What is Applied Animal Behavior?

The field of Applied Animal Behavior specializes in the behavior of companion animals in relation to behavioral problems and training, the behavior of farm, zoo and laboratory animals (i.e. animal management and welfare) and studies of the behavior of wild animals when these studies are relevant from an applied perspective, (i.e. wildlife management, pest management or nature conservation) as well as methodological studies.

Animal behaviorists are often educated in a variety of disciplines, including psychology, biology, zoology or animal science. A professional applied animal behaviorist has demonstrated expertise in the principles of animal behavior, in the research methods of animal behavior, in the application of animal behavior principles to applied behavior problems and in the dissemination of knowledge about animal behavior through teaching and research.

Requirements for Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

Qualifications set forth by the Animal Behavior Society
  • Obtained an undergraduate degree usually requiring 4 years at an accredited college or university
  • Gained admission to an accredited graduate school or veterinary school through a highly competitive admission process.
  • Completed post-graduate education receiving a Master’s (2-year full time or Ph.D. (4-year full time) degree in a behavioral science, or DVM or VMD degree with a behavioral residency.
  • Passed rigorous oral and written examinations given by their faculty committees.
  • Published articles in scientific journals.
  • Supervised hands-on experience with animals.
  • Met the course work and experience requirements for certification as set forth by the Animal Behavior Society
The Animal Behavior Society (ABS)

The Animal Behavior Society is the leading professional organization in North America for the study of animal behavior. The Society recognizes that animal-oriented groups or agencies, businesses, and the general public seek professional advice about animal behavior in general or about behavioral problems of animals. Certification is the means by which the Animal Behavior Society demonstrates to the public that certain individuals meet the minimum standards of education, experience and ethics required of a professional applied animal behaviorist as set forth by the Society. For more information on the Animal Behavior Society go to:

Information about Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

A Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist must meet all the requirements set forth by the AAnimal Behavior Society Additional information at
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