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Finding the right trainer

Did you know that the dog training industry is not regulated? This means that anyone can decide one day that they are a dog trainer, without knowledge, experience or even if they’ve never touched a dog before! This can make finding a proper trainer or behavior professional difficult for the average dog owner.

Look for a trainer or behavior professional who has some accreditation or credentials through an independent certifying organization. This then guarantees that they are not just certifying themselves as a trainer, nor is their place of employment certifying them. It is concerning when a trainer graduates from their own program or that of their employer. Franchises often function this way and with the right amount of buy-in, regardless of your experience or skill level you can become a “certified” trainer – this is very concerning, and it can be misleading to the public. That type of certification means very little and usually does not require continuing education or any type of examination or assessment. Two of the best organizations to be certified through are: Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). Both of these organizations require hundreds of hours working in the field as well as extensive testing. They also require an agreement and signing a code of ethics as well as earning continuing education credits to keep certifications. This means that there is always growth and knowledge gained by the professionals that are certified through those organizations. Research any certifying bodies that your trainer claims to have gone through. Dog training has come a long way in the last 30 years, it is important to find a professional that adheres to modern scientific and proven methodology. If a trainer does something to your dog that makes you feel uncomfortable, then they are not the right trainer for you or your dog! Dog training should not be a struggle, it should be enjoyable for the learner and handler both. When you find a possible trainer, ask questions – find out when and how they became a trainer, who they mentored under and if they follow through with continuing education. Ask them about their methods and make sure that they align with what you are okay with. If you are seeking a trainer or behavior consultant, please visit: or and check out the listings for trainers that are certified or accredited. Always research your potential trainers and behavior professionals thoroughly! In this field, lack of skill and experience can make behavior issues so much worse, so it is of utmost importance to assure the professional you hire gets it right the first time!

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