Talk:Dog behaviourist

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k9 dogs[edit]

I don't understand the reversion from "K9 dog trainers, who use" to "K9 Dogs, who uses". If it's referring to police dog trainers, it shd be "K9 dog trainers"--mmm, sorry, shd be [[police dog|K-9 dog]] trainers, and hence plural. If it's a reference to some other organization, I'm not familiar with it--like a police dog training academy or what? Elf | Talk 01:17, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Definition of dog behaviorist[edit]

In my experience, this description " is a generic term for any professional who works towards modifying and managing the behaviour of dogs and behaviour problems such as aggression, separation anxiety, fears and phobias and obsessive compulsive behaviors." (which was just removed in favor of "the difference between a trainer and behaviorist is academic qualification") is a much more accurate one. It might be true that one or two organizations are attempting to come up with a standard that requires someone to have a degree in veterniary medicine to become certified through their organization, but most dog behaviorists whom I have encountered are far and above the standard dog trainer in their ability to solve problems with dogs, and not all of them have a special college degree; by far the largest component of a good dog behaviorist is experience.

Can the user who keeps putting back the very narrow definition please explain? Elf | Talk 08:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The standard definition of a dog trainer is someone who teaches obedience commands such as Stay, Come, Heel and maybe even deals with puppy issues such as housebreaking. The standard definition of a dog behaviorist is someone who does not teach obedience commands, but rather deals solely with behavioral issues such as aggression, anxiety, and food or counter stealing to name just a few. Some behaviorists even have a degree in animal science. - Kathy Santo Oogles 19:13, 16 May 2006 (UTC)


This is a self-promotion definition of a fake organization with no members and it should be erased. You are the one misleading the public with your narrow definition. A behaviourist is a person that has some sort of academic degree. You said: "in my experience", well that does not qualify you to "create" a definition from the air, unless you can prove that you have an academic degree. What are your qualifications? From what I read in your site, you have no creadentials. Again, a behaviourist is not a dog trainer nor a whisperer. Cesar Millan was a groomer who in 1999 was calling different dog trainers in Los Angeles area because he wanted to become a trainer. He doesn't have 20 years plus of experience. He then hired a PR company (Jazzmyne PR, 2001) and they made up his background. He got lucky and hit the newspapers in 2001 thanks to the PR company, not to his experience. He only belongs to one organization that was founded by the manufacturers of electric collars and fences (dogpro), did you know that? He has been rejected by the APDT because of the usage of harsh methods. What you see on TV is edited video... Wake up! What you see on TV is not what is scientific.

You seem to be confusing two different editors. I am not promoting anything, but in my experience with solving problems with my dogs over the years through various professionals including the SPCA, a dog behaviorist is not inherently someone with a special degree, but someone with special skills in diagnosing and solving behavioral issues with dogs. Unlike "veterinarian", there is no requirement for a degree in anything. It seems to me that promoting that is promoting someone else's agenda, not the real world. I can easily see removing a specific name from the article and in fact will do so, but your narrow definition doesn't seem to fit most dog behaviorists that I've encountered. However, I will concede that I don't ask about academic degrees--I ask about experience and references and such. I will try contacting the local SPCA for more info. Elf | Talk 15:32, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Response to Response This is absolute rubbish, firstly the organisation you are claiming is fake has recently added a website members are joining all the time, and some are published on the site. As it develops more will. They offer something others don’t, continuing development.

I wrote this article not elf, he asked a valid question since it has been published people like you have jumped on the band wagon. It wasn’t written to decry any one faction of this profession. But it would seem that a bunch of elitists wish to hijack it. The spirit of this article stands behaviourists come from all walks and all levels of education.

I know from experience that a dog behaviourist is not someone with a degree but that it can include this group, they are people who through skill, experience, research and in my case through formal study are able to assist in modifying behaviour. To suggest that you need a degree is insulting as most behaviourists with degrees seem to be cocky enough to think they know it all and don't bother with further research or study. Look at the APBC they teach one thing and promote another, one of their own top members is still spouting on about pack theory yet this is publicly decried by the rest. Is she wrong? Diversity is about accepting we have differences of opinions. So no I don’t think so. I don’t use this theory, its full of holes but has merits as well.

You seem to be very angry as a person I suggest you curb this before dealing with dogs, as they pick up on anger very quickly. This article is correct, some of the best behaviourists are empirical in nature and do not hold degrees, there are more out there who don’t than those who do hold degrees and they are paving the way. This is why PAACT has had so much interest; they recognise that diversity is important. Paulieraw

More editing discussion[edit]

I've removed some things like "hence behaviourist who are mobile and often far more effective than office bound practices" which is a blanket statement that I doubt can be proven; they might be more effective for certain types of issues, but for other types of issues someone who has an offsite working location or office might be far more effective. I've removed specific names from the body of the article because it's not clear that they are anything like typical behaviorists or trainers--they seem to be mostly TV personalities, which might be worth something but not a primary mention as examples of typical dog behaviorists. Note that I added links that have nothing to do with specific organizations to get outside opinions, please don't do blanket reverts like that. I did connect with a humane society behaviorist who said that academic background is important in becoming a behaviorist, but I'm sure that there are individuals who don't work for the SPCA or Humane Society who call themselves behaviorists anyway. Still, browsing as many humane society type links as I could find and job descriptions, they all seem to want specific training and certification. The article needs to reflect this and I have attempted to do so. Elf | Talk 20:21, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

And, by the way, personal attacks and insults at any level are right out as standard methods of discussion at Wikipedia. So please refrain and stick to a discussion of verifiable facts. Thanks. Elf | Talk 20:26, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Mobile Behaviourists / Fiat Experiene

Any real dog behaviorist knows a mobile actor is far more effective than an office bound 'trainer'. No effective work can be done on behavior that is not in evidence to the behaviourist ! Once the trouble is defined by the professional, only then can the consideration of off-site work be made. The 'walks' Cesar takes is exactly that type of evaluation before off-site action.

An even better behaviorist realizes Cesar has 'intimidation advantage' just by having a film crew there repeating the dogs name frequently -- enter submissive mode. What a racket !

I have 12 years experience with literally thousands of dogs and their owners. Without degree or training my demonstrated ability earned me one of the most prestigous placements in the professional dog world, that of a Race Judge on the Iditarod. This is a Post with world-wide selection pool, chosen by some of the greatest dog professionals in existance. I was also Race Marshall and founder of other major races.

As a professional dogmusher I know pack mentality behavior modification more than any 'mere trainer' I have ever met, and I totally agree with the concept. As a dogsled tour guide I understand how humans interface with that pack. When you train someone to mush, you train them to handle up to 20 dogs at a time. What 'trainer' practices such intense behavior modification in humans and dogs both ? Many of my techniques are original.

It's often asked what an Iditarod Judge actually judges... the answer is CHARACTER, of dog and human both.

My clients are very happy to judge me on my qualifications and they don't even think of a 'degree' once they hear them. Placing such demands on the profession come from those hoping to provide shelter and comfort to those who do not have Fiat experiences from which to draw from. It's said those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach. The best teachers are those who have DONE before they teach. Many are convinced a piece of paper is the highest badge of learning because of the 'doctor/lawyer' model.

I think raising a thousand dogs to perform in wilderness is a far better measure of skill. The very best behaviorists realize what you learn in a sled dog fits the city couch puppy just as well. Dogs are dogs.... the problem lies with the people. I 'mush' people !

The possibility that I might not be considered a professional dog behaviorist simply because I didn't submit to someone elses theory.... well, that just gets my hair up.

I must be an alpha female -- BTW, they make the best lead dogs !!! Alaskagrrl 18:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Yet More editing discussion[edit]

Okay first let me take your last point, where are there personal attacks? Everything stated here is kept as a debate and debate can be honest, it may not be pleasant but nothing is made up, check these facts out for yourself. Be impartial or do not edit. Opinonated edit is the worst kind it belongs in the tabloids.

Next, let me ask why you chose to use SPCA or the Humane Society, both your links are un-representative and clearly lean towards opinion. As a friend once said to me "95% of statistics are made up on the spot" I hope the irony is not lost on you.

Look at The APDT in the UK and then in the USA you will find hundreds of members who call themselves behaviourists, are they wrong? If you think so then I think your editorial efforts are lost and Wikiopedia will eventually lose its credibility. These behaviourists outnumber the academics by 10 to 1. By popular numbers alone this discredits your suggestions. Normality is judged by the masses, not by individuals.

Those Behaviourists whom you call TV personalities, are so because of their effectiveness. Behaviour and modification is not just about academic endeavour its about a tertiary understanding of dogs and that comes from empirical evidence.

Would you call in a scientists to fix your pipes? No! you would call a plumber, the scientist may develop the materials that the plumber works with, but they couldnt fix your toilet, many may have difficulties flushing one.

Dog behaviour is an empirical skill, spend 20 years in university become a professor of behavioural studies and it doesn't make you a dog behaviourist because behaviourists work hand in paw with dogs, and a degree or doctorate will only take you part of the way on this journey.

The rubbish about Cesar Millan who wanted to be a dog trainer and hired a PR firm, how much do wannabe dog trainers earn? He is popular because he is effective and he gets the job done, there will always be someone who tries to bring down a success. Jealousy is such a strong emotion. he may have questionable techniques, but who is it that questions them?

Would you suggest Patrick Moore is not an astronomer? he is possibly the most well known in the UK ask 100 people and his name will be number one on your list. He is not a trained astronomer he is by definition an amateur. In the behavioural world its the people who come out of university with a degree in zoology then claim to be a dog behaviourist who are the amateurs, most have never owned a dog many have no idea how they behave until they get bitten. No I assure you in the behavioural world over 70% and probably more of the practising behaviourists hold no more than a certificate in dog behaviour, that has no real standing and many hold no qualifications.

I am a behaviourist, I hold a doctorate in educational philosophy, I am a qualified adult educator and I also hold qualifications in canine care and behaviour, I am at present well into a zoology course. If there is one thing I know from my qualifications, its that they give me an academic edge but matter not a whit when it comes to dealing with real people and real animals. You don't need a degree to be an observer of behaviour.

Its my skill with people and dogs that make me an expert, not a degree or my doctorate.

So please, when you edit use your empirical skills, if you dont have any. leave it to someone who does. Pauliraw

Yet More editing discussion[edit]

Ok, Paul. You got 6 members in your organization. APDT in the US has 5,000 plus. Who is right? As I said before, I checked your background and you don't have any credentials, there is no need for you to lie about having a PhD. This is not a personal attack, it is reality. Don't rush now to make changes to your site and lie saying that you have a PhD., the internet keeps track of everything you do.

Try over 70 members in my organisation, all who are communicating with each other for the benifit of their own development and to better the profession. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:43, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Yet More More editing discussion[edit]

I am a member of the APDT in the US, I am also a memeber of PAACT when the APDT started it also had a few members,and just today several APDT memebers joined, their reason, you will have to ask them...

PAACT is here to stay, you pay your money and then get a whole lot more, hey we even talk to each other, and the more who join the more who talk. Talk, you do know what that is right?

I took my Phd off the web as I dont use it for behaviour work. So you should be able to find it if your that sad and lonely and I suspect you are. I notice you come here with no identity, that about sums you up. a nobody trying to be a somebody, rush of now to put your name on, it won't change your lack of identity as the internet doesn't forget. I also notice that you didn't put a description or article on about dog behaviour, just winged when someone else did. Thats life there are doer's and those who sit on the sidelines, I'm a doer and clearly your not. So here is the mantle, come up with something to back up your statements not unsuported facts but something with substance.

Also of the 5000 plus members in the APDT how many have a degree? You brought it up so now do a bit of research. just to help you a little this is quote from your favourite doggie association, "APDT does not necessarily ensure all members employ similar training methods, nor does the Association set standards of skill or competence. "

I rest my case.


PS claiming to have Doctorate when you don't is illegal both in the The UK and US, as I claim to have one you have all the amunititon you need to follow this have my blessing, go ahead.

Personal response to debate[edit]

I have several points. First, the policy, or rather, guideline of Wikipedia is not to post what you BELIEVE to be true, but rather, what the common belief is. And since there is no common criteria of what qualifies as a dog behaviourist, you shoud post this; not what you BELIEVE should qualify as a dog behaviourist. Most people do not set a criteria for what a dog behaviourist must go through to become one, unlike you; there are no established set of criterias. Second, you cite Cesar Millan as having little to no experience, no academic degrees, etc., and yet, based on video evidence, clearly, his methods work -- so citing Millan is detrimental to your case, since Millan lacks what you require as a criteria for a true dog behaviourist, but is probably more effective than a lot of other "qualified" trainers/behaviourists. Your point about the video being edited is pointless; I'm a video editor, and although you can do a lot with editing, you can't create something out of the blue -- at least, not to a degree where one would believe it. You can't make magic happen. Another thing; they don't call Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer because he "whispers" to dogs, or has some kind of telepathic communication or supernatural 6th sense thing going on -- he's just a very good behaviourist, with the ability to "read" a dog.

Well said

Sources refer to Cesar Millan as a "renowned dog behaviorist". That's all that matters, what sources say, not editors opinions. Here are just a few sources: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4][5] HGB 19:50, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Recent Vandalism[edit]

Seeing as the Vandal (s/he tends to change Cesar Millan related articles) has multiple IP's, possibly due to access to a high school library or something similar, here is a list of the IP's s/he has used:

Possible vandals (could be same person), maybe as a result of "sock puppeting":

This vandal has also removed / cencored information provided from some Users in the Discussions of the said articles. Dude hates Cesar Millan, but is too insecure to explain why (I have a hunch it is the person who started a debate earlier, which could be found in this same discussion-forum).

Assuming good faith, if the IPs are connected to the same person; I don't doubt that the person believes his or her efforts are bettering the community (in the debate above, s/he expresses frustration towards people who claim to be behaviourists, but without a degree or some type of "background" to back it up), however, you need to first discuss your motivations, and have it be RESOLVED. Cencoring others is NOT the way to go. If you personally feel that your actions are RIGHT; then, there should be no fear of discussing it with others -- in other words, if you are right, than you should be able to convince us of that.

Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan sued by pet owner[edit]


I have personally added Cesar Millan's lawsuit in both of his articles. In other words; I ALREADY KNEW OF THESE LAWSUITS. There is no need to add the full text here in the Discussions. Both articles are ALREADY linked in appropriate articles BY ME. I repeat; BY ME; yesterday. BY ME. Fuckers.

The second lawsuit; or rather, the first lawsuit, which accuses Millan of Breach of Contract claims that he stole the Dog Whisperer name. Does not argue for or against Millan; or whether or not he is worthy of the title "dog behaviourist". So; the point of adding that text here is mute. In the entertainment industry; people get sued all over the fucking place.

The first lawsuit, which claims that Cesar's Psychology Center created severe wounds to a Lab. It DID NOT STATE whether or not it was Cesar himself, or his workers. Although it could be argued that these articles / lawsuits serve to show that Cesar is perhaps a "careless" or "bad" dog behaviourist; SINCE THERE IS NO FUCKING CRITERIA that exists that deems someone a dog-behaviourists, the articles SHOULD ALL FUCKING REFLECT THAT.

So; stop changing the articles; or I will have YOU (yes, you) warned or blocked; or the articles related to Millan locked to Users only (I will be glad to get a username). Of course; none of this will have to happen if you FUCKING REASON with me why you keep FUCKING CHANGING THE ARTICLES! Again, I repeat; if you honestly believe that what you are saying is RIGHT; than you should be man enough to debate it openly. If you continue to vandalise articles senselessly, I WILL report this (actually, I'll report this right now, but it's merely a warning). And if someone feels offended by the excessive use of curse-words; it's for legal reasons; it's probably better that I call the guy a Fucker than a Liar; "liar" would more likely result in lawsuits, as it makes an assumption and discredits the liar's credibility.... Whoops. 23:13, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


This site has a good discussion. The guy that loves the F word needs some rehabilitation by Cesar. I don't think anybody can reason with a person like that. Go Cesar!, this guy really needs help...

If you personally ask me (in a cordial manner), I believe that Cesar Millan is not a behaviorist. He is a dog expert.

Behaviorist according to the American Heritage dictionary of the English Language, is a psychologist (meaning a person with a PhD.) that subscribes to behaviorism. Behaviorism is a branch of psychology that bases its observations and conclusions on definable and measurable behavior and on experimental methods, rather than on concept of "mind." Comparative psychology is a branch of psychology concerned with the study and comparison of the behavior of organisms at different levels of phylogenic development to discover developmental trends.

Animal behaviorists are not only trained in comparative psychology but also in biology. A dog is an animal, therefore a dog behaviorist is a person with a PhD in comparative psychology or animal behavior who specializes in dogs. Cesar Millan is not a researcher nor an academic and does not subscribe to behaviorism.

My last point: I know by now that you are a great fan of Milan, however I choose to get my definitions from real sources such as books, academics and peer reviewed papers.

Good luck with your free source of information... From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Wikipedia has been criticized for a perceived lack of reliability, comprehensiveness, and authority. It is considered to have no or limited utility as a reference work among many librarians, academics, and the editors of more formally written encyclopedias. Many university lecturers discourage their students from using this encyclopedia as a reference in academic work, preferring primary sources instead.[26]

Well, I was kind of frustrated at the time; but it was more out of humour. I don't know, I felt I was kind of joking -- surprised you couldn't see that; sort of like how Pen and Teller from Bullshit! keeps dropping the f-bomb -- which is what I was doing; trying to knock some sense into the vandalist.
I see your argument. But the difference is; as I believe it (please correct me if I'm wrong), a psychologist could only call him/herself one if s/he has something like a PhD. Isn't that a requirement? If I was to claim that I am a human psychologist; I may get sued, because I don't have the credentials or whatever. Now; this isn't the case for dog behaviourists; a dog behaviourist does not need that requirement. Like it or not; I can claim myself to be one right here right now; and you wouldn't know better. Not saying it's necessarilly right; but that's how it is. It's up to the dog owners to figure out if this behaviourist is a "good" one.
You could note in this article what I've mentioned; but I don't believe you can state that a dog behaviourists need a PhD. According to who? For a human psychologist; you can make this statement, and then, you would say that's an accordance to _____.
But hey; I do like your personal definition of a "true" behaviourist. I suggest you pitch that to the gov. or something. For now, if Cesar Millan wants to be called a dog behaviourist; than he is a dog behaviourist. 02:23, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes. You can be a dog behaviorist without any credentials. You can be a dog trainer without any credentials. You can be a dog groomer without any credentials. You can be a dog walker without any credentials. You cannot be a dog doctor (Veterinarian) without any credentials. Also experience does not mean professional experience. Someone who has been a bus driver for 20 years can easily have 20 years of experience as a dog trainer. Even if they are his own dogs. Their campaign is clearly targeted at Cesar, as there are thousands[6] if not more who are considered dog behaviorists who do not possess a degree. A trainer trains a behaviorist deals with behavior. It is not his personal nor my personal opinion. It is a fact. Oogles 19:32, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

I started this article and I am a dog behaviorist, I have qualifications gained from study both in and out of college, I am also a teacher, I know a teacher without a subject is still a teacher, but they cannot teach anything, even though they know how to teach. A behaviorist without empirical experience is not a behaviorist simply because he has a doctorate to say so. Behaviorism may be defined in your references and you may knock this form of reference because someone told you it was not reliable, science is not reliable it is evolving all the time as old theories ebb and fade, in reality any published work can be referenced, provided it is used in an appropriate manner, so for example you may quote Doglistener (Stan Rawlinson) as he is well published, but you don’t need to agree with him provided you can find evidence to dispute his work and then your opinion won’t matter, the way you appraise the two references showing an understanding of your subject will. So it is with your OPINION on behaviorist. One reference and our opinion isn't enough, you have shown nothing to dispute the observation that Cesar Millan is a behaviorist, simply a reference that gives a definition that is different from your understanding of his work. The author has shown many references that state Cesar Millan is a dog behaviorist, you have shown a definition which by definition is singular.

Your correct there is a level of discussion going on here and its weighted against your opinion. Go to the article and read the link on philosophy. Incidentally teachers deal with behaviour, education is about behavioral change, they talk about entry and exit behaviour does this make them behaviorists’? After all they study human psychology as part of their training.

Paul R

To Cesar Millan Gate Keepers[edit]

You can edit as much as you can in this so-called encyclopedia, but you cannot hide the truth from the news articles, associations, websites and forums against Cesar Millan. Have fun, nobody with intellect uses this place as a source of information. And FYI, the South Park episode was a satirical criticism of Cesar's approach, nothing to be proud of. They really nailed him.

You obviously have a little mission going for you. Unfortunately, the only one who finds this amusing is yourself. It has nothing to do with supportrs or being proud or ashamed of anything. It has to do with facts. If you want a mission, I would suggest volunteering at a local cause, instead of expending all your energy and sockpuppets so devoted to one man on a site that you indicate is for those of low intellect. And IMO the SP episode had more to do with treating a child like a dog, which was funny. But, I guess you saw it as being against Cesar. Evident by your countless edits of the same thing, dozens, over 4 Cesar pages using numerous IDs. Oogles 05:19, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Strange little man[edit]

The strange thing is, your here in this so-called encyclopedia, fighting your little cause against your opinion, well in the world of opinion none is a strong as the weight of numbers. You seem to be on your own here and your view is weak and ill informed, this article was not written to promote Cesar Millan but used him as a point to demonstrate that behaviourists come from all backgrounds mostly training. South Park also sent up the President of the USA are you saying that he really isnt a president because of this?

Those who want to watch his campaign and guard against his constant vandalism, watch the following pages: dog aggression Cesar Millan Dog Whisperer and this page Dog behaviourist All his edits and all his contributions are in a campaign against Cesar, can see it in talk too when he goes off the deep end more than once. Note that he has numerous logins, however. Oogles 22:37, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Whats your deal[edit]

You can edit as much as you can in this so-called encyclopedia, but you cannot hide the truth from the news articles, associations, websites and forums against Cesar Millan.

Associations, websites, and forums against Millan? Where did you get this from? You're the only person I know of who has this campaign against him. Is there some kind of forum dedicated to taking him down or something that I'm not aware of? Show me the links!

Have fun, nobody with intellect uses this place as a source of information.

Hey, c'mon. It's a Wiki for cryin' out loud. Give us a break. No, Really.

And FYI, the South Park episode was a satirical criticism of Cesar's approach, nothing to be proud of. They really nailed him.

You sure it isn't your bias against him that's clouding your judgement? If it was criticism, it would have shown that his techniques would have failed in the end -- sort of like how they ridiculed the super Nanny's; which had no effect at all. In the end, Cartman does go back to being bad, but as a result of his mom needing to spoil him and needing a companion (because Cesar left). It was a criticism on some parents who spoil their children and treat them like friends, instead of a son-mother relationship first -- which is what Cesar Millan warns against; to treat your dogs like dogs first, and THEN friends.
And what's your deal anyway? Were you once a victim of a poor dog behaviourist, and now you feel you need to protect the public by somehow showing that Cesar Millan isn't a real behaviourist? What's your problem? I mean, maybe if your were to go on a campaign against life coachers or something; then you'd have a case. And why do you feel you need to edit these Wiki articles so bad? We've offered your our reasons why this article needs to remain NPOV; but you seem to want to add your own bias to it. 20:28, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Animal Behavorist[edit]

There is really only one credible organization that certifies animal behavorists. That is The Animal Behavior Society. Below is some information from its' website. I added this information to Ceser Millian's wiki entry and Talk, due to the linking of the term "dog behaviorist" here. The term "dog behaviorist" is used by people not certified by the ABS, and is frequently used by dog walkers, groomers, trainers and "whisperers".

What is Applied Animal Behavior?

The field of Applied Animal Behavior specializes in the behaviour of companion animals in relation to behavioural problems and training, the behaviour of farm, zoo and laboratory animals (i.e animal management and welfare) and studies of the behaviour of wild animals when these studies are relevant from an applied perspective, (i.e. wildlife management, pest management or nature conservation) as well as methodological studies.

Animal behaviorists are often educated in a variety of disciplines, including psychology biology, zoology or animal science. A professional applied animal behaviorist has demonstrated expertise in theprinciples of animal behavior, in the research methods of animal behavior, in the application of animal behavior principles to applied behavior problems and in the dissemination of knowledge about animal behavior through teaching and research.

How does one become certified?


Prepared for the ABS Board of Professional Certification, August, 1990. (Revised Jan 2002)


The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) is the leading professional organization in North America for

the study of animal behavior. The Society recognizes that animal-oriented groups or agencies,

businesses, and the general public seek professional advice about the animal behavior in general or

about behavioral problems of animals. Certification is the means by which the ABS demonstrates to the

public that certain individuals meet the minimum standards of education, experience and ethics required

of a professional applied animal behaviorist as set forth by the Society.

Animal behaviorists can be educated in a variety of disciplines, including psychology biology,

zoology or animal science. A professional applied animal behaviorist has demonstrated expertise in the

principles of animal behavior, in the research methods of animal behavior, in the application of animal

behavior principles to applied behavior problems and in the dissemination of knowledge about animal

behavior through teaching and research.

Certification constitutes recognition by the Animal Behavior Society that, to its best knowledge,

the certificant meets the educational, experiental and ethical standards required by the Society for

professional applied animal behaviorists. Certification does not constitute a guarantee that the applicant

meets a specific standard of competence or possesses specific knowledge.


Certification is beneficial to anyone who consults with the public or with other professionals about

the applications of animal behavior knowledge or about specific behavioral problems of animals.

Examples are persons working in a clinical animal behavior setting (i.e., involving the diagnosis and

treatment of animal behavior problems), and those consulting with agricultural interests, zoos, research

institutions or governmental agencies about the behavior or behavior problems of wild or domestic

animals. By consulting with a certified professional applied animal behaviorist, the client can be assured

of the qualifications of the consultant.


There are two levels of certification: Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Applied

Animal Behaviorist. The Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist category has more rigorous educational and

experiental requirements. Requirements for both are listed below.


Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist

The successful applicant must meet requirements of education, experience and endorsement to

become certified as an Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist. Educational requirements include a

Master's Degree from an accredited college or university in a biological or behavioral science with an

emphasis in animal behavior. The degree should include a research based thesis. Undergraduate and/or

graduate coursework must include 21 semester credits in behavioral science courses

including 6 semester credits in ethology, animal behavior and/or

comparative psychology and 6 semester credits in animal learning, conditioning and or animal

psychology (e.g., experimental psychology).

Experiential requirements include a minimum of two years of professional experience in applied

animal behavior. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to perform independently and

professionally in applied animal behavior. Examples include performing independent studies, data

analysis, formulation and testing of hypotheses and professional writing. Also required is evidence of

significant experience working interactively with a particular species (such as as a researcher, research

assistant, or intern working with a certified applied animal behaviorist) prior to working independently

with the species in a clinical animal behavior setting.

Endorsement requirements include the provision of a minimum of three letters of recommendation

from regular ABS members affirming the applicant's professional experience in the areas listed above.

Only two of these letters may come from the same institution.

Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

Educational and experiental requirements include a doctoral degree from an accredited college or

university in a biological or behavioral science with an emphasis on animal behavior, including five years

of professional experience, or a doctorate from an accredited college or university in veterinary medicine

plus two years in a university-approved residency in animal behavior and three additional years of

professional experience in applied animal behavior. Any of these degrees must include the same

coursework requirements as the Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist. The successful applicant must

also demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the literature, scientific principles and principles of animal

behavior, demonstrate original contributions or original interpretations of animal behavior information

and show evidence of significant experience working interactively with a particular species as a

researcher, research assistant or intern with a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist prior to working

independently with the species in a clinical animal behavior setting.

Endorsement requirements are identical to those of the Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist.

Exceptions to any of the above requirements will be considered by the Board of Professional

Certification upon receipt of a written statement explaining why and how the intent of the educational

and experiential requirements are satisfied.

Liability Insurance.

Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists are required to maintain liability insurance, and will be asked to

provide the name of their carrier and policy number at the time of application.


The fee for the initial application for certification (for either the Associate Applied Animal Behaviorist

or the Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist) is $75 for ABS Members ($150 for Non-Members). This fee is

non-refundable. Certification is valid for five years and requires a $75 certification dues fee ($300 for

Non-Members) payable upon notification of a successful application for cerficiation. At the end of five

years, applicants must apply for recertification. The fee for recertification is $50 ($100 for

Non-Members, both non-refundable).


Certification is granted by the Board of Professional Certification (BPC) of the ABS. This body

consists of six members appointed by the President of the Animal Behavior Society who are themselves

certified and are members in good standing of the ABS. The Board meets at least annually to review

and take action on applications. Submitted applications must include a completed application form,

degree transcripts, a current resume, three reference letters and the appropriate fee.

Recertification requires completion of a recertification application, current resume, the names of

three references, and recertification fee. Degree transcripts are not required.

If an initial application for certification is denied by the BPC, an applicant may reapply. (The first

re-application does not require a fee, the second re-application and subsequent ones require either $75

or $150). Re-applications may be based on completing deficiencies specified by the BPC or on

exceptions deemed appropriate by the applicant.

I went ahead and created an organizational stub page for the Animal Behavior Society. Feel free to expand. --Elonka 12:21, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Who wrote this?, Oh it was The Animal Behavior Society, this makes it invalid as evidence about them, as they are bias in their opinions, almost as much as you, it was started by a group of elitists who wanted to remove anyone they thought did not fit in their ideal world, then so was the KKK.

However if you go to [] you will find that instead of trying to define what they think a beahviour expert should be, they are encouraging them not to sit on a qualification, but to develop continually. PR

Hate to tell you, but that certification doesn't mean anything or make those who don't have it not behaviorists. Virtually anyone can start a certification program (It's great $$, I'm sure) - but it's only real value is how other people value it. Like... You can work as a "Systems Engineer" without being certified by Microsoft as a "Systems Engineer". The fact that you do not possess Microsofts certification does not suddenly make you not a systems engineer. Nearly all fields possess 'certifications' like this, a large number of them being people shelling out cash for a line on the resume, but meaning little more than that. There is certifications for typists, too. Do you have it? No? Guess you are not a typist. There is (various) certifications for Dog Trainers too. Maybe we should post all those that he doesn't have? It's a ton of them. If you want to list this, I suggest we list all the 50+ Trainer certificates he doesn't have.
Notice the part where they also have to work as a researcher? Well, that eliminates 99% of dog behaviorists right there. The scientific part should really be under behavioral science.... 'Dog behaviorist' has a much broader field than one who has degrees in behavioral science, has been a researcher, etcetc Oogles 02:53, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

"the less formal behaviourist works.."[edit]

The sentence ''Typically the less formal behaviourist works one-on-one with the dog and its owner. implied that those who are "more formal" (certifed) do not work one on one with dogs.

They do.

Took out "less formal"

Regulation by Government be the standard?[edit]

The way I think of it is that to be a doctor or physician, and/or to practice it's techniques on people, you must acquire a liscence from the government, or else, you cannot doctor patients. Now, I'm not sure if you're still allowed to call yourself a doctor or physician, if you haven't recieved a liscence. So can a doctor still be a doctor without a liscence from the gov.? Can someone answer this?

Now, for a dog behaviourist, the government does not require you to have a liscense. So you could advertise yourself as one and practice techniques as one. To me, this seems to be that because there is no liscence required (although like the person above me has stated; you can if you want get a certification as a behaviourist), one can call himself/herself a behaviourist; even if not certified.

But shouldn't the real question be: what is the popular belief on this issue? Afterall, Wikipedia doesn't necessarilly try and include the truth; they try and include the majority view-point / belief. So what do the majority of people believe warrants as a dog behaviourist? Do you have to be certified to be a behaviourist? How do we define a dog-behaviourist; should it be based on government-regulation/lack of regulation, the ability to acquire a certification? And what about the organization that offers the certification; do they still view those WITHOUT a certification as still being dog behaviourists (albeit without the certification)? Or, since there seems to be a lot of confusion and debate on this, maybe the debate should be briefly mentioned in the article (in other words, state that generally speaking, there is no consensus over what qualifies as a behaviourist -- unless there IS a consesus outside of this DISCUSSION forum of course). I think it may be a good idea to bring this issue to an Administrator with a lot of knowlegde on the guidelines/philosophy of Wikipedia, just to be sure. 04:21, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Good question, and here's my own personal take on it: My understanding is that Wikipedia is not for posting "majority beliefs", but for including information as it is already written in outside verifiable third-party sources. See Wikipedia:Verifiability. Where there are multiple conflicting outside points of view, the general guideline on Wikipedia is to go with descriptions that are most understandable to laypeople as opposed to specialists (for example, the article on dogs is titled Dog, not the latin name of Canis lupus familiaris). See Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names). If there is considerable disagreement though about different points of view, and they are both supported by outside credible sources, then the general guideline is to include both points of view, in neutral language, which actually tends to make for a much stronger article that is shown to be representing multiple sides of a debate. See WP:NPOV. Does that help? --Elonka 19:11, 20 June 2006 (UTC)
I've always thought that the policy was general consensus; but I may be mistaken. Verifiability does seem more fitting. So all this time I've been advocating the wrong guideline? I think that third-party sources tend to believe dog behaviourists can call themselves just that, without needing some certification, etc. Honestly, I have not read enough outside sources; but I don't believe there are sources which believe the opposite. The source that was provided about indicates that the association was willing to offer certificates, but it doesn't mean that they believe that a certificate or their certificate is what qualifies a person a dog behaviourist (I could be wrong). But let's say we were to find opposing outside third-party sources (and there is no considerable disagreement that would lead to us providing both viewpoints in the article), does that mean that we choose the viewpoint that is most understandable to non-professionals? I think that both definitions/viewpoints of what defines a dog-behaviourist are simple to understand for laypeople.
Elonka, it says in your profile that you are a game designer. I haven't read the entire article on you, but have you designed any recent games for the next generation consoles? Were any of them at the e3 convention? I am also wondering if there is a close connection or relationship between game designers -- have you ever spoken to game designers like Hideo Kojima? I'm thinking of game designing as a possible carreer for myself, but should I attend a school like Digipen first? And of course I have to ask this; how's the pay? :P 06:02, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

The problem with verifiability is that it is easy to verify anything, for example the Kennel Club in the UK will register a person as a behaviourist if they prove they have the experience to be one, this means that Dr Klutz can turn up with his thesis and doctorate and still have to work 3 to 4 years to achieve UKKK acreditation, and so can you and I, you have to achieve verifiable levels of ablitiy not just knowledge and not just experience, but both, this is verifiable and it runs in the face of the earlier article on what is a behaviourist, it is open to opinion not the American behavioural association or any other organisation who define a behaviourist in their own terms as does our single minded friend. This goes back to what was mentioned popular belief, we think were sane because most of us think that way, the ones in the nut house may really be the sane ones, who knowns, but popular belief tells us they are ill and funny ond thing we can prove it, but then people who are not sane can prove anything, catch 22