Human beings have always been fascinated by animal behavior and the unique relationships within the animal kingdom. It would be pretty helpful to understand what our pets and the animals around us think and feel. Animal psychologists are the experts who dedicate their lives to studying and understanding animal traits. Read on to uncover what you need to know about animal psychology and how it shapes the world around us.
What is animal psychology?
In the past, animal research has predominantly been about animal habitats and how wildlife interacts with nature. Psychology is broadly categorized into two major branches, theoretical and practical zoology.
Academic studies entail researching how animals interact with one another and their respective environments, including predator and prey relationships.
The practical branch involves observing animals in natural habitats such as nature reserves and parks to understand and promote animal welfare.
Where do animal psychologists work?
Animal psychologists can choose to major in three main career paths, determining where these professionals will work. The first discipline is practical animal psychology which entails working directly with wildlife in its natural habitat. These specialists work in Zoos, animal shelters, circuses, aquariums, and rescue centers. Sometimes, homeowners may request their services to assists in handling pets going through psychological challenges such as stress, anxiety, and abuse.
The other two disciplines, academic research and training, primarily perform their roles in research institutions. Here, they build on existing knowledge and train the next generation of veterinarians and animal handlers.
Understanding an animal psychologist’s job description
The responsibilities of an animal psychologist will involve the following:
- Observing and recording animal behavior
- Studying animal interactions and developing techniques for modifying these interactions
- Presenting research findings in journals and through articles
- Teaching and lecturing students enrolled in animal behavior courses
- Taking part in laboratory sessions to understand animal anatomy and behavior
- Analyzing how animals interact with one another and with humans to identify any behavioral disorders
What are the qualification requirements for an animal psychologist?
Similar to psychologists who study human behavior, animal behavior experts also have a defined career path that features all the critical elements required to succeed in their role. However, aspiring candidates should focus on biology and psychology in high school studies. Good grades in environmental studies, geography, and math are essential for success in this profession.
Students can opt for a major in zoology, ecology, and biology at the undergraduate level and combine that with a minor in animal-related psychology. Candidates seeking senior research roles such as project management and teaching practice should possess a master’s degree or Ph.D.
Explore the academic options online to strengthen your stand in the animal psychology field. Places like Best Psychology Degrees are certainly a good choice to accelerate your learning journey.
What are the specific groups or societies for animal psychologists?
Like many other professional fields, animal psychologists can join industry-specific organizations. Examples of organizations include:
- The animal behavior society.
- The international society of applied ethology.
- The international association of animal behavior consultants.
These bodies not only promote scientific research but also set standards and guiding principles for all professionals.