The program is designed to prepare individuals for a career as a community dog behavior analyst, behavior change agent and caregiver counselor. It also serves as a prerequisite for entering into a bachelor degree program with the college or at another institution. The program is founded in the scientific principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is the science of applying experimentally derived principles of behaviorism to modify the environment which, in turn, changes behavior. Quantifiable dimensions of behavior are observed, analyzed, measured and then graphed to show change and trends. Caregivers are then trained to implement the behavior intervention program (BIP), continue to take data and eventually fade out the BIP using reinforcers found in the natural environment. The dog behavior analyst-counselor leads a behavior intervention team consisting of the analyst-counselor, the caregiver(s) and the family veterinarian with the purpose of analyzing problem behavior in dogs and establishing and maintaining socially acceptable behavior and public safety in and around the living environment. Behavior analysts can also establish new behaviors using the existing behavioral repertoire of the species.
Graduates of this program may choose to be self-employed by establishing a dog behavior consulting practice, animal behavior clinic or related business or non-profit organization. Others may seek employment with governmental animal control agencies, veterinary practices, animal training/behavior businesses, animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, humane societies or SPCAs, service dog or guide dog organizations or other animal-related organizations. This program focuses on methodology that is humane and motivationally based. It utilized Gentle Leader head collars and clicker signaling devices while discouraging any form of physical punishment. ACAS subscribes to the Delta Society’s Professional Standard’s for Dog Trainers and the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors Code of Ethics and Standards.
The Associate in Science degree program in Canine Behavior Analysis, Care and Counseling is a professional certification track program. Completion of this program satisfies the theoretical and practical requirements for board certification as a board certified Canine Behavior Analyst and Counselor (CBAC) through the Board of Professional Certification of the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors www.animalbehaviorcounselors.org. The CBAC is a professional credential granted to members of this non-profit independent peer-reviewed professional membership organization.
This Associate in Science degree program is not an unsupervised home study or correspondence course.
5-day Faculty Lead Academic Residency Lab Courses with Animals - Upon the satisfactory completion of online classroom core and elective courses, students will register for and attend a 5-day, 45 hour faculty lead academic residency lab course with animals. ANS 3701 Canine Behavior Academic Residency Lab meets at the college 20-acre Dream Pond Science Field Station and Reserve in Crescent City, FL (near Orlando/Daytona Beach). Upon arrival and completion of a safety module, students will travel with the course instructor to college-partnered animal related facilities such as Humane Societies, animal sanctuaries or animal control facilities (venues may change from semester to semester based upon facility availability) to observe and work with a variety of dog breeds. This is a unique opportunity for students to apply the theory learned from online coursework to real-world situations with animals under faculty supervision. Students will handle dogs, work with training equipment, perform function based assessments (FBAs), formulate hypotheses, test the hypotheses through phase changes, and develop behavior intervention plans BIPs. Baseline and intervention data will be graphed in the field on laptops to demonstrate behavior change and trends. Students will develop skill sets for caregiver training to teach caregivers how to implement and monitor the BIPs. Clinical behavior reports for the family or facility veterinarian will also be written.
Externship Practicum Capstone in your Community - The final capstone requirement for this program involves a 90 hour externship practicum, usually completed in the student's community. The student will identify a facility, practice or animal behavior professional to work with. The student's faculty adviser will vet the supervisor and agreements with learner outcomes will be established. The student will communicate weekly with the faculty adviser via an online classroom and submit a project report at the end of the semester.
This program typically takes 24-48 months to complete on a full-time/part-time basis. 12-week semesters begin in the spring, summer, fall, and winter of each year. Academic residency lab courses are held several times each year during the regular semester. Externship practicum is scheduled by the student within any semester.