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Frequently Asked Questions

For Pet Owners (view FAQs for Professionals here)

If your pet is behaving in a worrying, inappropriate, scary or challenging way, you can seek help from an IAABC professional in your area. Visit our Consultant Locator to find one of our certified or associate certified members.

What if there is no one near me? Can I get help online?
Some consultants also provide remote consults via phone or internet, and will indicate that on their listings.

Certified members of the IAABC have demonstrated expertise in:

  • The 6 core competencies required for certification;
  • Communication and sensitivity toward client and animal;
  • Scientifically based behavior modification
  • Sound critical thinking and sound reasoning in client assessments and behavior modification plans

They have also completed a lengthy application and provided multiple case studies for peer review.

Associate Certified members of the IAABC have shown excellent, yet still burgeoning skills in communication, behavior modification and understanding of current scientific theory and application in 3 of the 6 core areas of competency required for full certification, and have completed a thorough application and two case studies for peer review.

Shelter Behavior Affiliate members have demonstrated a working knowledge of learning theory, training and husbandry, with additional knowledge about animal management skills related to shelter work. They have not been assessed in their work with clients.

Affiliate members have shown good foundational knowledge and skills in their specialty.

Animal behavior consultants are experts in the management, modification and prevention of problem behaviors in pets and other animals. They work with clients, often enlisting a team approach with their veterinarians, pet care givers and other members of the family, to assess and treat behavior problems. IAABC behavior consultants work with dogs, cats, parrots, and horses, in shelters, and with working animals and “pocket pets” and exotics. For a detailed description of the difference between a behavior consultant and a trainer, read our article here.

For Professionals

There is no single path to becoming a certified behavior consultant. People come to the profession from animal training, the veterinary profession, academia, social work, and many other walks of life.

The IAABC awards certification to animal behavior and training professionals who have demonstrate expertise through a rigorous exam. Certified professionals have fulfilled all the requirements in our application process.

We believe that behavior consultants need both practical and theoretical knowledge and experience to be successful. There is no single course that will teach you everything you need to become a certified behavior consultant: behavior consulting requires skills in the mechanics of training as well as the concepts that underlie behavior modification.

IAABC's Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice offers a twelve-week online course that provides an advanced-level background in the core competencies that we believe are vital for every behavior consultant. Taking the course alone is not enough to become certified, but it's a thorough introduction. We also offer shorter online courses and mentorships in specific areas of behavior consulting. For a full list, click here.

There are other courses, both online and in-person through colleges and other institutions, as well as seminars, mentorships, and books that can give you the education and skills you need.

No. The IAABC tests for practical, applied competence which requires experience. The deeper an applicant’s knowledge and experience, the greater the success rate in application.

No. The IAABC is a professional organization for animal behavior and training professionals consultants and trainers working with many species of animals. We offer certification and online education in the field of animal behavior consulting, but not school or college credit.

All working in animal training and behavior, students, and all working with animals professionally are welcome to join the IAABC.

Supporting membership: we welcome anyone who shares our values and wants to be a part of our community. Click here to join as a Supporting member.

We award certification to professionals working with dogs, cats, horses and parrots. The application process for certification covers how well you can apply your knowledge to real-life behavior case studies. The process is explained in more detail here.

If you volunteer or work as a trainer in a shelter, you can apply for Shelter Behavior Affiliate status. If you volunteer or work with working animals, such as therapy animals, service animals, herding, guarding, hunting, or general farm animals, you can apply to be an Affiliate in our Working Animals Division.

Certification is valid for three years. If you are Certified, Associate Certified or shelter behavior affiliate member, you must meet the requirements for continuing education, and pay your yearly membership dues to re-certify. Supporting membership is valid for one year; to renew you only need to pay your dues.

If you're not sure what type of membership is right for you, this infographic will help you decide.

All IAABC members—certified, affiliate, or supporting— can can enjoy being part of a community and taking part in our discussion groups, as well as being entitled to discounts on our courses and through our supporting organizations. We have active email lists and Facebook groups for each Division which members are welcome to join regardless of their species of specialty. We also send two monthly newsletters with tips on how to get the most out of your membership.

Certified and Associate Certified members can also get themselves listed in our Behavior Consultant Locator, and all members are able to vote for our President and Board of Directors.

Shelter Behavior Affiliate members can connect with other people working in shelters across the world, and access our library of handouts for other volunteers and the public.

In addition to the strong community, all IAABC members have free and ongoing access to conference lecture videos and other webinar and selected course materials. These videos, viewable only from within members’ user accounts and not available anywhere else, include IAABC, CCPDT and KPA CEUs.

Our Lili Chin poster library provides members with downloadable, printable posters on dog park safety, litter box best practices and more, for free use at members’ businesses, communities and shelters.

We have a clear Code of Ethics that we expect all members to adhere to in their professional life.

More generally, we believe that anyone engaging in the training or behavior modification of any animal should work from a principle of choosing the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy to be effective. The strategies they choose should be based on scientific evidence, and focus on positive and humane solutions.

We believe that this approach means that animal behavior consultants should commit to the ongoing improvement of their education and skills. You can read more about this approach in our Position Statement on LIMA.

Certified members of the IAABC have demonstrated expertise in:

  • The 6 core competencies required for certification;
  • Communication and sensitivity toward client and animal;
  • Scientifically based behavior modification
  • Sound critical thinking and sound reasoning in client assessments and behavior modification plans

They have also completed a lengthy application and provided multiple case studies for peer review.

Associate Certified members of the IAABC have shown excellent, yet still burgeoning skills in communication, behavior modification and understanding of current scientific theory and application in 3 of the 6 core areas of competency required for full certification, and have completed a thorough application and two case studies for peer review.

Shelter Behavior Affiliate members have demonstrated a working knowledge of learning theory, training and husbandry, with additional knowledge about animal management skills related to shelter work. They have not been assessed in their work with clients.

Affiliate members have shown good foundational knowledge and skills in their specialty.

Animal behavior consultants are experts in the management, modification and prevention of problem behaviors in pets and other animals. They work with clients, often enlisting a team approach with their veterinarians, pet care givers and other members of the family, to assess and treat behavior problems. IAABC behavior consultants work with dogs, cats, parrots, and horses, in shelters, and with working animals and “pocket pets” and exotics. For a detailed description of the difference between a behavior consultant and a trainer, read our article here.