Animal Behaviorist The decision to become a certified dog trainer is a dream shared by many dog lovers across the country. Upon earning a dog training certification, individuals can show future employers their sincerity and dedication to the profession. From entry level to skilled veterinarian, dog trainers of all skill and education levels can certify through some of the top certification bodies in the nation to further their dog training careers. Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is one of the nation’s premier certifying agencies. Created in 2001, the CCPDT program was the first national dog training certification available in the country. Since its inception, the CCPDT has grown its available certifications for dog trainers, offering knowledge- and skill-based exams that cover a wide spectrum of animal training and behavior. CCPDT offers various certifications that provide name brand recognition, making this organization widely accepted among employers who are looking to hire a certified dog trainer. In order to maintain the specific designations and certifications offered by the CCPDT, individuals must earn continuing education units in the dog training field. Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed The purpose of the Certified Behavior Consultant Canine certification is to promote safe and effective dog behavior consultations, whether it is obedience training classes or individual dog behavior meetings. Before an individual can take the Certified Behavior Consultant Canine certification, the applicant must meet the following criteria: Three hundred hours of documented canine behavior consulting A GED or high school diploma A signed copy of the CCPDT Code of Ethics A signed attestation statement from a CCPDT certificant Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed As the general dog training certification offered by CCPDT, the Certified Professional Dog Trainer program helps professionals show their dog training abilities to potential employers. The Knowledge Assessed, or -KA, certification was developed to test the knowledge deemed necessary to become a successful entry-level dog trainer. This certification allows individuals just starting out as dog trainers to prove their grasp and understanding of dog training techniques. The Knowledge and Skills Assessed, or -KSA, certification is designed for dog trainers looking for the next level of certification. The Knowledge and Skills Assessed exam involves the demonstration of proper dog training techniques to a panel of instructors. Individuals need to show they have the skills necessary to teach other individuals how to train animals successfully. According to a September 2012 report issued by the CCPDT, the current pass rate for the Knowledge Assessed exam is 86 percent. As of December 2011, the Knowledge and Skills Assessed certification holds a pass rate of 69 percent. Animal Behavior Society Being a non-profit scientific society, the Animal Behavior Society (ABS) was born from a group of individuals dedicated to the study of animal behavior. As the Animal Behavior Society has grown and evolved from its humble roots, the core mission of promoting the study of animal behavior has never been forgotten. While the Animal Behavior Society consists of members from all around the world, the majority of the members live in South, Central, and North America. Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Before an individual can take the Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist certification, the applicant must meet several endorsement, experience, and educational requirements. Education: The individual must have a master’s degree with an emphasis in animal behavior from an accredited university. The degree must have a minimum of 30 semester credits in behavioral science courses and a research based thesis. Experience: The applicant must have a minimum of two years of experience in applied animal behavior in a professional setting. Based on experience, individuals must be able to demonstrate their ability to perform professionally and independently. Endorsement: The individual must present a minimum of three letters of endorsements, with at least one letter being from a certified ABS member. International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Founded in 2004, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) was the brainchild of a group of animal behaviorists who recognized the growing practice of helping the public with companion animal behavior problems. In an effort to standardize the animal behavior field, IAABC developed certifications for animal behaviorists, such as dog trainers. Most IAABC certifications revolve around the desire to maximize positive reinforcement and minimize negative stimuli for modifying animal behavior. The IAABC welcomes all animal behaviorists who believe in this form of behavior modification. Associated Certified Dog Behavior Consultant The requirements to become an Associated Certified Dog Behavior Consultant of the IAABC include the following areas: A minimum of 300 documented hours of dog behavior consulting with the owner. A minimum of 150 hours of mentorship, seminars, or coursework that relates to the Core Areas of Competency. Three applicable animal behaviorist case studies. A GED or high school diploma. Three emailed reference letters, including one letter from a veterinarian, one from a colleague, and one from a client. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists Developed as a professional organization for veterinarians, the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) only accepts veterinarians who are board certified in the field of Veterinary Behavior. Those who are accepted into the ACVB are known as diplomates. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists To obtain the Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists designation, individuals must already hold their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and have passed all applicable exams. To become a Diplomate, dog trainers must show proof of the following: A minimum of three years additional training in a Veterinary Behavior program through a recognized training program. A research project in the field of animal behavior that was authored and published by the applicant. Successful completion of a two-day examination proctored by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. The choices for becoming a certified dog trainer are prevalent, with many options available to animal behaviorists of all education levels. Dog training certifications help individuals prove their dedication and knowledge to future employers, providing them with job stability and a competitive edge.