motarboard_14356Career counseling  sessions are $100/hour, charged by the 1/4 hour. Most consultations take about half an hour, but can go longer depending on your needs and what questions you have for us. During the consult, we’ll ask you about your background, your personal and professionals goals, and your academic and professional education to date.  Based on what you tell us your goals are, we’ll give you our professional opinion about the best pathways to achieve them.

If you specifically want to know whether course work or your degree will qualify for application as an Associate or Applied Animal Behaviorist, we suggest your check with the Animal Behavior Society’s Chair of the Board of Professional Certification.  You can find who  the current chair is on the Applied Section of the Animal Behavior Society’s website.

Email us at or call our office at 303-932-9095 to schedule an appointment time

Frequently Asked Questions

Read this list of FAQs and our answers before scheduling a career counseling appointment.  You may find the information you seek here.

Who can use the professional title “Animal Behaviorist”?

There is no standard terminology for describing people who help with animal behavior problems. Titles such as animal behaviorist, applied animal behaviorist, pet behavior counselor, dog/cat/pet behavior consultant or animal behavior consultant are all used by people helping people with their pets’ behaviors. At present, there is no licensure for these titles so anyone can call themselves an animal behaviorist, etc. with no training or experience in the field.

We believe use of the professional title “behaviorist” should be reserved for those having graduate degrees in the behavioral sciences.  Non-degreed people are more appropriately referred to as consultants.   “dog behaviorist hen we use the terms “applied animal behaviorist” or “animal behaviorist” we are referring to people who have graduate degrees in animal behavior. Throughout the rest of this section we will simply talk about applied animal behaviorists (AAB).

Do Animal Behaviorists only work with companion animals?

The professional field of animal behavior is not limited to the study of companion animals. In fact, it’s been only in the past thirty years or so that professional animal behaviorists have shown greater interest in studying domestic animals.

The study of animal behavior began to be formalized in the early 1900’s.  The general study of animal behavior significantly predates its currently application to companion animals.

Most animal behaviorists teach at colleges and universities. Applied animal behaviorists take scientific knowledge about animal behavior and apply it to real-life issues. In addition to working directly with pet owners, applied animal behaviorists may work in zoos, in research laboratories to improve the quality of life of animals held there, and in animal shelters to evaluate the behavior of sheltered animals, improve their quality of life, and provide post adoption support.

How can I find graduate programs and courses in Animal Behavior?

The best place to start is with a university near you. Ask for a list of courses in zoology, biology or psychology. Look for courses in animal behavior and learning. Visit the Animal Behavior Society’s website, for a list of graduate programs in animal behavior available in North America.

You’ll need to find a graduate advisor (faculty member) who is willing to work with students who have an interest in applied animal behavior and companion animals. You may need to talk to faculty members directly.

What are the criteria for certification as an Applied Animal Behaviorist?

The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) certifies Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs). Certified behaviorists have meet all the academic, experiential, and ethical requirements set forth by the Society, including completing a master’s degree or Ph.D. degree in a behavioral science with specific courses in animal learning, ethology and behavior.  A veterinarian who has completed a conforming residency can also meet the educational criteria for certification by the ABS. Visit the Animal Behavior Society’s website to see the specific critera for certification program. Visit to see how CAABS help pets and people and work with veterinarians.

Applied Animal Behaviorists and Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists are the only certified professionals who are required to have graduate degrees in order to be certified.

Aren’t there other organizations that offer certification?

Yes.  There seems to be an “alphabet soup” of credentials available in the field of pet behavior and training these days.  Their credibility and value to both the certificant and those using their services vary dramatically.  It is to your benefit – either as a consumer or professional seeking certification – to carefully examine the criteria for certification and evaluate the entity that is offering the certification.

Private companies and training schools also offer certification programs that, for the most part, are based on successful completion of their own training programs. These types of certification programs do not have the same credibility as an independent certifying body. However, independent certifying bodies, such as professional organizations, should also have a long history of service to the field, and a strong internal structure.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field