What Dog Training Certification Should You Look For In A Good Dog Trainer?

There are many training courses and dog training schools offering classes for people wishing to become dog trainers.  Some of them are better than others.  If you are looking for a trainer for you and your dog it’s usually a good idea to seek out a trainer who has certification from one of the well-known professional dog training organizations in your country.

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers offers the CPDT-KA designation — Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed.  This certification indicates that the trainer has at least 300 hours of experiences, references from a vet, a client and a colleague; and has passed an exam testing all aspects of their knowledge about dogs, training and teaching techniques.  CCPDT has professional dog trainers not just in North America but also in Europe, Australia (APDT) and Japan and Hong Kong.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers does not offer certification but they require certification from one of the following organizations as a prerequisite for membership:

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
Animal Behavior Society
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
International Association for the Study of Animal Behavior
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

Most trainers will attend a dog training school and/or apprentice with an expert in the field before attempting to become certified.  This is necessary since certification usually requires around 300 hours of experience as a trainer or instructor.  Some of this work can be done working with shelter animals, too.

Good dog training schools should also offer the prospective trainer classes in dog behavior, anatomy, genetics, diseases, history of dog training, dog psychology and different approaches to training.  Prospective trainers will also need to learn how to work with clients and handle different situations with different dogs.

When you choose a dog trainer it is perfectly acceptable to ask about their certification and what kind of training and experience they’ve had.  You are choosing someone to work with you and your dog so it’s important for you to choose wisely.

You may find a trainer who connects well with you and your dog.  On the other hand, you may have a trainer who, for whatever reason, isn’t a good “fit” for you and your dog.  If you aren’t making the kind of progress that you hope for and you are doing the work, you may need to change trainers.  Don’t give up on training all together simply because you have a trainer who isn’t the best choice for you.  Choosing a different trainer may make a world of difference.  Someone who presents the same information in a different way may be able to make a big difference to you and your dog.

Not all good trainers will have certification but these days many of the best trainers do have certification. Find out about anyone who will be spending time with your dog and giving you advice.

You want to make sure that you are receiving good advice before you follow it.

Mark Mansfield

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