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ABC: An Overview - Animal Jobs, Careers & Working with Animals

Evolution of ABC

ABC was founded in 1998 by Mr. Steven Appelbaum. At that time, Mr. Appelbaum was the owner and President of Animal Behaviour & Training Associates, Inc., (ABTA), the largest independent dog training company in the United States.

In the 1980s, Appelbaum created a unique company by securing exclusive agreements to provide dog obedience training classes in all Petco Animal Supplies Inc. (Petco) stores in the U.S. and Petcetera Warehouse (Petcetera) stores in Canada. The result was ABTA, which at its peak employed more than 500 trainers in 44 states and every Canadian province west of Quebec.

Hiring qualified dog trainers who love to work with animals was paramount in continuing ABTA’s dynamic growth. The key was “quality.” Since there were not any state, provincial or federally recognized testing procedures in the U.S. or Canada to measure an obedience trainer's knowledge or skill, ABTA needed to create a way to measure trainers’ knowledge and potential effectiveness in performing their animal-related job duties. After six months, a testing procedure was put into place. Shockingly, 70% of all training applicants failed the exam. This was particularly disturbing, as they were professional instructors with animal-related jobs and a minimum of two years’ experience. Clearly, an educational process that increased professional instructors’ knowledge and skills to a level necessary to train for ABTA was needed.

The first required a student to travel to a school and live on or near the campus for the duration of the program. While this type was effective, it severely limited enrollment. The average dog-loving person who wanted to become a trainer could not afford to relocate for months at a time. Cost was also prohibitive, since tuition would often total between $5,000 to $12,000.

The second was a traditional correspondence course. While this type of training program was far less costly, it was also far less effective as it lacked the all-important hands-on component necessary for anyone to become an effective dog trainer.

ABC created a third type of school. First, ABC students completed a comprehensive correspondence training program. Then, after mastering the theoretical and scientific principles of dog training, ABC students began an intensitve hands-on apprenticeship program with a mentor trainer. The mentors were assigned via ABTA's extensive database of tested and qualified training professionals. With ABTA’s exclusive national reach, ABC created a unique educational model that was instantly accessible to people in every state and in Canada. Overnight, ABC became a national school for dog obedience trainers.

As time passed, ABC evolved. Today, the dog training program has 11 stages and dozens of contributors to an extensive and cutting-edge curriculum.

ABC’s staff is very proud of their programs and is extremely excited about the future of the school. The ABC Dog Obedience Instructor Program is available to dog lovers nationwide and its quality, coupled with affordability, makes it a viable choice for the professionally minded. This program is perfect for the serious student just starting out or for the professional trainer looking for formal certification.

At ABC, the goal is to offer a positive and effective training program that produces highly motivated and qualified ABC Certified Dog Trainers. As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, you become part of a national movement to raise the standards of dog training professionals everywhere.

We are excited to offer you admission into this program and look forward to following your progress.