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December 19, 2008


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Don't be so surprised. Pet psychologists have been around since at least the early 1960s. Mrs Drysdale had her poodle visit one on episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies. LOL

I wouldn't exactly add this to the cost of owning a pet :p

A pet psychologist is really just a highly qualified animal trainer so I'm not sure what the shock is about.

Granted, the image of a pet psychologist taking notes while Rover lays on the couch barking about his issues, and then gets a prescription for Prozac, is pretty silly.

But having seen shows on Animal Planet like Barking Mad or It's Me Or the Dog, I can see the value of an animal behaviorist (though not $90,000!). It's typically the owner whose behavior they first need to change. Only then can the desired result be achieved with the animal.

I think they were trying to sensationalize the article by evoking the image of Sigmund Freud rather than something more like the Dog Whisperer.

Look on the bright side, if there are people earning 90k/year in this line of work our economy isn't as bad as we think.

I could use one for my latest adoptee, we're not sure if he's crazy or brain damaged. Maybe both. I've looked into behaviorists and they are not cheap, I don't doubt these salaries.

A behaviorist can do wonders for both the pet and owner's behavior. The good ones get their DVM first, so they are full vets too. I think you are thinking about a poodle on a couch talking to Freud but that is just not the case.

The amount people are willing to pay for this service is a reflection of what people are willing to pay for pets generally, especially vet bills.

As I understand it, hiring an animal behaviorist is typically the last resort before giving the animal up to a shelter or having it destroyed (the latter being the more responsible choice if the animal really is hopelessly crazy or dangerous).

I agree with FMF's general sentiment, as stated in numerous posts, that pets should not be confused with human family members in terms of spending for medical care. But given the stakes, spending big bucks on an animal behaviorist is probably no more crazy than spending thousands on surgery for an animal.

That said, this kind of thing would probably be a lot less necessary if people educated themselves a little better before getting a pet.

I agree with Matt H, it would be FAR less prevalent if people were better educated before getting a pet. Unfortunately, getting a pet is much like getting pregnant; there are no screening processes.

I'd probably try a pet psychologist/trainer before I had to put a truly disruptive pet to sleep (or give it to a shelter where it would never be adopted, given its problems). I mean, I wouldn't pay that money before my rent, but a pet is a serious responsibility that has to be taken seriously. :P That means they're making up to $300 a day. Incredible.

I've been a dog owner for 40+ years.
By far the best advice I've seen is from Cesar Millan.
Watch his show "Dog Whisperer" on Nat Geo TV.

All I can say is... ok... I dont know what to say

Some people really do have too much money. Or at least they act like they do.

Cesar Millan is not a vet or a behaviorist, he is a showman. You can get advice from Dr. Phil too but he is not a substitute for a real doctor. I know people love Cesar, but his training teqnuqie was cutting edge in the 1950s and 60s. Sure some if it works, but there are much better ways now. Dogs are not wolves! They are dogs!

Like those nanny tv reality shows, it is mostly about training the owners rather than the pets.

Matt -

Since you've seen the environments (specifically, the homes of the dog owners and the car Victoria drives), it should appear that pet psychology is a decidedly upscale field with an upscale clientele!

(Which is why so much of the fare on television seems decidedly UNreal to me.)

rwh said:

"Look on the bright side, if there are people earning 90k/year in this line of work our economy isn't as bad as we think."

Our economy IS as bad as we think, but this can be obscured when seeing only one of Two Americas.

poor boomer,

I wouldn't call it decidedly upscale. Most of the homes on the shows looked fairly middle class to me, though there were a couple exceptions.

As for the car Victoria drives, well, she's also the star of a television show. It may be owned or leased by the producers. I don't think we can read too much into the whole field because of that.

On the other hand, I think the reality may be that the field is even more upscale than the shows suggest. I expect that the families that appear in the shows get Victoria's services for free. They should, since they usually end up looking bad. People who can afford to pay out of pocket probably do just that in order to maintain some privacy and dignity.

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