Text size: smaller | normal | larger

Behavior Checklist Exam Is Now Live - News

Image: No Details

Published on Aug 25, 2023

The BCL Certification Exam Is Now Live

After many many months of work and collaboration with the International Working Dog Registry, we are very excited to announce the Behavior Checklist (BCL) Certification Examination is now live.

The Behavior Checklist (BCL) is a behavior scoring system used internationally by organizations breeding and / or training dogs for service and as guides.

Developed by Dr. James Serpell from the University of Pennsylvania, USA, in collaboration with multiple guide dog organizations, the BCL provides a common language and coding to describe aspects of behavior in a variety of observations from puppy test through training.

BCL data are used to identify dogs needing extra support, matching pups to handlers, tracking behavioral trends over time and to aid with genetic selection using estimated breeding values.

The BCL certification exam is a co-venture between the IAABC and The International Working Dog Registry (IWDR), a program under the International Working Dog Association (IWDA) umbrella.  The IWDR’s mission is to provide data driven genetic selection tools for informed dog breeders.

About The BCL Certification Exam

The certification exam contains a number of randomized videos in which dogs are exposed to a variety of novel experiences in a curated environment.  Some of the behaviors that are scored are

Anxiety in unfamiliar places

Fear of noises, people, dogs or underfootings

Hyper Attachment

Handling and body sensitivity

Willingness to engage

Applicants score each dog based on a standardized scoring rubric, and Pass or Fail is determined based on inter-rater reliability against gold standard scores.

Who Should Take This Exam?

This exam is available to any dog professional and is the first IAABC certification available to non-members and members alike. Dog trainers and behavior consultants will benefit from a defined and standardized scoring system to potentially help clients or working dog schools determine a dog’s suitability for further training as service dogs,  or to collaborate with breeders in determining suitability for breeding programs aiming to produce dogs that have the best chance of genetic predisposition towards desirable traits. Successful completion of the exam qualifies individuals as certified dog evaluators for service dog breeding. It is the goal of IAABC and IWDR to help recognize evaluators who can help build the working dog registry.

How to Prepare For the Exam

It’s important to note that the BCL uses a specific rubric with which to assign scores for each dog.  Applicants can access study and practice resources by creating a free account on the IWDR website here.  Resources available include a 3-part BCL webinar series, the BCL scoring form, the GDBart overview, behavior definitions, scoring and testing information, and a library of BCL behavior items and video examples.

How To Sign Up For the Exam

Any dog professional can sign up for the exam through the IAABC website. The exam is available for a $65 (USD) fee.  If unsuccessful, applicants are provided with one retry, free of charge.

To sign up visit the IAABC Website and navigate to The Behavior Checklist under the certification tab.

Return to navigation Return to main content