Accreditation in the Pet Behaviour industry
What do the acronyms mean, and who should I trust?
I am currently a provisional member of both the APBC and FABC, working toward final assessment for the Clinical Animal Behaviourist criteria under the ABTC guidelines through ASAB. I can be found on candidate registers for the APBC and FABC.
In short, dog trainers train dogs to perform (or cease) certain behaviours, and work within the realm of 'normal' healthy behaviour. If your pet displays a severe behaviour problem, a behaviourist must diagnose and treat these.
In the UK, there is little regulation around who can call themselves an animal 'trainer' or 'behaviourist', or what experience and qualifications they need to have achieved to do so. This means any Tom, Dick or Harry can work with you and your pet, possibly with questionable experience, and they may use outdated training methods. As aversive methods can harm your pet and exacerbate problem behaviours, this must be avoided. But how should you select a trainer or behaviourist?
In 2010, the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) was set up to help you answer this quetsion, co-ordinating regulation of those training and modifying the behaviour of your pets in the UK; trainers and behaviourists. The ABTC is a professional body which sets out the educational and practical requirements individuals must meet to be called 'behaviourists' or 'animal trainers'. Organisations registered with the ABTC assess their members and ensure they adhere to the most rigorous & specific standards in the UK. In fact, Veterinary Professionals are advised to only refer clients to trainers or behaviourits who are members of an organisation regulated by ABTC standards. The Veterinary Times article on veterinary referrals can be found here. With ABTC registered clinicians, you get the Crème de la crème .
But, which organisations are ABTC members? See my infographic below to help.