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Application Handbook

The IAABC Application Handbook is the member guidebook of the IAABC credentialing program.  The Application Handbook provides members with credentialing eligibility requirements and guidelines for each phase of the application process.  IAABC credentialing program standing rules and policies are also referenced in this Application Handbook.  The section on Exam Content Outline includes relevant information for each section of application.  A brief list of Study Resources is found at the end of the Application Handbook with an example scenario and case study, and case study templates.

The IAABC offers multiple written assessments. By doing so, we honor the hard work and dedication our members devoted to excellence in the field, while still delineating between levels of experience and expertise.

Each application has several parts, designed to provide a well-rounded assessment of applicant’s applied knowledge, skills and abilities as an animal behavior consultant, trainer, or shelter worker.  Application questions and prompts require that applicants address real-life examples of behavior problems, test applicant knowledge of the principles of behavior modification, and require that applicants demonstrate their consulting skills and working relationships with other professionals.

The IAABC credentialing program is a voluntary program and is not a requirement of IAABC membership.  The IAABC welcomes all professionals, regardless of their level of education and experience, without an exam required, at the Supporting membership level.

IAABC members in good standing may apply for any of the IAABC credentials at any time.  Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review the IAABC Application Handbook prior to opening any application.

Open Applications

Certified Applications

  • Certified Behavior Consultant
    • Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)
    • Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (CCBC)
    • Certified Horse Behavior Consultant (CHBC)
    • Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC), fully certified in 3 or more species
  • Certified in Shelter Behavior
    • Certified in Shelter Behavior - Dog (CSB-D)
    • Certified in Shelter Behavior - Cat (CSB-C)

Accredited Applications

  • Accredited Dog Trainer (IAABC-ADT)
  • Entrenador Canino Acreditado (IAABC-ECA)

Affiliate Applications

  • Shelter Behavior Affiliate (SBA)

Eligibility Requirements

The IAABC recommends that animal behavior consultants, trainers and shelter workers have applied knowledge, skills and abilities in seven Areas of Core Competency.  These Areas of Core Competency guide the development of our applications and credentialing program.  The Areas of Core Competency can be found here

The IAABC does not verify a specific number of hours of past education or logging of previous work, as the evidence of experience is made clear through our application process.  A strong foundation of knowledge and practice is necessary in order to successfully earn an IAABC credential.

  • Certified
    We suggest:
    • A minimum of four years and 500 hours of experience in animal behavior consulting.  For certified shelter applicants, at least 2 years and 250 hours of this minimum experience should be in shelter animal behavior consulting.
    • 400 hours minimum of coursework, seminars, mentorships and other additional education in the IAABC Core Competencies
    • A working knowledge of learning theory, counterconditioning, desensitization, training and husbandry, with additional in-depth knowledge of assessment skills and application of species-specific knowledge
  • Accredited
    We suggest:
    • A minimum of two years experience dog training
    • 100 hours minimum of coursework, seminars, mentorship, and other additional education in the IAABC Core Competencies
    • A working knowledge of learning science, training, and husbandry
  • Affiliate
    We suggest:
    • A minimum of 200 hours experience in shelter animal care and welfare
    • A working knowledge of learning science, training, and husbandry, with additional knowledge of animal management skills related to shelter work Familiarity with dogs, cats, and other species if applicable
  • DACVBs & CCABs
    • Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists (US DACVB) who are currently practicing in animal behavior consulting with clients will be granted IAABC certified credential in their species of specialty with submission of documentation of board certification to info@iaabc.org and payment of membership dues and application fee.
    • Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists (UK CCABs) accredited by the ASAB, who are currently practicing in animal behavior consulting with clients, will be granted IAABC certified credential in their species of specialty with submission of ASAB accreditation to info@iaabc.org and payment of membership dues and application fee.
    • Policies and procedures for DACVBs and CCABs requesting the Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC) credential are referenced in the Standing Rules & Policies section of this Application Handbook.

Application Process & Exam Schedule

The IAABC Application Process is a multi-phase program on an on-demand exam schedule.  IAABC members in good standing can begin an application at any time by opening an application in their member account page on the IAABC website.

There are 5 Phases of the Application Process and 2 key deadlines.  Each deadline is a maximum of 60 days long and sequential.  Only after the applicant has successfully submitted their endorsements within 60 days of paying their application fee (Deadline #1), does the 60 day deadline to submit application responses begin (Deadline #2).

Join the IAABC

IAABC credential applications are available to IAABC members. The first step in the application process is to join the IAABC as a Supporting member.

IAABC members in good standing meet the established membership guidelines that include payment of annual dues and adherence to the Code of Ethics, with a commitment to Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive practices.

Existing members in good standing may apply for any application where they meet the eligibility requirements. Members must remain in good standing throughout the entire application process. Dues may be renewed early to avoid any interruptions in the application process if the membership expiration date is within 120 days of an application being opened.

If the credential is awarded, annual membership dues will change to reflect the membership level associated with the new IAABC credential. If a member holds multiple IAABC credentials, they only pay one (1) annual IAABC membership due amount, that of their highest credential level. Example: If a member holds both a CCBC and ECA, their annual IAABC Membership dues will be Certified level dues.

Applying for Credentials

IAABC members in good standing may apply for any of the IAABC credentials at any time. Applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review the IAABC Application Handbook prior to opening an application.

Application responses must be submitted in English for all applications, except the ECA. ECA application response must be submitted in Spanish. Endorsements may be submitted in any language that is convenient for the reference.

Phase 1: Application Fee & Agreement to Standards

Application Fees

Select the appropriate application in your IAABC Member account and pay the corresponding Application Fee. Application Fees are separate from annual Membership Dues. Application Fees are paid for each application opened.

Certified Applications

  • Certified Behavior Consultant
    • Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) Application Fee: $125 USD
    • Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (CCBC) Application Fee: $125 USD
    • Certified Horse Behavior Consultant (CHBC) Application Fee: $125 USD
    • Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC) No additional fees beyond application fees each of the minimum three (3) species of certification.
  • Certified in Shelter Behavior
    • Certified in Shelter Behavior - Dog (CSB-D) Application Fee: $125 USD
    • Certified in Shelter Behavior - Cat (CSB-C) Application Fee: $125 USD

Accredited Applications

  • Accredited Dog Trainer (IAABC-ADT) Application Fee: $125 USD
  • Entrenador Canino Acreditado (IAABC-ECA) Application Fee: $65 USD

Affiliate Applications

  • Shelter Behavior Affiliate (SBA) Application Fee: $65 USD

Agreement to Standards

Before moving forward with each application, you will be required to review and agree to comply with:

Phase 2: Endorsements & Deadline #1

It is recommended you save your application information frequently in a format external to our system (example: in a word processing document) to reduce risk of potential lost data.

Each application requires three (3) letters of reference. After payment of the application fee and agreement to the required standards, your application will be moved to the endorsement phase for a maximum of 60 days (Deadline #1).

References should be individuals who can provide a brief attestation of familiarity with you and your work.

  • Species Certified
    • One reference from a colleague of the same profession with same species expertise
    • One reference from a veterinarian you work with
    • One reference from a client
  • Shelter Certified and Affiliate
    • One reference from a shelter manager, board member or supervisor
    • Two references from coworkers familiar with your work
  • Accredited
    • Two references from clients
    • One reference from a colleague of the same profession with same species expertise

You will enter the email address of your endorsement contact into our application system. The individual will be automatically sent an electronic form to complete. Your letters of reference must be received electronically through our application system within 60 days or your application will expire and be closed (Deadline #1).

It is recommended that you contact your endorsements to ensure they receive and complete the electronic request for endorsement form within the required timeline. Our application system gives you the ability to change or update endorsement contact information prior to their submission of a letter of reference. This allows you to update your endorsement’s email address or even send the endorsement request to another individual should the initial recipient not be able to provide an endorsement for any reason to meet the 60 day deadline.

We will notify you through email once we receive and verify all three (3) of your endorsements, your application will then move to the Application phase to provide your written responses to the application questions and prompts. Applicants are not provided access to, or copies of, submitted letters of reference.

If your application expires and is closed, to open a new application requires completing all prior application phases. This includes payment of application fee, agreement to standards and resubmission of endorsements.

We cannot transfer data between applications or recover information, responses or other data you or your endorsements enter into your application. Endorsements cannot be transferred between applications, this includes applications that have been opened, expired, submitted or finalized.

We make the endorsement process as convenient as possible by having our application system send the request to your listed contacts. The email your endorsement contact will receive reads:

Hi there,

You are being contacted as a [client / colleague] of [applicant’s name], an IAABC applicant.

Please take a moment to complete the brief, secure endorsement form at this link: [we include a link that takes them to a form].

If you have any questions, please contact us at: info@iaabc.org

Thank you!

Endorsements can be submitted in any language the reference is most comfortable writing in. If the endorsement is to be submitted in a language other than English, please ask your reference to note the language of submission in the first line of the endorsement. This aids in us being able to readily translate the reference.

Phase 3: Application & Deadline #2

After your three (3) letters of reference are received and verified, you will receive an email notifying you that your application has been moved to the Application phase. In the Application phase you have access to the exam questions and prompts.

Application phase starts the timeline of Deadline #2. You must submit your written responses within 60 days of being moved to the Application phase, or your application will expire and be closed. You will be provided the expiration date and time in EST of your application. Applications not submitted by this deadline will expire and be closed.

If your application expires and is closed, to open a new application requires completing all prior application phases. This includes payment of application fee, agreement to standards and resubmission of endorsements.

IAABC applications require written demonstration of applied knowledge, skills and abilities of the IAABC Core Competencies. Each application is divided into four sections. Sections 1 and 4 are scored as a single section. Information on Application Exam Content and Study Resources may be found in following sections of this Application Handbook.

IAABC applications are thorough, comprehensive, and assess not just what you know, but how you apply what you know. Be prepared to be precise in your answers and to give clear, concise, operationalized descriptions of exactly how you applied or carried out aspects of your behavior or training plans. Don’t name a protocol, for instance, without thoroughly explaining which mechanisms of learning are in play, and exactly how you carried it out, step-by-step.

Applicants must remember to obscure any identifying information from their responses unless explicitly asked to provide it in the application. This includes using pseudonyms for clients and animals, refraining from providing business names or location, and not providing links to external sources that are directly related to the applicant or their business.

During the Application phase, you may save and return to your application as many times as you need. We cannot transfer or recover information, responses or other data that you enter in your application. We are not responsible for lost work. SAVE YOUR WORK ON A SEPARATE BACKUP! We recommend you write your answers in an external format (example: word processing document), and then paste them into the application so that you always have a backup copy.

Phase 4: Scoring

In order for an applicant to receive a passing score on the application they must achieve the following scores:

Certified applications:

Section 1 & 4: 80%
Section 2: 80%
Section 3: 80%
Whole Application:    80%


Accredited applications:

Section 1 & 4: 80%
Section 2: 80%
Section 3: 80%
Whole Application:    80%


Affiliate applications:

Whole Application:    80%


CDBC, CCBC and CHBC applicants who do not meet the minimum passing threshold for acceptance of 80% on all sections of the exam, but who score a minimum of 74% on all sections of the exam will be accepted as Associate Certified Dog, Cat or Horse Behavior Consultants.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum passing threshold on each of the three (3) sections of the application and the overall application score, will not meet criteria for that application and will remain at the membership level they hold at the time they take the exam. They are welcome to retake the exam after receiving their notice.

All applications for credentials are scored by the IAABC Application Review Team. Application Scorers are volunteers and IAABC members who hold the IAABC credential(s) of the applications they score.

Application scoring is anonymous. Scorers do not know whose application they are scoring. Applicants do not know which Scorers reviewed their application. Applicants should not include any identifying information (name, location, books written, courses given, business affiliation, etc.) in the application, except where it is explicitly requested.

Scorers review applications using a rubric. Each application section and question has lists of specific aspects and answers the applicant must cover in their responses. Each scorer assigned to the application scores it independently. They cannot see other scorer’s remarks or scores of the application. Scorers leave notes in the application system to explain their marking. This aids in final staff review of the application to ensure scoring accuracy and that each scorer assigned followed scoring policies and procedures before communicating the findings to the applicant. Applicants are not provided access to the rubric, scoring procedures, or scorer notes.

Applications will not be returned to the applicant after submission or scoring.

Phase 5: Results

You will receive an application review determination letter via email within 30 days of submission.

If you have met criteria for credentialing, you’ll be informed and congratulated!

  • Your IAABC member record will be automatically updated.
  • Your IAABC annual membership dues will adjust to reflect your new membership level.
  • You will then have access to a downloadable certificate from us in your user account - this is a big deal!
  • Your IAABC Membership card gets updated and is downloadable from within your IAABC account.
  • Your IAABC account will also now have level-specific logos for your use on websites, business cards, printed and other materials.
  • If you are Certified or Accredited, you’ll be able to go into your IAABC account and create your listing for display in our Consultant Locator.
    • Be sure to select “yes” on the “Make listing public?” button.
    • Be sure to select “yes” if you also do phone and virtual consulting.
  • Your member benefits will now include more benefits, including unlimited access to our video library of free conference (and other) presentations, for CEUs.
  • You will need to log 36 Continuing Education Units every 3 years.
  • Applications will not be returned to the applicant after submission or scoring.

If you have not met criteria for credentialing,

  • You will remain at the membership level you hold at the time of application, and are welcome to open a new application and retake the exam.
  • All IAABC membership benefits associated with your current membership level remain in place, and your membership is uninterrupted.
  • The scoring results may not necessarily reflect an applicant's experience or knowledge, they may rather be a function of lack of detail or not following instructions. It's important to remember that the reviewers do not know you and can not assume any knowledge that is not clearly and specifically written out. The objective scoring process is based solely on applicants providing sufficient detail with which the reviewers can fairly evaluate the responses and thereby score the rubrics.
  • Applications will not be returned to the applicant after submission or scoring.

 

Standing Rules & Policies

Refunds

Application fees are non-refundable.

Non-disclosure of Exam Materials

Applicants are required to maintain the confidentiality of examination materials. Applicants must refrain from disclosing details regarding questions, scenarios and cases to anyone.

Applicant Assistance

  • If you are having difficulty with your IAABC account, or filling out the application for some reason, write to info@iaabc.org.
  • Always save your work in another location. While we have redundancy systems in place to ensure all work is saved and protected, never fill out your application without also having a full copy of your answers in another location.
  • Technical application system questions will be readily answered.
  • We cannot answer individual application content questions. This Application Handbook, the instructions on the application, and the Core Competencies are all you have to work from. We will not answer, “Is this what you’re looking for?,” or other questions having to do with your individual responses, or questions, beyond technical issues. We cannot answer questions like:
    • “Is this what you have in mind?” (Sent with an excerpt from your answer.)
    • “I don’t understand what you want here.”
    • “Are you looking more for X, or for Y?”
  • Always save your work in another location. Yes, we are saying this twice.

Deadline Extensions

  • Applicants have 60 days to submit their endorsements (Deadline #1) and 60 days to complete their application responses after endorsements have been submitted and verified (Deadline #2). You may check on the time you have left by going to Apply Now > Continue Your Open Application.
  • In cases of significant injury, hospitalization, bereavement, or similar circumstances beyond your control, we may grant approval of a one time 30 day deadline extension. The 60-day application period is designed to provide ample time to complete the application under a variety of circumstances.
  • You may write to info@iaabc.org to request assistance. The extension request must be made at least 24 hours in advance of the application deadline and must include a brief explanation of the extenuating circumstance. Applicant will be notified if their extension has been approved.
  • As part of the extension request review process, membership status is reviewed to ensure the member’s IAABC membership will remain in good standing through to the end of any potential extension period. Applicants should ensure their IAABC membership is current and will remain active through any potential application deadline extension period prior to submitting an application extension request.
  • An extension request made after an application has expired/the application deadline has passed cannot be approved. Applications not submitted before the application deadline (time and date in EST) will expire and an applicant will need to begin the application process once again.

Application Submission Format

Applicants are to complete all application sections and respond to all questions and prompts. Applicants must respond to the questions asked, and where required, present the case studies requested. Case study substitutions will not be accepted. Applicants must present the case study types required in the application prompts.

All application materials must be submitted electronically as text in the IAABC web based application system. Any materials submitted outside of the IAABC web based application system will not be accepted or scored. Any applicant answers that include prompts to review external materials or hyperlinks as part of their question answers (not as reference citations only) will not be reviewed or scored. The IAABC web based application system does not accept attachments.

Applicants are to submit responses in English, except in the ECA application. ECA application responses are to be submitted in Spanish. Endorsement letters of recommendation may be submitted in any language the endorsement is comfortable writing in.

Re-Opening Submitted Applications

Applications submitted for scoring that after initial scoring are evaluated as meeting the minimum passing threshold or above for acceptance of 80% any two (2) sections of the application, and on the remaining third section receive a score of between 74-79%, may be returned to the applicant for review of their application for a period of no longer than 30 days.

Upon resubmission of the application, or after 30 days, whichever occurs first, the section of the application that received a score of between 74-79% on initial scoring, will be re-scored during the second, and final, scoring. The scores of the initial scoring of all other sections of the application will remain, and those sections will not receive additional review. After scoring is complete, the applicant will receive notification of final determination.

Appeals

All application determinations from the Application Review Team are final with no opportunity for appeal.

Applications are scored anonymously against a defined rubric by multiple independent reviewers for a fair and just evaluation.

Members are invited to re-apply at any time in the future. All application fees and steps are required.

Conflicts of Interest

Applications are scored anonymously. Scorers are assigned to applications on a randomized rotating basis. Applications are scored by multiple evaluators. Scorers are required to disclose any current active relationships with IAABC members that may constitute an actual or perceived conflict of interest. This includes IAABC members who are members of the scorer’s nuclear family, members who the scorer is currently mentoring or instructing, or members who the scorer is currently in an employment relationship with.

Multiple IAABC Credentials

  • IAABC members may hold multiple credentials.
  • Each application is treated individually, with the same 5 phase process for each application, including submission of new endorsements. Endorsements cannot be transferred between applications, this includes applications that have been opened, expired, submitted or finalized. Endorsements must be submitted new for each application. Letters of reference can be from the same people as long as those individuals meet the criteria for Endorsement.
  • Members who hold IAABC certified credentials in three (3) or more species may apply for credentialing as Certified Animal Behavior Consultants, CABC .
  • Members pay one (1) annual IAABC membership due amount per year, regardless of how many credentials they hold with the IAABC, that of their highest credential level. Example: If a member holds both a CCBC and ECA, their annual IAABC Membership dues will be Certified level dues.
  • CEU requirements for members with multiple IAABC credentials

Certified Animal Behavior Consultant, CABC

Members who hold IAABC certified credentials in 3 or more species may apply for credentialing as a Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC).

To apply for the CABC credential, members must:

  1. Hold IAABC certified credentials in three (3) or more species,
  2. Be IAABC members in good standing, and
  3. Submit a written request for CABC credential to info@iaabc.org that includes the member’s name of record and current IAABC credentials.

DACVBs and CCABs requesting Certified Animal Behavior Consultant (CABC) status must follow the above procedures for application for credentialing as a CABC or

  1. Be IAABC members in good standing,
  2. Pay application fees for each of the three (3) species of certification, and
  3. Submit a written attestation to info@iaabc.org from a fellow DACVB or CCAB confirming their work with three or more species.

Members will be notified within fourteen (14) days of receipt of their CABC application materials of the determination of their application for the Certified Animal Behavior Consultant credential.

If approved, the CABC credential supersedes all existing IAABC credentials the member holds. Members with the CABC credential now hold the single IAABC certified credential of Certified Animal Behavior Consultant and may not request the reinstatement of species specific credentials. Species specific certified credentials will only be re-awarded in the event the member fails to fulfill the recertification requirements for the CABC credential, and successfully completes all phases of the application process for species certified credential(s) once again.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

  • To maintain any credential, all IAABC credentialed members are required to complete a minimum of 36 continuing education units (CEUs) per 3 year recertification period for each credential held.
  • Each credential the member holds has its own 3 year recertification period. IAABC requires that a minimum of 36 CEUs be completed within each credential’s 3 year recertification period.
  • CEUs may meet the recertification requirements for more than one credential.
  • CEUs must comply with the IAABC CEU Policy.
  • CEUs must be earned within the 3 year recertification period. CEUs earned prior to the start of the recertification period will not be applied towards credential recertification. Members who earn more than 36 CEUs in a 3 year recertification period cannot apply the additional CEUs earned beyond the current 3 year recertification period.
  • Credentialed members who fail to complete and submit documentation of required continuing education within the recertification period may be required to reapply for certification and complete all application phases, including payment of fees for reinstatement of certification.

IAABC Position Statements

Statement of Nondiscrimination

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs or any other characteristic prohibited by law.

LIMA Guidelines

LIMA does not justify the use of punishment in lieu of other effective interventions and strategies. Applicants are expected to focus on the animal's environment, physical well-being, and operant and classical interventions such as differential reinforcement of an alternative behavior, desensitization, and counterconditioning.

IAABC members work to minimize the use of aversive stimuli and maximize the effective use of reinforcers to modify animal behavior. Members agree to adhere to LIMA guidelines (least intrusive, minimally aversive, effective training methods), and the IAABC Code of Ethics upon joining. Within that framework, the IAABC welcomes diversity and openness. Positive regard, and respect for differences are among our core values, always striving toward solid, effective, positive reinforcement-based work.

The IAABC Statement on LIMA can be found here.

Additional IAABC Position Statements

The IAABC’s position statements can be found here.

 

Exam Content Outline

IAABC applications require written demonstration of applied knowledge, skills and abilities of the IAABC Core Competencies. Each application is divided into four sections. Sections 1 and 4 are scored as a single section.

Exam Sections by Application Type

CDBC, CCBC, CHBC, CSB-D and CSB-C applications:

  • Section 1 & 4: Application of Learning Science & General Knowledge
  • Section 2: Scenarios (4)
  • Section 3: Case Studies (3)

ADT and ECA applications:

  • Section 1 & 4: Application of Learning Science & General Knowledge
  • Section 2: Scenarios (2)
  • Section 3: Training Questions (2)
    • The ADT & ECA applications ask applicants to develop and present training assessments and plans in response to prompt questions. There is no case study presentation requirement for these applications.

SBA applications:

  • Section 1 & 2: Application of Learning Science & General Knowledge

Section 1 & 4: Application of Learning Theory & General Knowledge

Applicants are encouraged to carefully read each question or prompt and respond fully, including correct definitions and providing species-specific examples where prompted. Applicants should write any responses in their own words and cite sources where appropriate.

Applicants should ensure their responses respond to the questions and prompts with a level of detail and support that clearly demonstrates their behavior consulting and training knowledge, skills and abilities within a LIMA framework. Certified shelter behavior applicants should ensure their responses demonstrate their behavior consulting knowledge, skills and abilities within a LIMA framework within the shelter environment.

Section 2: Scenarios

Scenarios are complex sample cases involving both human clients and animals. Scenarios assess applicants on the seven Core Areas of Competency. To achieve a passing score, applicants need to demonstrate, in writing, their applied, practical knowledge, skills and abilities of animal behavior consulting or training. They may be asked to provide recommendations for safety and management based on their assessment of the issue or to include their behavior modification strategies, and other problem-solving tactics, but there is no feedback possible from the client. We want to know what the applicant might ask, assess, and do to address the identified concerns given only the information provided.

Scenarios do not have one answer or theory to follow. Often, there could be several reasons for a situation or particular behaviors. Applicants may include in their responses any assumptions that led them to a particular solution. Scorers are trained to evaluate whether the solution is based in good practice and professional expertise rather than the scorer’s own individual preference.

The scenarios contain specific pieces of information an applicant must respond to in order to receive a passing score. Applicants are encouraged to respond to each scenario as if it were a human client and animal they were working with in a consultation. For certified shelter behavior applications, we consider the human client(s) to be any shelter staff, volunteers and/or adopters in the scenario prompt.

Applicants should carefully read the scenario prompt and the questions they are asked to respond to. In their responses, applicants must provide specific details that allow scorers to fully assess the applicant’s knowledge and skills at addressing each part of the behavior concerns identified in each scenario prompt. Applicants should write any responses in their own words and cite sources where appropriate.

Applicants should avoid making statements such as "I would use desensitization,” as this alone does not describe what they would specifically do in the given situation with the animal and human client(s). Instead, applicants should provide detailed examples of recommendations they might give, and how they might implement specific behavior modification or training exercises to address the identified concerns.

Applicants should completely detail their history taking, assessment and behavior plan process that addresses each behavior concern presented in the prompt, including how they would successfully implement any behavior protocols or exercises they recommend with the human client. Applicants should also present a clear demonstration of LIMA application and valid support for any behavior assessment, management and behavior change recommendations made in their scenario responses.

Section 3: Case Studies

Certified level applicants are provided with three (3) case study prompts. The prompts outline criteria of three different case study types that the applicant must present from their own case history. Applicants are expected to have an on-going, varied caseload. There is no requirement on when in the applicant’s work history the cases presented occured, though a high level of detail is needed in order for the scorers to sufficiently assess applicant’s behavior consulting knowledge, skills and abilities in presented cases. Certified dog, cat, horse behavior consultant and Certified shelter behavior applicants must be comfortable working all manner of major behavior cases, including aggression cases. “Aggression” is defined as behavior resulting in injury to people or other animals. Case substitutions are not permitted. Applicants must present the case study types required in the application prompts.

It is important to be very specific and to choose cases that are complex and clearly demonstrate your applied knowledge, skills and abilities when working with human clients and their animals. For certified shelter behavior applications, we consider human clients to be shelter staff, volunteers, and/or adopters.

The presented cases should completely detail the applicant’s history taking, assessment and behavior plan process in the case. Case studies must come to a successful resolution of the presenting behavior concern. There must be clear details that demonstrate how the presenting behavior concern(s) relative to the case study prompt was successfully resolved through the applicant's consulting work with the client and animal.

As with the scenarios, applicants should avoid making general statements about their case assessment, behavior plan development or implementation, as this does not describe the applicant’s understanding of the case they are presenting and demonstrate how they successfully resolved the presenting behavior concern in the work done with the client and animal. Applicants should provide detailed examples of recommendations they gave and how they implemented specific behavior modification exercises with the clients to address the identified concerns.

Applicants should be aware of the need to present a cohesive case that demonstrates case progression from intake to resolution, application of LIMA, valid support for the assessment and behavior plan implemented, and a presenting behavior concern of reasonable complexity that meets the case study prompt criteria. Applicants should cite sources in their case studies where appropriate. Applicants should clearly indicate in their case study how the case meets each element of the prompt criteria.

If the case presented includes complications for the applicant, clients or pet, the applicant should provide clear information and valid support for their understanding of the complicating factors. Applicants should also provide specific details on how they successfully addressed the complicating factors, or how the factors otherwise influenced their behavior plan development and implementation.

Applicants must remember to obscure any identifying information from their case study presentations. This includes using pseudonyms for clients and animals, refraining from providing business names or location, and not providing links to external sources that are directly related to the applicant or their business.

Section 3 (ADT & ECA): Training Questions

In the training questions, applicants must provide a level of specific detail that demonstrates their knowledge, skills and abilities at assessment and dog training plan development. Applicants should provide written responses that clearly describe and demonstrate how they would address each of the training or behavior concerns presented in the prompt and their abilities when working with clients and their animals.

Applicants should be cognizant of the need to present a cohesive training plan with clear information that demonstrates application of LIMA, and valid support for their assessment and recommended training plan. Applicants should provide details that reflect how their recommendations specifically address the training and behavior concerns presented in the prompt.

If the training question presented includes complications for the applicant, clients or pet, the applicant should provide clear information and valid support for their understanding of the complicating factors. Applicants should also provide specific details on how they would successfully address the complicating factors, or how the factors otherwise influenced their training plan development.

 

Study Resources

IAABC Core Competencies

The IAABC recommends that animal behavior consultants, trainers and shelter workers be skilled in seven Areas of Core Competency. These Areas of Core Competency guide the development of our applications and certification program. The Areas of Core Competency can be found here.

Recommended Reading List

The IAABC Recommended Reading List can be found here.

Example Scenario

In the example hypothetical scenario below, a successful response will include specific, detailed content that someone wanting to be “certified in car mechanics” would need to know, and be able to explain clearly. A Scenario for a car mechanic's application might be:

John calls your auto repair shop for help. He tells you that his Lamborghini Veneo Roadster isn’t “acting right.” He tells you that, since the weather turned cooler, he’s been sitting in the garage with the car running to make sure the car doesn’t lose its performance capabilities from lack of use. He mentions that he closes the garage door to help keep the car as warm as possible. John complains that since he’s been doing this, he’s smelling a strong gasoline odor that’s making him feel sick while the car idles.

John says that he’s been letting his car run every day like clockwork, but yesterday the car wouldn’t start at all, even though he kept trying. John’s been leaving the car’s wing door up to easily get in and out, but when he decided to close the door today it felt very heavy and was hard to move. He decided to leave it open until he’d had a chance to call you.

  • What questions might you ask John?
  • How might you assess what’s going on with the car?
  • What immediate suggestions might you make to tide him over until you could see the car?
  • What aspect of this case do you think is especially important to note?
APPLICANT RESPONSE

The first thing I’d do is tell John to stop idling or in any way running the car when in his garage with the garage door closed.

I’d ask John what his gas level was in the car. That he’s been sitting in it, letting it idle for days on end, suggests that he may be low on or out of gas, contributing to his starting issues.

I’d also make sure that he was putting the key in the ignition correctly. Lamborghini keys, though multi-directional, sometimes fit better in one direction than another. Further, the trim near the ignition could scratch from the alternative position.

I’d have him check the battery. The car “not starting at all,” combined with the “heavy door” (because the doors rotate vertically at a fixed hinge at the front, the doors require battery assist to open and close easily), leads me to think that the battery is dead.

Especially important to note here is that John is smelling gas and idling in the garage. While that’s a concern in any situation, Lamborghini Veneos have a defective evaporative-emission system that can let gasoline soak through its charcoal filter and into the purge valves. If this happens, excess fuel vapors can come into contact with hot exhaust gas and ignite.

Lamborghini has stated that “particular maneuvers, for instance an engine over revving at idle” can exacerbate the problem, causing a fire.

I’d explain the known dangers to the client, and strongly urge them to immediately stop idling the car, even if they get it to start again, and especially in the garage, and to only run the car outside with good ventilation.

Below is an example of a hypothetical rubric for the above Sample Scenario. Applicants do not see the rubric, the scores, or the scorer notes. Each rubric on each application is tailored to the specific section of the application and question or prompt.

Answer Rubric for Scorers

On a scale of 0 (incorrect) to 3 (a correct response), please select Bonnie Clyde
Questions about car’s gas tank level? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Questions about battery? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Did the applicant offer immediate suggestions viable to the scenario? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Was safety & management addressed (including not starting the car in a closed garage)? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Did the applicant “address an important aspect” of the case? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Was the “important aspect” reasonable and valid? 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3
Score (total score possible 18) 17 15
Average Score 16
Scorer’s Notes

Clyde: The applicant never suggested having the alternator checked. And didn’t ask questions about the battery, only was going to have the client check the battery.

Bonnie: Great work from the applicant making clear the danger of idling in the garage with the door closed.

Example Case Study

The example case study is provided to help applicants understand the type of detail and depth of information expected in case study presentations within the application. The example case study offers breakout boxes that highlights some important aspects of case study development and citation examples. Case studies are also scored against a rubric, ensuring that pivotal questions and best practices are addressed by the applicant.

See our example case study here.

Case Study Templates

These Case Study Templates are provided as a guide and reference for applicants in the development of their case studies. Applicants are not required to use the provided Case Study Templates in their applications and case study presentations. Applicants may present their written case studies however they feel best meets the criteria and demonstrate their applied knowledge, skills and abilities in the Core Competencies.

Applicants must remember to obscure any identifying information from their case study presentations. This includes using pseudonyms for clients and animals, refraining from providing business names or location, and not providing links to external sources that are directly related to the applicant or their business.


Case Study Template: Certified Dog/Cat/Horse Behavior Consultant Application

Case Study: Title

Subject: Animal Name
Age: Animal’s age/DOB
Species:
Breed:
Sex:
Housing:

History
Presenting Behavior Complaint:
Acquired from, and age at time:
Medical history:
Persons involved in care: Human name - relationship to animal/role in the case (age/generation/adult/child/etc)
Housing (history):
Diet:
Consultation/Training format: private consultation, virtual via video meeting, group classes, etc

Intake

Behavioral History:
Present the animal’s behavioral history

Observations:
Describe any observations

Assessment
Identify the concern(s) found in the case, supporting your findings with facts given in the case

Positive Indicators:
List indicators supporting successful resolution of the presenting concern(s)

Negative Indicators:
List indicators that create challenges to successful resolution of the presenting concern(s)

Intervention Recommendations:
Explain in detail, with specifics, which solutions you adopted to address the concern(s) you identified with support for your decisions.

Implementation:
Explain in detail, with specifics, what was done, by whom during implementation of your Intervention Recommendations.

Consult #1
Goal:
Safety:
Environmental Modifications:
Skill Building & Behavior Modification:

Consult #...
Goal:
Safety:
Environmental Modifications:
Skill Building & Behavior Modification:

Conclusion
Sum up the main points of the case with reference to the case study prompt, and the outcome of the case.

References/Citations
Provide citations for reference sources and resources you used in development of your case study.


Case Study Template: Certified Shelter Behavior - Dog/Cat Application

Case Study: Title

Subject: Animal Name
Age: Animal’s age/DOB
Species:
Breed:
Sex:
Housing:

History
Presenting Behavior Complaint:
Acquired from, and age at time:
Medical history:
Persons involved in care: Human name - relationship to animal/role in the case (age/generation/adult/child/etc)
Housing (history):
Diet:
Consultation/Training format: private consultation, virtual via video meeting, group classes, etc

Intake

Behavioral History:
Present the animal’s behavioral history

Observations:
Describe any observations

Assessment
Identify the concern(s) found in the case, supporting your findings with facts given in the case

Positive Indicators:
List indicators supporting successful resolution of the presenting concern(s)

Negative Indicators:
List indicators that create challenges to successful resolution of the presenting concern(s)

Intervention Recommendations:
Explain in detail, with specifics, which solutions you adopted to address the concern(s) you identified with support for your decisions.
Discuss the limitations you identified of current shelter resources. Provide additional suggestions you would make if additional shelter resources became available.

Implementation:
Explain in detail, with specifics, what was done, by whom during implementation of your Intervention Recommendations.

Consult #1
Goal:
Safety:
Environmental Modifications:
Skill Building & Behavior Modification:

Consult #...
Goal:
Safety:
Environmental Modifications:
Skill Building & Behavior Modification:

Placement/Adoption
Detail/describe adoption plan and outcome

Conclusion
Sum up the main points of the case with reference to the case study prompt, and the outcome of the case.

References/Citations
Provide citations for reference sources and resources you used in development of your case study.

 

How to Give Examination Feedback

If you have comments or questions on the structure, content or administration of the credentialing program, please contact info@iaabc.org after you have received your final determination letter. Comments or questions about your exam results, scoring or responses cannot be accepted.