Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get help with my dog, cat, parrot, or horse?
If your dog, cat, parrot or horse is behaving in a worrying, inappropriate or challenging way, you can seek help from an IAABC Certified or Associate Certified Behavior Consultant in your area. Visit our Consultant Locator to find one. Some consultants also provide remote consults—if you cannot find a consultant in your area, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's a behavior consultant?
Behavior consultants are experts in the management, modification and prevention of problem behaviors in their chosen species of animal. 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 certified and associate certified behavior consultants work with dogs, cats, parrots, and horses. For a detailed description of the difference between a behavior consultant and a trainer, read our article here.
How do I become a certified behavior consultant?
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 professional cat, horse, dog, or parrot behavior consultants who can demonstrate that they have the right level of knowledge and skills to be successful in their work. Certified professionals have fulfilled all the requirements in our application process.
Where can I find courses or programs to teach me what I need to know to become a certified behavior consultant?
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 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.
Is the IAABC a school?
No. The IAABC is a professional organization for animal behavior consultants. We offer certification and education in the field of animal behavior consulting, but not school or college credit.
How do I join the IAABC?
Anyone can join IAABC as a Supporting member: we welcome anyone who shares our values and wants to help us grow. Click here to join as a Supporting member.
We award certification to professional animal behavior consultants 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.
What are the benefits of joining IAABC?
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 saving money on our courses and through our supporting organizations. We have an active email list for each Division, and a Facebook group. 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 they 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.
What do you believe in?
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.