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The IAABC and The IAABC Foundation: Sisters, Not Twins - Blog

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By Tiro Miller Miller on Jan 12, 2023, 12:00 AM

A bit of History 

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants was founded in 2004 to offer certifications for professionals working with companion animals. Our founders recognized that people who needed behavioral help for their pets were faced with a situation where anyone could call themselves a professional and make promises about their abilities with no way to tell who had the knowledge or skills to back them up. We developed a unique certification process that tested applicants’ practical reasoning as well as their knowledge of learning theory. The certification process was rigorous, and so it became a gold standard for professional animal behavior consultants all over the world. 

As the organization grew, we began to offer more than certification. Our dynamic multi-species education and yearly animal behavior conference proved very popular. A diverse community grew up through our email lists and social media groups, and we began to create more resources to share with certificants and their clients, pulling in volunteers from across the world to help us. 

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Image: No Details

A blast from the past! Old conference and membership logos

Why the Split Happened

Fast-forward 15 years, and IAABC was faced with a momentous decision. There was still no regulation for animal trainers and behavior consultants, but there was a groundswell of organizations, old and new, that offered a huge variety of certificates, certifications, and accreditations. Much more education was available, some of it excellent, but it was often out of the price range of younger and more marginalized people. IAABC wanted to continue to be a leading voice in calls for regulation for our industry, and to make our high-quality education more accessible to everyone in our industry. To accomplish this, we decided to form two separate non-profits with different 501c designations: a trade organization focused on professional membership and credentialing and a public charity with education as its mission. (next paragraph) These two types of organizations are categorized differently by the U.S. government, with different legal rights that best suit their purpose. 

As a 501c(3), the IAABC Foundation can accept donations for things like scholarships, research, dog training education for incarcerated individuals, and keeping The IAABC Foundation Journal free to read for everyone. As a 501c(6), the IAABC can participate in lobbying and help form policy around regulation for the animal training and behavior industry. 

The way that the US designates different nonprofit is very complicated, so we won’t go into it exhaustively here. The full IRS regulations can be found here

What Changed? 

The following areas that were formerly part of IAABC are now part of The IAABC Foundation: 

  • The online magazine, now called The IAABC Foundation Journal
  • All online courses, webinars, and mentorships
  • In-person events like the IAABC Foundation Conference

IAABC is still the place for:

  • All our certifications and accreditations, in English and Spanish.
  • Members of the training and behavior consulting profession who wish to network and support one another
  • A legislation committee that meets regularly to discuss the current regulatory landscape in our industry and opportunities to improve it.

There are also more social media accounts for you to follow! The IAABC and IAABC Foundation each have their own Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. (If you’ve been missing Science Says Sundays, they’re over here on the Foundation’s page!) 


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