This is a question that comes up a lot with people seeking help for dog behavioral problems. Do I need a trainer or do I need a behaviorist?
What is behavior? Everything your dog does is behavior. It is generally the unwanted behavior that dog owners are concerned with. Jumping, barking, growling, pulling, anxiety, aggression…. things like that. Identifying behavior is pretty simple. Yup, you have behavior! Now the question becomes, how to change it? How to get rid of it?
The only way to change unwanted behavior is either to prevent it from happening in the first place or to replace it with a desirable behavior that is incompatible. A dog who is sitting cannot jump. Get the picture? The pathway to change is through training.
This is a good place to really pay attention to certifications. The certifications will tell you what type of training that particular person has and whether they are qualified to actually change or modify existing behavior.
My certifications qualify me to evaluate dog behavior, identify it and most importantly, create a training plan to change the behavior. Everything a dog does is behavior. If that behavior is something undesirable it is a no brainer to identify it. But changing it is another matter. How do you replace the unwanted behavior with behavior that you do want? This is where the training experience comes in. This is what I do.
So, the answer to the question at the top of this page is that you need both.