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I agree with all you've said about the difficulties the dog owner has in finding good advice and guidance on training. I can't agree that new parents have a blissfully easy time in comparison. There's tons of conflicting advice on rearing children. A pediatrician can be great on treating childhood illnesses, horrible at knowing what to do for behavioral problems. Something as minor as a
3 year old having trouble settling down for a nap will get a different answerfrom every parent gymboree, some of it appropriate, some of it right for one child while wrong for the next, some of it downright dangerous.

I also agree that pet owners tend to go first to their vet for advice which I is appropriate. At least there's some sort of licensing in place for vets. Even if it isn't geared for training and behavioral problems, it is a place to start.
Back to my old story about asking my vet for a referral to a trainer. Cubbe and I had been to 2 unsatisfactory 6 week training courses. It finally became obvious to me that we needed in person, geared for us training, not generic. My vet gave me 2 phone numbers.
The first guy I called sounded awfully sincere on the phone. I believe he does love dogs and does have good results. Unfortunately, he didn't hear a word I said about the downfalls of what I'd tried already. We were going to get the same course he gave everybody whether it worked for us or not. He also got off on the subject of spoiled children who'd never had discipline and tied that in with the political situation at the time. I thanked him and hung up.

The second lady was the clicker trainer I was so pleased with.

I give my vet a lot of credit for finding 2 trainers, both good, with vastly different methods.
Aaurgh, I forgot my own line. That should have read:
. Something as minor as a
3 year old having trouble settling down for a nap will get a different answer from every parent at gymboree, ... will say it is ridiculous to put a child that young on that sort of medication and will prescribe Prozac.

Hi julia ,
I'm just jumping in here . The thread has got onto training which is very important but so is understanding dog behaviour . You can f*** a dog up and make it worse if you don't understand why it does what it does and training won't help if the dog is too nervous to respond .! Things like not understanding why your dog is reluctant to come up to you (calming signals), people think it's being disobedient and maybe shout at it and make it more reluctant to return . I also notice that people with nervous dogs and house training problems saying they're never punished the dog or been horrible to it and then go on to say they scolded it which is the worse thing they could do . Alison
And how is the average pet owner supposed to find those trainers and behaviorists?

By researching or asking their vet for a referral. My statement was misleading. My point was that people shouldn't expect their vets to be behavioral experts and in turn vets shouldn't be administering advice that is beyond their scope.

Ah. OK. Then we're essentially in agreement. I don't think that vets should be experts in animal behavior, nor to sit down and help an owner one-on-one with basic training issues. I would definitely hope, however, that they can identify behavior problems that they themselves are not capable of treating and giving a knowledgable referral to experts as necessary.
To make a long story short, all kids get help. ... have with someone who can help them is... their vet.

Yes and they should get a referral for a trainer or be told to go to the library or search the net.

Ewww... I've seen a lot of bad advice in libraries and on the Internet some GOOD information from both sources too, of course, but I wouldn't expect JQP to sort the good from the bad. I think referring to a good trainer is best.
So who the heck do you THINK the average pet ... behaviorists are, but I've found that they often don't :-(.

Not sure why you're yelling at me since my main point was that behavior is not a part of a vet's qualification.

Sorry; I didn't mean to yell at you. This is just an issue that really gets to me: how do we get JQP to nip problems in the bud, rather than wait until they escalate into major problems.
For the OP to suggest that vet's shouldn't be qualified or licensed because they aren't trainers or behaviorists is wrong IMO.

We agree here too.
Trainers don't advertise in highly visible areas.

We can't afford to. When I was teaching for my obedience club, our major source of new students was... the Yellow Pages, in which we had a one line* ad. And that ad cost *$6000 a year. Every once in a while we'd make up flyers or brochures and put them in vets' offices and pet supply stores. Got hardly any students from that. Finally, we had very good word-of-mouth, but a new trainer (no matter how good) can't rely on that. Some training places (including my old club) now have web sites and I'm all in favor of that. But other than that... I think that newspaper & radio ads and other forms of mass media are WAY beyond most trainers' means.
I will give this much to PetSmart: regardless of the quality of their trainers, they have definitely done the dog world a service by making training available in their stores. It raises public awareness of the importance of obedience training, and I think that most dogs will benefit, no matter how crappy it might be.
Ask a vet, by all means, but be prepared to learn about the existence of trainers and the likely need to employ one.

I think I'm likely thinking a step before you here. As I see it, JQP is unlikely to take the first steps toward seeking out a trainer because s/he doesn't realize that what they're experiencing is 1) normal or 2) solvable. They need to be convinced that a trainer or behaviorist will do somthing that will fit their needs. So I would LOVE to see a vet say, when presented with a normal but out-of-control adolescent, "You know, s/he would be much easier to live with if you took him/her through a basic obedience class. There's a very good one here in town." Or, when a dog showing obvious signs of fear aggression comes in, to say, "Your dog seems very afraid. I want to refer you to a specialist for more evaluation."

I don't think that happens very much, though :-(.