Professional Resources
The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

A veterinary behaviorist has a DVM, did at least one year in practice or an internship, did a residency (normally 3 years; as an exception, if they have a strong background in behavior it may only be 2 years), published a research paper in behavior, submitted case reports that passed a peer review, and passed a board exam. They also have to be a member in good standing of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

The Animal Behavior Society

A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist has a PhD in a behavior-related field, has a specified number of academic credits in various fields related to behavior, has submitted case reports that passed a review, is a member in good standing of the Animal Behavior Society, and abides by a code of ethics.

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior is a society of veterinarians (also has non-veterinary associate members) who are interested in animal behavior. Membership in that society is not a qualification. Many of the members do behavior counselling.

The Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians

The Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians is a society of veterinary technicians interested in behavior. Membership is not a qualification. The society works towards establishing an academy of veterinary behavior technician specialists.

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants promotes professionalism and continuing education in the field of animal behavior consulting. Their goal is to standardize and support the practice of animal behavior consulting. To provide quality, evidence-based education, peer and supervising mentoring, and to provide resources for pet owners needing advice. If you plan to enlist IAABC’s help, please note that there are four tiers of membership: Supporting, Affiliate, Associate Certified and Certified. Not all of the membership tiers are considered a qualification.

For Shelters, Humane Societies, and SPCAs
Open Paw

Open Paw is a revolutionary program founded in January of 2000 by Dr. Ian Dunbar and Kelly Gorman Dunbar. It is designed to help stop the surrender and euthanasia of unwanted dogs and cats through the education of people and animals. The primary goal of Open Paw is to educate animal guardians and especially people who are about to get a dog or cat.

The most unique aspect of Open Paw’s mandate is to turn every animal shelter into a pleasant, friendly, quiet place where members of the community can go to learn about animals, and about basic training and behavior. Open Paw also wants to change the way shelters are structured, so that animals learn or retain social skills, house training, and basic manners while they are in the shelter. With the Open Paw program, pets leave the shelter better able to live successfully in a new home.

An Open Paw shelter is one where all is quiet and it smells good. The dogs are peacefully lounging on beds chewing away on delectable food-stuffed chew toys. The cats are either curled up in beds on elevated platforms or batting at dangling catnip toys. Volunteers are busy training dogs and cats throughout the facility.

This is a shelter where people come for miles, clamoring to adopt the friendly, well-trained residents. These are cats and dogs that will easily settle into their new, permanent homes. This is a shelter where everyone that walks in, walks out just a little bit smarter, more aware of their animal companion’s needs. And, this is why we love Open Paw and encourages any shelter worker to learn more about the this program.