The Need for a National Accreditation Programme for Professionals Working in the Field of Animal Training and Behavioural Modification in New Zealand
Companion Animals New Zealand, Wellington 6141, New Zealand
Faculty of Health, Education and Environment, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Tauranga 3143, New Zealand
School of Environmental and Animal Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Department of Animal Welfare Science and Education, SPCA New Zealand, Auckland 0600, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2020 / Revised: 24 June 2020 / Accepted: 26 June 2020 / Published: 29 June 2020
Companion animals play an important role in the lives of New Zealanders. Animals’ guardians often engage professional behaviour and training support to ensure their companion animal’s behaviour is compatible with their lifestyle and expectations. The methods these professionals use vary substantially and potentially subject animals to psychological (and physical) harm where outdated, incorrect or aversive methods of training or equipment are used. The national regulation of training methods or techniques would safeguard the welfare of the animal benefactors of these services. In the absence of such regulation, the development of a national accreditation body may act to protect animal welfare by certifying the experience, qualifications and training methods of the professionals offering these services. We investigated industry opinion and readiness for the establishment of an accreditation body via an online survey and found that accreditation, promoting the use of reward-based training and behavioural modification techniques, was generally supported. We conclude that the establishment of a national accreditation body would ensure that those seeking services source professionals who use best practice when it comes to training and behavioural modification, resulting in lasting benefits to animal welfare.