Evaluating the Work of Applied Animal Behaviorists as Applied Behavior Analysis

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Within the field of behavior analysis, there is a divide between human and nonhuman animal research and application. Although behavior-analytic techniques could be used with nonhuman animals, to become a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), nonhuman animal practice is not allowed. Animal behavior professionals (e.g., certified applied animal behaviorists, certified professional dog trainers, animal behavior consultants) and BCBAs completed a 31-item survey to evaluate the extent to which their professional activities meet the definition of applied behavior analysis and the extent to which they are consistent with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) task list. Although there are differences in the techniques being implemented, the survey yielded more similarities than differences in the work of these two groups of professionals. Both animal behavior professionals and BCBAs are engaging in work that meets the standards of the BACB’s task list and the definition of applied behavior analysis.

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