Successful completion of the following scheme of supervised clinical experience will be required before Certification. Participation in the scheme should normally begin no more than two years after completion of academic training, and be completed within three years of achieving Level 1 (see 4).
Experience should be gained under the direct supervision of Certificated CABs or, in exceptional cases, other approved individuals (e.g. a behaviourist certificated or recognised by the RCVS, ECVS, ACVB or ABS). The candidate must be present before, during and after the supervisor's consultations, wherever these would normally occur. A minimum of two supervisors should be involved at level 1 and 2, and three at Level 3 (see 4.). At least one supervisor must be a clinical animal behaviourist who is not a veterinarian, and at level 3, at least one must be a veterinary surgeon who possesses recognised expertise in the field of behaviour medicine.
Before undertaking supervised experience, candidates shall be required to demonstrate to their supervisors that they are competent in the necessary handling of the species for which competency is to be claimed and proficient in the application of appropriate reinforcement in their training. This may take the form of relevant qualifications or prior achievements in this area (eg components of veterinary, veterinary nursing or other relevant qualifications, NVQ 3 in animal care, achievement in breed-specific events involving handling/training, testimonials of proficiency from employer, etc) or satisfactory demonstration of these skills, eg through successful implementation of a training programme. An example of what such a training programme may demand for each species for which competency is to be claimed* is outlined in the document Assessing animal handling and training
. Supervisors may require candidates to gain additional experience of animal handling prior to their starting Level 1.
The degree of active involvement of the candidate in each consultation should increase gradually, the rate of progression taking into account both the ability of the candidate and the breadth of experience provided by the cases available to the supervisor. As a minimum, the candidate is expected to have participated and had their performance assessed in 45 consultations. It is expected that the candidate will already have received prior instruction or training sufficient for them to be operating at or near to the standard required at each level before any such assessment begins; as a guide the total number of consultations participated in at all three levels combined is likely to exceed 60.
- a) A minimum of 10 as an observer (Level 1);
- b) A minimum of 15 where the candidate is involved in the collection of background information relating to the cases, and explains and implements common programmes of treatment, including liaison with clients and referring veterinarians as appropriate, with the supervisor making the initial identification of cause(s) (Level 2);
- c) A minimum of 20 from start to finish, with the supervisor only offering guidance as required; the overall responsibility for the case to remain with the supervisor. For individuals claiming competency in more than one species, the candidate is expected to have participated in a minimum of 15 cases for each of the species for which competency is to be claimed (Level 3).
Level 1 cannot begin until the candidate has successfully completed at least two years of appropriate undergraduate study. Levels 2 and 3 should follow completion of the academic requirements. Progression from one Level to the next shall depend upon the collective decision of the candidate's supervisors, with a minimum of two recommending advancement.
Candidates must be supervised and assessed by a minimum of three supervisors overall. At each level, each supervisor must supervise a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 12 cases. At level 3, a minimum of 5 cases must be supervised by veterinary surgeon(s) possessing recognised expertise in the field of behaviour medicine.
Assessment of completion of supervised experience will be based upon a case-book, containing the following:
- a) Check lists of tasks completed and relevant skills demonstrated when achieving each Level (see specific level requirements), and accreditation of handling and training skills (see 3.), signed by the supervisors.
- b) Each assessed case history, at levels 2 and 3, to be written up using the following headings:
-Background (including owner perspectives),
-Presenting signs (i.e. a description of the various behaviours that the animal performs, and the context in which they are performed, that may be relevant to the case, and any relevant physiological factors),
-Differentials (i.e. evidence for and against different explanations of the behaviour),
-Behavioural diagnosis (i.e. the most likely cause, motivation and context of the behaviour),
-Goals (i.e. what any programme of behavioural modification should aim to achieve),
*For example, for competence in canine behaviour, including one from each of the following case types: own-species aggression, aggression towards human(s), inappropriate elimination, inappropriate marking behaviour, fear/phobia, repetitive behaviour, separation-related problem, attention-seeking behaviour.
- c) At least five of the consultations across levels 2 and 3 must have involved a team approach, e.g. liaising with a veterinary surgeon who has no special expertise in animal behaviour, an animal trainer, or a Chartered Psychologist.
For each consultation, any assessment and accreditation of a candidate's skills is the responsibility of the supervising clinical animal behaviourist. This assessment must occur on a one-to one basis.
Candidates should regularly seek advice from their supervisors as to the appropriateness of their case-book.
Candidates must submit original copies of all reports and case histories when seeking certification and retain duplicates of all submitted documentation for a minimum of five years.
Specific detailed guidelines on the requirements for the three levels of supervised experience, and associated documentation, can be found by clicking on the links below:
Certification as a Clinical Animal Behaviourist: supervised experience requirements
Level One: Observational
Level Two: History taking, evaluation and implementation of a programme of treatment
Level Three: Full Consultation
- Specific requirements for Level Two
- Form - for Level Two: History taking, evaluation and implementation of a programme of treatment (to be completed by supervisor)
- Examples of short case histories: (1) dog, (2) rabbit
- Specific requirements for Level Three
- Form - for Level Three: Full consultation (to be completed by supervisor)
- Example of a long case history: cat
- Examples of short case histories: (1) dog, (2) rabbit