The need for a defined National Occupational Standard (NOS) for dog behaviourists, trainers and handlers became apparent as long ago as 2008. The late Sir Colin Spedding, Chairman of the Companion Animal Welfare Council (CAWC), approved the PETbc as being the best-equipped organisation to drive forward the production of the new National Occupational Standards.
Therefore in 2014, The Government, through LANTRA – the UK’s Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries– after working principally with the PETbc in partnership with the Kennel Club, enthusiastically supported by the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association, the British Institute of Pet Dog Trainers, the Cambridge Institute for Dog Behaviour and Training and the Guild of Dog Trainers, issued a suite of National Occupational Standards (NOS) for those who work within the canine sector industries. The dedication of PETbc council members and those affiliated to PETbc member organisations has ensured that the future occupations of those with exemplary qualifications, as well as practical skills, will be recognised as professionally competent to provide the services to dog owners and commercial organisations within the UK.
NOS are developed as measures of competence. Each occupational standard identifies the performance criteria individual professionals must be able to demonstrate, alongside a specified level of knowledge and understanding each individual must achieve before performing a job description. The establishment of NOS for dog behaviourists, trainers and handlers elevates the status of those professionals or dedicated enthusiasts working with dogs to a level commensurate with those set for general animal behaviour and those engaged within the equine industry. In effect, these NOS will set dog behaviourists and trainers apart from the general practitioners known as “animal behaviourists” whose breadth of knowledge across the range of animal species precludes them from the intimate relationship enjoyed by those dedicated solely to the canine genre.
There are numerous dog training and behaviour education organisations in the UK. To provide a level of regulation within the canine sector industries, the PETbc requires that their member organisations recognise and follow the relevant NOS as a minimum, to ensure courses, qualifications and awards are designed to produce an exceptional quality of highly qualified dog professional, at all levels.