The Animal Behaviour and Training Council and the BVNA!

Do you enjoy the animal behavior side of veterinary nursing; working with owners around socialisation in puppy preschools, discussing techniques for pets that have separation anxiety, and even finding solutions to some of those unwanted dog habits like chewing and digging?! Find your niche and you could become the animal behaviour advocate in your practice - there are a lot of animal behaviour resources, courses and organisations to support you.

BVNA Council Member Alex Taylor, represents BVNA as a member of the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC).  Alex says…

“One of my roles on BVNA Council is to act as our representative at the ABTC meetings. This means that I get to see how an important associate organisation functions and makes decisions, which is both interesting and relevant as more and more Veterinary Nurses are becoming involved in animal behaviour. “

“It is so important for Veterinary Nurses to ensure that the emotional and physical health of their patients are looked after, as this improves patient experience and animal welfare. I am really excited to see how Veterinary Nurses can develop their skills further in the field of animal behaviour, as this will not only add another string to our bow, it will have a positive effect on animal welfare too.”

In this blog we talk about who they are; what they do to promote animal behaviour practices in the industry; give advice on how to train to become an Animal Behaviour Technician; and also talk about the Animal Behaviour lecture streams at BVNA Congress later this year.

Who are ABTC?

ABTC are the regulatory body which represents animal behaviourists and trainers in the UK. They are also the only animal charity that “is primarily concerned with protecting the psychological welfare of animals undergoing training and behaviour activities”.

They set and maintain the standards of knowledge and practical skills needed to be an animal trainer, training instructor or animal behaviour therapist, and maintain the national registers of appropriately qualified animal trainers and animal behaviourists.

This ensures that advice and treatment given to pets and pet owners is consistently ethical and of a high standard, and ensures animal welfare is always considered. They also act as a point of contact for registered practitioners around the UK and other animal welfare organisations.


ABTC support a number of animal behaviour training courses for both Veterinary Nurses and Veterinarians and provides a route or pathway to become Behaviour Technicians or Advisors, including:

●        Advanced Diploma Applied Animal Behaviour (Level 5) - can be Canine or Feline specific

●        Advanced Diploma Applied Animal Behaviour (Graduate Diploma, Level 6)

BVNA have a behaviour statement on the type of courses that are available to veterinary nurses (and the public!) with advice on what you should look for when researching any study in animal behaviour. Some of the points raised are to check that tutors are qualified and members of a professional organisation, and who accredits the qualification (if it is not a CPD course).

Behaviour resources for pet owners

ABTC has many resources and recommendations for animal behaviour on their website. We think these will help with many of the common behaviour advice calls you may have to answer in general practice, such as:

●        Puppy Socialisation advice that covers how to prepare a ‘socialisation period’ and how puppies should begin their interaction with different people.

●        What kind of Sound Therapy is available to help introduce dogs to the sounds of fireworks, car alarms, kitchen timers and even the sound of a newborn baby crying! There are audio clips that can be streamed directly from the website.

●        The ISFM Cat Behaviour advice section covers a lot of behavior and health topics on feline aggression, scratching indoors and house soiling, just to name a few.

BVNA Congress – October 2020

This year, BVNA have an entire Animal Behaviour stream at the annual Congress. Alex Taylor (The Cat Nurse) will be speaking on The Feline Friendly Consult. There are also lectures covering top tips on dog behaviour (including managing aggression in practice!), behaviour advice for rabbits, and some of the pain and stress cues from parrots!

You can check out the Congress lecture programmes and speakers here and don’t forget to register here for the three day CPD and social weekend.

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