Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dog trainers certification: What you need to know

It used to be that dog training was an unregulated industry.  Like many dog trainers in
Canada, I was once certified by the small dog training school in my town.  I soon found better, more positive training methods.  I held off on getting any further certification as a dog trainer for many years, until the Association for Professional Dog Trainers and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers convinced me that their certification actually meant something.  I decided they were both well recognized organizations that stood behind their reputations for excellence.  To achieve my KA Certification with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, I needed to have:
  1. 300 proven hours of dog training experience
  2. 3 reference letters: From a fellow trainer, a veterinarian, and a client
  3. A minimum of 75% on a very extensive examination
  4. Adherence to strict ethical guidelines for: treatment of animals, business practices, and customer service
  5. Proof of ongoing education for at least 3 years.
To acheive my APDT C.L.A.S.S. Evaluator certification I had to pass a very extensive
examination with a minimum of 75% correct answers.

To acheive my CTDI certification I had to take a course and pass a practical skill exam.

It occured to me that there are still people out there hiring unqualified trainers who rely on discounting the value of CCPDT-KA Certification to attempt to convince potential clients that they should employ them.  When a client hires a trainer they are trusting that trainer to provide training that will make the dog a safe and functional family member.  Hiring an uncertified, unproven dog trainer who openly discounts the value of CCPDT certification is hiring someone who is at best, ignorant and at worst dishonest.

Our dogs are family members who deserve to have qualified professionals involved in their care.  We would never consider hiring a veterinarian, teacher, dog groomer, or any other professional who had never passed an exam to acheive certification with a recognized body. Dog training is no longer an unregulated industry; however, there is still no way to stop unqualified people from calling themselves dog trainers.  In the end, hiring an uncertified trainer is every bit like playing Russian Roulette with your ongoing relationship with your dog as well as with your dog's life.  Who would do that?