What is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant?

 

A  Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) is a professional who can help  you resolve problem behaviors such as aggression and biting; anxiety  issues, including separation anxiety; inappropriate housesoiling and  incomplete housetraining; obsessive-compulsive  behaviors; food, object or place guarding; fears and phobias; and other  unruly, annoying and abnormal behaviors.  

A  Certified Dog Behavior Consultant is different than a dog trainer  because dog trainers, even ones that are Certified Pet Dog Trainers  (CPDTs), are not always qualified to deal with behavior issues such as  aggression, fears, phobias or anxiety.  Although teaching a dog  obedience behaviors like sitting on cue, not jumping on people, walking  nicely on a leash, and coming when called is highly desirable, obedience  alone will not resolve behavior issues such as fear, anxiety or  aggression.  Why?  Because behavior problems originate at the level of a  dog's emotions and obedience training reflects a more superficial,  conscious level of behaviors.
 

Because  there are no generally recognized standards for regulating dog  training, some people unfortunately claim to be "pet behavior  counselors" or "dog behaviorists" without the corresponding knowledge or  experience to help people and their pets effectively. Would you allow a  heart surgeon that was not properly board certified in their field to  operate on you?  You should be similarly cautious about choosing a pet  behavior counselor without nationally recognized credentials.  The  International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants is a  widely-recognized professional organization that certifies those able to  exhibit a rigorous standard of knowledge, experience and ethics in  their practice of animal behavior consulting (for more information, see https://iaabc.org/about).  
 

Certified Dog Behavior Consultants are required to submit written case  studies and responses to questions as well as to demonstrate competency  in six core areas, including assessment and intervention strategies,  consulting skills, knowledge of animal behavior and relevant  species-specific knowledge of healthcare, husbandry, nutrition and  behavior. In order to maintain their certification, CDBCs must stay  current in the developing science of animal behavior and consulting by  participating in coursework, attending conferences,  and participating  in seminars/webinars as well as other continuing education  opportunities. 
 

Within the purview of the IAABC, CDBCs must adopt the "Least Intrusive,  Minimally Aversive (LIMA)" principles (see the Library for a complete  statement of LIMA principles) in their work with companion animals and  strive to become a resource for the public. They assist companion  animals and their humans by interrupting and preventing the cycle of  inappropriate punishment, rejection, and euthanasia of animals due to  behavior problems.