Animal Behavior College (ABC) has been helping animal lovers pursue animal careers for over 25 years. With over 35,540 graduates across the United States and Canada, and 185,000 volunteer hours donated at animal shelters, Animal Behavior College is a reputable private vocational school. We are proud to be approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education and maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
At Animal Behavior College, we care about our students’ success and future careers within the pet industry. We know every student experience is different, which is why we are committed to providing you the best possible education during your time with ABC.
History of Animal Behavior College
Founded in 1998 by US military veteran, Steven Appelbaum, Animal Behavior College is a school where animal lovers pursue animal careers. Appelbaum was previously the owner and President of Animal Behavior and Training Associates, Inc., the largest independent dog training company in the United States at the time.
Before Animal Behavior College, there were only two types of dog training certification programs available to students – costly campus-based programs and online learning programs that did not include hands-on training. ABC developed a third type of program, combining in-home and online learning with hands-on externship experience. This combined learning method proved very successful, and ABC has subsequently launched six other certification programs for Veterinary Assistants, Pet Groomers, Cat Trainers, Aquarium Maintenance, Zookeeper Assistants & Service Dog Trainers. Using this model, ABC programs are conveniently accessible to more people across the United States and Canada.
Can helping animals have better lives make the world a better place? At Animal Behavior College, we believe the answer is a resounding yes. We are dedicated to helping animal lovers pursue a wide range of professional animal related fields. ABC is committed to guiding animal lovers toward rewarding careers as dog and cat trainers, veterinary assistants, pet groomers, aquatics maintenance specialists, zookeeper assistants and service dog trainers. We pursue excellence using science-based programs to help students achieve competence, professionalism and career transformation. Our goal is to improve the lives of animals through the success and passion of our graduates.
ABC Certification Programs
ABC offers seven animal career certification programs: Our Dog Trainer Program, Cat Trainer Program, Veterinary Assistant Program, Pet Groomer Program, Aquarium Maintenance Program, Zookeeper Assistant Program and our Service Dog Trainer Program.
Certified Aquarium Maintenance Professional
The Aquarium Maintenance Program teaches students the scientific practices for fresh and salt water aquarium maintenance and production. Our in-depth curriculum includes topics of study on basic aquarium set up for fresh water and salt water tanks, live plant placement and care, reef set-up and care, fish species and guidelines and much more. Upon completion of the program student will receive a certification of completion and become an ABC Certified Aquarium Maintenance Professional.
Certified Dog Trainer Program
The Dog Trainer Certification Program teaches students the theoretical and scientific principles of canine behavior and training. The curriculum focuses on creating a canine-human relationship built on positive reinforcement training methods. Topics include treatment plans for problematic behaviors, basic training cues, training philosophies, safety and more. The Dog Training Program includes invaluable hands-on training with a professional ABC Mentor Trainer. Students who graduate become ABC Certified Dog Trainers (ABCDT) and can proudly use this designation.
This program also prepares students in pursuit of other independent certifications including the Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDTKA®) Certification.
Service Dog Trainer Program
For dog trainers who have already conquered basic training and want to continue to work with dogs for the betterment of human lives, the ABC Service Dog Trainer program is perfect for you. Getting a Service Dog Trainer certificate online puts you on a path to fulfilling your dreams of working with service dogs, where you can make a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities. Becoming a certified service dog trainer opens doors to several career options including working for an assistance dog organization, helping to train service dogs for veterans with PTSD, training mobility and/or medical-alert service dogs, working with hearing dogs and much more. Graduates are recognized as ABC Certified Service Dog Trainers (ABCSDT) and can proudly use this designation.
Certified Cat Trainer Program
The Cat Trainer Certification Program teaches students theoretical and scientific principles of feline behavior and training, including socialization, training cues, behavior management and more. Students participate in a hands-on shelter experience, volunteering with cats at a local animal shelter or rescue. Graduates are recognized as ABC Certified Cat Trainers (ABCCT) and can proudly use this designation.
Certified Veterinary Assistant Program
The Veterinary Assistant Certification Program teaches students all about working in an animal hospital setting, including examination room procedures, animal restraint, surgical and laboratory assisting, and more. Students also receive 100 hours of invaluable externship experience in a veterinary clinic or animal hospital. Graduates become ABC Certified Veterinary Assistants (ABCVA) and can proudly use this designation.
This program is one of a select few online veterinary assistant programs approved by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA).
Certified Pet Groomer Program
The Pet Groomer Certification Program teaches students how to groom both dogs and cats while maintaining a safe and relaxing environment. Grooming students receive a 30+ piece professional grooming kit that includes clippers, blades, scissors, brushes, combs, shampoo and more. Students participate in a 150-hour externship at a grooming facility with a professional groomer. This ABC program is approved by several reputable organizations, including the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). Graduates of the Pet Grooming Program become ABC Certified Pet Groomers (ABCPG) and can proudly use this designation.
Certified Zookeeper Assistant Program
The Zookeeper Assistant Certification Program teaches students the duties of those working in a zoo. Our in-depth curriculum covers the requirements of how to become a zookeeper assistant. The topics include the science of animal care, animal behavior, breeding and conservation, and more. Graduates of the Zookeeper Assistant Program become ABC Certified Zookeeper Assistant (ABCZA) and can proudly use this designation.
Animal Behavior College Loves Animals
Dog Training Students Volunteer at Animal Shelters
In 2004, Animal Behavior College started an international campaign called Students Saving Lives. Through this campaign, students in the ABC Dog Training Program volunteer to work with dogs at local animal shelters and rescues to help them become more adoptable. As of 2023, ABC students have donated over 185,000 volunteer hours, and the number continues to grow.
Cat Training Students Volunteer at Animal Shelters
Students in ABC’s Cat Trainer Program also contribute volunteer hours to animal shelters and rescues. Cat training students volunteer at least 25 hours with cats to help with their socialization, training and treatment.
About Our Alumni Network
Animal Behavior College graduates are eligible to join the ABC Alumni Network with special Alumni-only benefits. These benefits include a private job board, discounted liability insurance for dog trainers, cat trainers and dog groomers, discounted pet insurance, lifetime curriculum access, and more. Over 28,000 graduates have joined our growing Alumni network.
Animal-Loving Professional Staff
The education department of Animal Behavior College consists of pet industry professionals who help guide students through the program. The staff in this department includes registered veterinary technicians (RVTs), working dog trainers and cat trainers, and working pet groomers. Upon enrollment, each student is assigned to an industry professional based on their chosen course of study.
Our faculty of approximately 100 animal lovers have more than 300 pets combined, including dogs, cats, horses, reptiles, fish, birds and more! Most of these pets were rescued or adopted.
ABC Supports Military Families
ABC offers flexible programs with externship locations throughout the United States and Canada, making it easier to fit into the busy and changing schedules of military families. Military spouses may be eligible for free tuition to Animal Behavior College with financial assistance available through Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA).
Currently, MyCAA benefits are eligible for use toward our Dog Training Program, Veterinary Assistant Program and Pet Grooming Program.
Animal Behavior College also offers an in-classroom Dog Trainer Program located in Valencia, California. This program is approved for military veterans and other eligible persons under the provisions of Title 38, United States Code, including the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Dog training students in the classroom program work with dogs at Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles, helping them become more adoptable while gaining valuable hands-on experience.
Continuing Education and Short Term Programs
Animal Behavior College offers Short Term Programs to qualified individuals wishing to pursue further education in the animal industry. The following Short Term Programs are currently offered at ABC:
- Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
- Pet Nutrition and Diet
- Pet Massage
- Training Shelter Dogs
- The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons
- Pet Fostering
- Doggie Daycare
Student Success Stories
Don’t just take our word for it. Our students’ success speaks for itself! Find out how our programs have helped others achieve their dreams.
“I liked that they offered a hands-on externship, business management and safety. I also appreciated that I could take much of the program online, which was great for out-of-state convenience.” – Katie Hicks, ABCDT, Owner of Katie’s Dog Training
“I felt completely confident starting my internship at Farmingville Animal Hospital. Only after a month of working there, the hospital hired me and I’ve been working there ever since.” – Jennifer Contessa, ABCVA
“Not only was ABC’s program more convenient because I could do it in-home but it was half the price of another school I looked at. Plus ABC’s program also included the hands-on portion” – Wanda Dorn, ABCPG
Approvals and Partnerships
Animal Behavior College is approved by and partners with many different organizations and businesses.
Animal Behavior College is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education under the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 and Title 5. California Code of Regulations Division 7.5. Private Postsecondary Education. This approval means that our institution and operation comply with the standards established under the law for occupational instruction by private postsecondary educational institutions. In addition, ABC maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Many organizations approve Animal Behavior College programs including: International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI), International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America (NAVTA).
Our various sponsors and associates include: The KONG Company, Wahl Clipper Corp., Coastal Pet Products, Groomer’s Choice, Charlee Bear Pet Products, Andis Company and more.