There are many different types of certifications, and not all are created equal! It can be very confusing, trying to decide which trainer to go with. ABS, IAABC, CCPDT...what do all those letters even mean?
We've listed a few of our recommendations below, and for a quick helpful overview, we suggest you read this.
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) offers two canine-focused certification levels:
Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC) and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC).
Continuing education hours are required to keep a trainer’s certification current.
ACDBC requirements include at least 300 completed hours of animal behavior consulting with clients, 150 hours of education, two case studies, species-specific knowledge, assessment skills, and letters of recommendation.
CDBC requirements include three years (500 hours) of animal behavior consulting with clients, 400 hours of education, three written case studies, discussion of four case scenarios, questions relating to species-specific knowledge and assessment skills, and letters of recommendation.
Generally, CAPDT members believe in humane, effective and evidence-based training.
This approach is similar to that described by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) whose veterinarians that specialize in animal behaviour advocate for making sure dogs are able to learn (are well and have good exercise, nutrition, sleep and water) and teaching dogs through the reinforcement of desired behaviours and the removal of reinforcement for undesired behaviours.
They work hard to avoid training methods that cause short or long lasting pain, discomfort or fear.
These training methods can be dangerous to people as well as animals and can pose a threat to a dog's health and welfare by inhibiting learning, increasing behaviours related to fear and distress, causing direct injury and harming the relationship between human and dog.
The CCPDT is a leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices.
The designations are:
CPDT-KA®, CPDT-KSA®, CBCC-KA®.
CPDT-KA® indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and has at least 300 hours of dog training experience.
CPDT-KSA® indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and an objective skills-based assessment along with at least 300 hours of dog training experience.
CBCC-KA® indicates that a dog behavior consultant has passed a comprehensive exam on behavior modification and has at least 300 hours of of dog behavior consulting experience.