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I am looking into various "schools," "certification programs" and "certificates" to get into dog training.

I understand that you can go to a dog training school and get a certificate (for example Animal Behavior College, Karen Pryor Academy, Anthony Jerone's School Of Dog Training & Career, Canine Club Academy).

Then you can maintain certain certifications (e.g., CPDT) which requires you to log hours, take an exam and you have to participate in CEU.

Honestly anyone can do dog training because there is no regulations out there. However, I wouldn't do that.

What programs, schools, certifications, ect do you recommend? And why. What route would you recommend. What will make me both marketable and respected in the dog training world?

Thanks!!!
 

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Honestly anyone can do dog training because there is no regulations out there. However, I wouldn't do that.
It might be more difficult to market your self if you don't have 'papers', but if you are a good dog trainer and word gets out because your prices are reasonable and you get results and you build a reputation by word of mouth, you really don't need all that other stuff, in my opinion.
 

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It might be more difficult to market your self if you don't have 'papers', but if you are a good dog trainer and word gets out because your prices are reasonable and you get results and you build a reputation by word of mouth, you really don't need all that other stuff, in my opinion.
I agree. I believe the dog training world is dominated by what I call the behaviorist/veterinary industrial complex that disses anyone that doesn't do it their way. I am not agreeing with abusive training practices here, just a mindset that is their way or the highway and the potential for regulations that shuts out anybody that doesn't agree with them. At this point, they have the loudest voice and claim "science" is on their side. Personally, I think their "science" is based on incorrect assumptions and old outdated research. (But that's just me).
 

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You can definitely start without it. Just find a place with similar training philosophies to volunteer or work at, that's how I started. Now that I've done group obedience, more people are seeking me out for private lessons, even though I don't have my certification yet.
I'm about a third of the way through my required hours to take the CPDT exam, and have no problem continuing with CEUs because I love going to seminars and conferences. In January, I'm hoping to start up the Jean Donaldson course. I've take a couple of the KP courses, and really liked them, but I think the Donaldson one is more thorough.
 

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I'm currently in the KPA professional course and I love, love, love, love it. I love it, because we learn how to train more complex behaviors with capturing and shaping. The training uses positive methods, so the dogs love it too. :) I also love it, because the methods you learn allow you to train any type of animal. In fact, we're required to train a second animal that is NOT a dog.

If you want to get a feel for how KPA teaches, take the foundations course. I took it a few months ago. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask.
 

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Treats are only one reinforcer... There's a whole world of options...

Anyway, back on topic everyone. This is so not a methodology debate. Take that elsewhere. Further offtopic posts will be removed/edited.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

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Hey!

As far as schools go... be CAREFUL where you spend your money... Which it sounds like you are doing. Most customers don't know what sort of education to look for in a dog trainer, so if you take a training program, it may have minimal effects on your marketing. Even certifications like CPDT gain and lose steam in popularity. What will really bring you clients in dog training is networking and earning word-of-mouth reputation. Even if it's only sitting someone's dog, that's still a happy customer that can go and tell other people that they like/trust you, and that you offer training.

As far as educating yourself.
-Courses like KPA or Academy for Dog Trainers are amazing. However, they are expensive. You will also probably get the most out of them when you have a strong grasp on the basic principles taught. In my opinion, they are best to take when you have a few years of experience under your belt. They are also very intensive.
-Several great trainers (Terry Ryan, Patricia McConnell, Nicole Wilde) have written books entirely on dog training. They are a good, cheap resource to start.
-The more dogs you handle, the more knowledgeable you become. Stuff like walking dogs (for free or for money), fostering, pet sitting, volunteering at a shelter... That's all experience with dogs that will broaden your overall knowledge. Before I started training professionally, I walked dogs for a living. That gave me experience with a lot of dogs with a lot of individual behavioral needs. It also gave me an idea of what my clients are coping with when they have to do something like walk a reactive dog, or live with a fear biter. The more hours you clock working with dogs that aren't your own, the more experienced and savvy you will become.
-Apprenticing a local trainer. If you can find one that will let you shadow them on private lessons, great. You will probably be put up to a lot of grunt work (like being the "scary stranger" in a setup, or working the neutral dog, but it's all opportunity to observe and learn. You will also get a framework for structuring things like classes and private lessons.
-Get a day job! Dog training doesn't pay unless you have been in it for years, have a facility, and a strong entrepreneurial streak! Most bookings for lessons are inevitably going to happen on evenings and weekends, when people are available after work. You also have to factor in travel time to and from each lesson. You will be lucky if you get 2 or 3 lessons in on a weeknight, maybe 5 on a Saturday or Sunday. Supplemental income like a part-time job, pet boarding/sitting or dog walking will help you stay solvent in order to do what you love.

Hope that helps!
 

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This bickering has nothing to do with the original topic. Stay on topic in this post! If there is a conversation that you would like to have (that stays within the rules of the forum), feel free to start another post.

Infractions will be given out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone who responded.

By day I am an "Applied Behavioral Sciences Specialist" who works with the Developmentally Disabled population. So, I don't plan to give up my day job just yet.

However, I want to get more involved with animals. It really all started 3 years ago when we adopted our pit bull mix. I don't like to use the term "aggressive." I would say she is highly reactive when she sees another dog or cat. We actually worked with 5 different trainers. We learned a lot. Having first hand experience with needing extreme help with a behaviorally challenged dog is difficult. We were told by 3 of these trainers that this was the worst case they had seen (which is not what any dog owner wants to hear).

I myself am a big fan of Brenda Aloff and Patricia McConnell. I've read a lot of their work and this is what I connect with.

On the side, I do pet sitting. So I interact with many different kinds of dogs.

Somehow, at work, I have co-workers who are constantly seeking advice from me for their dogs' challenging behaviors. And I am always wanting to help them. I have even stopped by their homes to help them with their dogs.

When I was looking for a dog trainer, I would look to see that they had credentials. I wanted to see that they had education in animal behavior or had a training certificate. And we tried trainers that charged as low as $60/hr. to $150/hr.

I suppose my question is what makes a dog trainer marketable? I don't feel that I can just start dog training without any credential. I am interested in taking the CPDT exam. So I would need to log 300 hours. And I think 250 of those hours needs to be spent training dogs and the remaining 50 can be spent at a shelter.

At the end of the day, I want to help people help their dogs and develop a lasting bond and relationship between the 2.

Those of you who are dog trainers or animal behaviorists, what is your experience, credentials, schooling, certificates, ect.
 

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By day I am an "Applied Behavioral Sciences Specialist" who works with the Developmentally Disabled population. So, I don't plan to give up my day job just yet.
You ever deal with autistic kids? Read up on Temple Grandin - she's autistic and looks at dogs from the bottom up. Youtube has lots of resources.

I don't like to use the term "aggressive." I would say she is highly reactive when she sees another dog or cat. We actually worked with 5 different trainers. We learned a lot. Having first hand experience with needing extreme help with a behaviorally challenged dog is difficult. We were told by 3 of these trainers that this was the worst case they had seen (which is not what any dog owner wants to hear).
No offense, but if you can't help your own dog - why would I hire you? I've used my own dogs in the past to mentor ill behaved dogs.
 

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Honestly, I think that experience and references are ultimately what makes a trainer the most marketable. Looking at the majority of trainers in my area, a lot of them simply have the CCAPDT certification (basically a paid subscription to Canada's professional dog trainer newsletter). The odd one will have CPDT, but at least in the professional sphere, that credential is losing steam because they are not totally force-free. A lot of respected educators like Jean Donaldson are now putting their energy and resources into the Pet Professional Guild (which I am told is working on a certification, but has nothing yet).

For me, a huge part of actually getting customers was
a) facebook
b) word of mouth
c) people on facebook referring me to people who were asking on facebook for dog trainers
d) business cards and posters in pet stores and vets

Yeah, people look for credentials, but rarely do they actually research those credentials and check into how "legit" they are. That's more or less the reality of dog training professionally, I think. Often, career building and marketing are two totally different departments. Doesn't mean you shouldn't join pro dog training boards and take courses-- you will just have to bear in mind that you will also have to do other marketing.
 

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A background in ABS and personal experience with a dog who has serious behavior challenges are both terrific assets. Like you, when I was looking for professional help with my own reactive dog, I started by looking for people with formal educational credentials in animal behavior (and as a follow-up, for people I could connect to personally, as people skills are vital too!). So I think you're starting off ahead of the curve here!

Joining the APDT (association of professional dog trainers) is fairly cheap and would give you access to professional development resources, so might be a pretty reasonable place to start. They have lists of reading, webinars, etc., among other things, including topics on business development, and might be one way to help you connect with other trainers online. There are many roads to professional training, but an ongoing commitment to continuing education tends to make some trainers stand out from the crowd, IMO.
 

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With regards to your own dog...

At the end of the day, your results with dogs in general determine your worth as a dog trainer. I remember we had a member of the forum, a lady quite savvy on dog behavior, who some twerp judged as a "piss poor" dog trainer because she couldn't "fix her own dog" (this dog was a highly reactive rough collie). She corrected him swiftly, letting us know that when her dog died, she elected to have him autopsied. It was discovered that severe congenital anomalies in this dog's brain were most likely affecting its behavior.

The moral of the story: People will judge you based on your dog, yeah... It's a good thing that they don't train professionally themselves!!!

My steepest learning curves were with dogs that I worked the most closely with: a lab confined to a kennel run until she was 6 months old, and my own recent adoptee, who is going on her fourth home with me. Personally dealing with tough stuff, more than anything else, gives you a glimpse of what it is like to own a "problem dog" and nothing-- not 10 years of training, can give you that experience of what it is like to not even be able to take your dog on a potty break without them freaking out or shutting down, or how it feels to spend 3 weeks conquering your dog's fear of recycling bins. People can say whatever the heck they want from their armchairs, the reality is that owning a difficult dog gives you a very personal understanding of the emotions, the frustrations, even the logistics of owning a "problem dog".
 

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You ever deal with autistic kids? Read up on Temple Grandin - she's autistic and looks at dogs from the bottom up. Youtube has lots of resources.
I work with individuals ranging from ages 21 to 92 years of age that vary in their capabilities. Many have autism. Many have a variety of psychological disorders that compound their developmental disability.


No offense, but if you can't help your own dog - why would I hire you? I've used my own dogs in the past to mentor ill behaved dogs.
Personally, I feel like when you have gone through an experience like this, you are the best person to help others currently in this situation. I know how trainers have interacted with me and what skills I have been taught. In my opinion, this experience makes me stronger.

This is how I feel about a lot of things. If your a recovering alcoholic, who better to help you than someone who went through the struggle and has overcome it?
 

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I work with individuals ranging from ages 21 to 92 years of age that vary in their capabilities. Many have autism. Many have a variety of psychological disorders that compound their developmental disability.

Personally, I feel like when you have gone through an experience like this, you are the best person to help others currently in this situation. I know how trainers have interacted with me and what skills I have been taught. In my opinion, this experience makes me stronger.

This is how I feel about a lot of things. If your a recovering alcoholic, who better to help you than someone who went through the struggle and has overcome it?
So when it comes to autistic children - many people leave them within their limits - they don't want to deal with the childs reactions, they can't grow as a person. Sometimes a gentle push outside of the limits is required, autism doesn't mean you have to be limited.

I've been doing IT for 25 years. I know people so heavily certified that they have the entire alphabet behind their name - yet I spend more time cleaning up the messes they make. You know what most are missing? Common sense and concepts.

Top down approach to dogs works to a point - the belief that the dog can always be trained no matter what caused the dog to have these behaviors in the first place. You want to be a good trainer or behaviorist? Keep an open mind to different concepts, different ways - there's more than one way to skin a cat and it doesn't mean being negative or adverse. Sometimes you have to let a dog just be a dog, let them learn in a way that they can.

Case in point. This isn't hurting the dog - it's making the dog think.

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/frustrated-guilt-ridden-296273/page2/#post3144698
 

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let them learn in a way that they can.
There is huge wisdom right there. I think that should be the central concept of ALL teaching no matter if your student is a dog or a person. Don't teach them the way you learn, or your dog learns, or the way some champion obedience dog learns. Work with them, and let them learn the way they learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm thinking maybe I phrased my original post incorrectly. I'm getting some really amazing feedback and thank you all.

I'm curious - those of you who are "dog trainers" -
- did you go through a certificate program? If so, which did you go through? Was it an online school? A school through a local trainer?
- did you obtain a certification? If so, which certification did you obtain?
- what "schools" would you never recommend?
 

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LexiLou
You did not phrase your original post incorrectly. Many times discussions in a thread will involve peripheral matters, in this case, the nature and quality of training. Everyone learns. I'm sure that some trainers will respond, in the meantime I've certainly learned from this thread.
 

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I'm thinking maybe I phrased my original post incorrectly. I'm getting some really amazing feedback and thank you all.

I'm curious - those of you who are "dog trainers" -
- did you go through a certificate program? If so, which did you go through? Was it an online school? A school through a local trainer?
- did you obtain a certification? If so, which certification did you obtain?
- what "schools" would you never recommend?
I work as a dog trainer at a local school, co-teaching beginner and intermediate obedience. I also have several private clients, with a range of issues, from reactivity to just more comfortable one on one.
Before I got hired, I completed two courses online from the Karen Pryor Academy (Dog Trainer Foundations and Dog Sports Essentials). I'm going for the CPDT certification, and most likely the PPG certification as well.
I haven't heard great things about the Animal Behavior College.
 
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LexiLou
You did not phrase your original post incorrectly. Many times discussions in a thread will involve peripheral matters, in this case, the nature and quality of training. Everyone learns. I'm sure that some trainers will respond, in the meantime I've certainly learned from this thread.
Slightly peripheral but related to the op's questions is generally ok. But this thread went way of topic and included arguing (both rule violations). Most of those posts have been removed.

While I agree lexilou didn't phrase her op incorrectly, I can certainly understand why she asked again. Seems she's looking for specific information. And all who decide to participate here (this is directed to everyone) need to respect that and stay on topic so as to help her. :thumbsup:

I'm thinking maybe I phrased my original post incorrectly. I'm getting some really amazing feedback and thank you all.

I'm curious - those of you who are "dog trainers" -
- did you go through a certificate program? If so, which did you go through? Was it an online school? A school through a local trainer?
- did you obtain a certification? If so, which certification did you obtain?
- what "schools" would you never recommend?
I didn't go through a certificate program. I got my start from a trainer I had been taking classes with for a long time. She saw my potential and skills and asked me to apprentice and then take over some classes for her. She stopped training completely and I began taking classes at a different facility. Eventually I was asked again if I would like to teach classes and privates there and have been there long time now.

I have been continuing my education through seminars and workshops, books, and dvd's. I take classes and private lessons with my own dogs regularly. I volunteer at my local shelter to just experience working with different breeds and issues.

I'm working on different certifications atm. I'm already a AKC CGC evaluator and have been for a long time. I've gathered my hours for CPDT. I need to get my butt in gear and finally fill out the app so I can test the next time it's available. I'm finishing up my Trick Dog trainer cert. and hope to tackle the Parkour Dog trainer cert. as well this fall. I'm also working on competing and titling my dogs in my chosen sports. It's not necessarily certification, but it is something many of my students are looking for as we have a very large group of regulars who compete themselves.

On the other hand, my pet people, honestly don't care one bit about certifications or titles. Really they sign up for classes because they either take their dog to daycare with us or a friend, family member, vet, etc. recommended us to them.

If I were to recommend schools it would be Jean Donaldson or KPA. Some trainers like Pat Miller offer in depth apprenticeships which are also a nice option.

I would personally stay away from ABC. From what I have heard, the courses are pretty basic and little hands on time required. Also there are several ABC trainers in my area who I'm not at all impressed with... no skills there beyond very basic pet obedience and are very limited in methods and help/tips they can offer. They really shouldn't be taking behavior clients or offering the some of the classes they do. That said there are great ABC trainers out there, but the ones I know have continued their education. ABC was just a starting point for them or something they did as to be able to advertise certification.
 
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