Do You Need Qualifications To Be A Dog Trainer?

dog trainer education Sep 17, 2020

You want to start your career in pet dog training to become a dog trainer. It’s your dream job! You love dogs and they love you and you want nothing more than a career that will help dogs and their families to live richer fuller lives. 

 The big question is “How does one become a certified professional dog trainer?” You want to know what it takes and how you get started so let’s take a look at how you can get started as a dog training professional. 

In Canada, there are no rules or regulations that govern the education requirements in order to be considered certified and become a dog trainer. Dog owners, however, are becoming more aware that dog trainers need to have professional education and certification and they are starting to do research and seek out qualified dog training professionals only. They look for credentials showing that the trainer they choose can effectively help them reach their goals using training that is based on science and knowledge.

 Here are some important questions for you to consider when researching potential schools that offer dog training programs that lead to becoming a certified professional dog trainer. 

  1. A reputable program should have a written Code of Ethics. Be sure to read through this carefully to ensure it aligns with your own values. 
  2. Can you speak directly with instructors and administrators to answer your questions? The answer should be yes, both should be accessible to the student. 
  3. Does the program offer a student handbook and outline of program expectations? If not, how are students guided through the criteria for grading and graduation? 
  4. Can the dog training school offer you referrals from previous graduates? It can be valuable to speak with graduates of the program and ask them questions about any concerns you may have. Does the school you are researching have testimonials? Reading reviews of students who have completed the program can provide insightful information.
  5. Does the program you are considering have both theory and practical components? It is important to select a program that has both components in order to help you to feel confident when you start your career. Broad-based theory knowledge and custom, individual feedback on your practical skills will give you the tools you need to help dogs.
  6. Is the program affiliated with other associations or groups? Knowing who you are being certified by and the associations they are aligned with will help you choose a school that you are comfortable with.
  7. Does the program offer a flexible schedule? Will you be able to continue to work at your regular job and still have time for family, friends and to dedicate to your schooling? Is the program full or part-time and how long will it take you to complete? Will the program require you to travel? These are all questions you may want to consider before you register. 
  8. Does the program require prerequisites? If so, do you meet them? 
  9. Does the program require you to have a dog to work with? If you don’t have a dog how will you meet the program needs? Can you borrow a friend or family member’s dog? Foster a dog from a rescue group or animal shelter? 
  10. Do the instructors have valid current credentials? It is important to find out about the education and experience of the people who will be teaching you and ensure that they are qualified to do so. Ensure that you are able to access and research instructor credentials before you register for the program. 

 Below are some dog training certification resources, links and information about associations that will help to guide you in your research, take some time to research each.  

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) offers independent exams across North America to certify that dog trainers have achieved a minimum standard of knowledge (or knowledge and skills). CCPDT is not a school, but rather a council that evaluates the knowledge a dog trainer has achieved by offering a standard exam to prepare you for a career with dogs. 

To earn CCDPT certifications, individuals must meet strict requirements, including passing a written exam and providing a log of 300 hours physically training dogs. Applicants are required to use humane training practices, follow a Code of Ethics and continue taking courses to maintain their certification working with dogs. 

The CCPDT is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The NCCA provides impartial, third-party validation that a program has met recognized national and international standards for the development, implementation, and maintenance of certification programs.

The Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CAPDT) is an education-focused association of members. Members are individuals with an interest in the goals of the organization, including a Code of Ethics. Annual membership dues are required to participate. Members continue to be part of the organization as long as they continue to pay their annual dues.  

Becoming a member of CAPDT does not make you a qualified or "certified" dog trainer. It gives you access to a number of benefits like discounts on dog products, access to a discount on business insurance, a quarterly newsletter, a private member's Facebook page, lists of how to train behaviours for dogs, free webinars and more.

Here are a few well-known associations  that specialize in training dogs that you may want to research.

If you would like to learn more about Good Dog Academy's Professional Pet Dog Trainer program then click here and let us help you get started on the professional education you require to succeed in your dream career with dogs. 

Happy Training!

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