Are you looking for an animal behaviorist or animal trainer? Finding one who is certified by a professional organization for animal behaviorists or animal trainers is a step you can take toward locating the right one to meet your needs. These organizations offer opportunities for animal training/behavior professionals to work together and share information, and they set specific qualifications required to receive certification and join.
This article provides an explanation of the training or education required for certification by specific animal behaviorist or animal trainer organizations and a list of independent organizations with certified professional members.
For more information on finding a dog trainer, see Finding a Dog Trainer.
Certified Animal Behaviorist/Animal Trainer Positions
Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (ACAAB)
Has earned an undergraduate degree in a behavioral science at an accredited college, university, or veterinary school, and has a postgraduate education to Master’s (two-year, full-time) degree level, or a DVM or VMD degree with a behavioral residency. Has a minimum of two years professional experience in applied animal behavior and has met standards of course work and experience for certification as set forth by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS). ACAAB/CAAB website
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB)
Meets the same qualifications as an ACAAB and has a postgraduate education to PhD (four-year, full-time) level in a behavioral science or a DVM or VMD degree with a behavioral residency. Has published articles in scientific journals. Has two to five years professional experience in applied animal behavior and has met standards of course work and experience for certification as set forth by the ABS. ACAAB/CAAB website
Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)
Has 300 hours experience in dog training within the last five years. Seventy-five percent of experience must be actual teaching (group class, private lessons) as a Head Trainer or Instructor. Twenty-five percent of experience can be in a related area, such as working with shelter animals, assisting in classes, or working as a veterinary technician or groomer. Has completed a Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) examination. CCPDT/CBCC website
Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CCBC-KA)
Has 500 hours experience in canine behavior consulting within the previous five years or a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in psychology, social work, a biological sciences field, or a life sciences field with 300 hours in canine behavior consulting within the previous three years. Has completed a CCPDT examination. CPDT/CBCC website
Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB)
Is a veterinarian who has completed a behavioral internship or residency and a supervised behavioral case load of 200 cases. Has published one article in a scientific journal and written three peer-reviewed case reports. Has completed a two-day comprehensive examination. DACVB website
Independent Organizations with Certified Professional Members
- Animal Behavior Society (ABS)
- Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
- National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI)
Lynne Gilbert-Norton, PhD