ABC Animal Behavior Collegewas founded in 1998 by Mr. Steven Appelbaum. At that time, Mr. Appelbaum was the owner and President of Animal Behavior & Training Associates, Inc., (ABTA), the largest independent dog training company in the United States.
Over the previous decade, Mr. Appelbaum had created a unique company by securing exclusive agreements to provide dog obedience training classes in all Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. (Petco) stores in the United States and Canadian Petcetera Warehouse (Petcetera) stores in Canada. This was no easy task, but it nevertheless resulted in ABTA, at its peak, employing over 500 trainers in forty-four states and every Canadian province west of Quebec.
The ability to hire qualified dog trainers who love to work with animals was paramount to the success in continuing ABTA’s dynamic growth. The key here was 'quality'. Since there were no state, provincial, or federally recognized testing procedures in the United States or Canada to measure an obedience trainer's knowledge or skill, it was critical to create a method to measure a trainers knowledge and potential effectiveness in performing their animal job duties. ABTA took 6 months to create such a testing procedure and once it was put in place, we were stunned when 70% of all training applicants failed our exam. This was particularly disturbing, as the training applicants were professional instructors with animal jobs and a minimum of two years experience. Clearly, there was a need to create an educational process that would allow ABTA to assist professional instructors wishing to increase their knowledge and skill to a level necessary to train for ABTA.
As the largest dog training company in the nation, we had tested and apprenticed thousands of trainers over the last decade. Since we couldn't locate enough qualified trainers to fill our needs, it was natural step for us to create an educational program to assist trainers wishing to improve to ABTA levels.
As we started to offer educational assistance to professional trainers, we were quickly inundated with inquiries from large numbers of dog lovers or those with a natural talent as a “ dog whisperer ” who wished to become dog trainers. As dog lovers ourselves, we saw an opportunity to help them fulfill their dream of having a career with animals , and thus Animal Behavior College was born. At the time, there were only two types of dog trainer schools.