinforcement!! It is absolutely not – it is pure negative reinforcement (dressed up in deceptive language).
Consider the situation of being beaten by a stick. The beating continues until you stop doing everything except what your attacker wants. When the beating stops, it’s a great relief, but that doesn’t make it a positive experience.
Positive reinforcement focuses on setting it up so the animal performs the action you desire (without coercion) & then rewarding the result as it happens. It is based entirely on learning theory & may require a greater degree of planning (for instance a plan to shape behaviours). It engenders positive feelings of success, achievement & all the internal physiological chemistry which goes with it. And even better, if the animal gets it wrong nothing happens, he just gets to try again.

What educational level do I need to attend the Animal Behaviour Course?

This is an adult education course & as such there is no entry level requirement. We have a number of graduates who having not achieved well at school have gone on to excel on our courses & progressed to helping many animals. Experience shows that the way we teach combined with your passion for the subject will carry you through.

How does the Equine Behaviour Qualification compare to Equine Science Degrees?

When you join us you will be rubbing shoulders with many who already have degrees in equine science & animal studies. In fact around 1/3rd of our students come to us from university as they are looking for the practical skills to make a living as an animal behaviourist.
We think it is a great path … get a degree first & then come along to overlay it with practical skills & focused science. But for those of you who don’t have the patience or the money to invest we offer the direct route to a career in the animal industry.
Compare our prospectus to any university’s & you ‘ll find all the ‘need to know’ stuff is right there. We have honed down the course to the aspects that you need to know to be an effective & successful behaviourist. You can trust our judgement on this – we consult all the time – we really do know what you need.
If you have concerns call us & we can talk it through.

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