One of our clients asked us this week about finding a dog trainer. We have a few we like to recommend because we know them personally but we are always open to meeting other trainers in the area. It isn’t always about teaching Fido but rather their human parents. We wanted to share tips on questions to ask and things to look for when trying to find a dog trainer.
My dog is out of control! How to find a Dog Trainer?
Good Dog Trainers are always Learning
Look for a Dog Trainer with Credentialing
*Dog training is not a regulated industry so it is important to do your research before hiring someone to help you with your animal. We come across a wide variety of titles in this area ranging from dog trainer, behavior consultant, behaviorist, dog psychologist, human- canine relationship counselor to name a few.
How does the Dog Trainer Interact with YOU and your dog?
It is important to take the time to watch the trainer interact with dogs. How do the dogs respond to them? Does the dog trainer make all the dogs feel safe in a class? Do you feel like your questions are being answered?
Methodology – What style do they use to train?
What equipment do they use?
*What kind of training are you looking for?
Therapy Dog, Competitive Dog Sports, Service Dog
How to make sense of The Types of Dog Trainer Certifications (information from a great article from Bright Hub)
If you want to start a career as a dog trainer, certification is a must. There are various types of certifications for dog trainers, and different organizations offer different certifications. Most programs require actual dog training experience, as well as client references, veterinarian references and job references. For basic or entry level certification, the following certifications do not require a college degree:
- Certified Dog Trainer (CDT)
- Certified Dog Trainer Advanced (CDTA)
- Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT)
- Endorsed Member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI)
In addition, several trade schools and two-year institutions offer dog trainer certification. These programs will provide you with a certification that has the school initials followed by the letters CDT — for example, a degree from the Animal Behavioral College will issue a dog certification as ABCDT. This is not, however, the same as a regular CDT.
Certified Dog Trainer and Certified Dog Trainer Advanced: CDT and CDTA
CDT and CDTA are two official certifications issued by the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP). In order to receive either certification, you must apply to the IACP and meet a series of strict requirements. In addition, all applicants and certified trainers are required to abide by the code of conduct established by IACP. It’s part of what gives the association and its members credibility.
In order to obtain a CDT from the International Association of Canine Professionals, you must be a member of their organization for at least 6 months. A formal test comes next. It consists of several parts and requires a fee. First you must submit 3 case studies of actual dogs you have trained within the past year. In addition to these case studies, each client must fill out and submit a form for each dog. Then you will need 3 current references who are not your clients in the case studies. A copy of your training brochure that you give to clients is also required; the IACP prefers original brochures you have developed yourself over ones that are commercially available. Finally, this package must be submitted in the proper format (the guidelines of which can be found on their website, which you will have access to with membership).
After they earn their CDT, IACP members are eligible for the CDTA, or Certified Dog Trainer Advanced certification. This involves another test, part of which includes submitting a video of your training methods for review by your peers.
You might want to visit the IACP website to find some professional trainers in your area.