The Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians was started by Julie Shaw, Ginny Price and Donna Dyer September 11, 2001. Before a specialty can be petitioned a society must exist. The Society is for any technician (or subscription member, such as an animal trainer) with the primary goal being education. A small number of technicians from the society will go on to become board certified VTS-Behavior and therefore AVBT members.
In July of 2001, the founders of SVBT went to the AVMA convention to propose the start of the “new group” to the veterinary behavior diplomats. In 2001 it was still unclear what the role was of an “animal behavior technician” and the concept was met with some skepticism and concern. The founders worked the AVMA convention discussing the advantages to working with credentialed technicians in the behavioral consultation room. Then at their business meeting, Dr. Karen Overall brought the topic up for discussion. Our founders worked like crazy to demonstrate professionalism. A dynamite newsletter was put out and we developed a code of conduct for our members and we were able to get Dr Luescher to act as our liaison with the College of Veterinary Behaviorists. In addition we had 4 well-known veterinarians on our “advisory panel”; R.K. Anderson, Guy Hancock, Wayne Hunthausen, and Karen Overall.
As things progressed we were able to influence the caliber of behavior talks offered to technicians at veterinary conferences and the behavior program at one national conference was put together by us for many years. One of our goals from the beginning was to get behavior recognized as a specialty for technicians. But we couldn’t do that if there weren’t opportunities for vet techs to learn behavioral medicine. Hence the emphasis on education.
As 2016 marks the 15 year anniversary of Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, we thank the women that worked to make the SVBT and AVBT the driving forces in veterinary behavior that they are today. Today SVBT offers education with our monthly webinars given by leaders of the animal behavior field, offers networking for our professional members via our private Facebook group page, and lastly has teamed with AVBT and AVSAB to create an Animal Behavior Conference.
We look forward to seeing where Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians advances to within the next 15 years!