Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dog Training Tips - Rules for Dog Trainers and Dog Owners

Similar to other human endeavors, the success of dog training and dog behavior modification efforts involving both a dog trainer and a dog owner is dependent upon acceptance of responsibility and good communication. Here are some dog training tips and rules of the road for such situations.

To start, Dog Trainer, you must always remember to ask as many thoughtful and pointed questions of the owner as possible. This is an absolute necessity if the dog trainer is to have a good understanding of the animal before beginning the first dog training session, to start on the right foot. You never have a second chance to make a first impression in the dog world.

Dog Owner, you have a responsibility to be detailed on both the good and the bad in your pet. Only then can the dog trainer - dog behaviorist diagnose the problem fully and take the best remedial steps. You must also speak out your full expectations so they can be accomplished.

Some areas you should cover and amplify include:

1- Historical information about your dog -- Age, how old he was when adopted, where you got him, etc.

2- The dog behavior problem -- Full description, how it manifests, under what circumstances, and how often.

3- What happened the first time? -- What did the dog do first, how did you handle it at that moment and right afterward, how did the dog respond, how old was the dog, other factors, and how much has the behavior increased since then?

4- What have you done about it since then? -- Also, what have other family members done about it, what are you doing now, how has the dog reacted each time, etc.?

5- Information about your dog's environment and exposures - e.g., your home, yard, doggie door and yard freedom or always out on a leash, neighborhood, parks, other pets, other family members and ages, kennel trained, etc.

6- You dog's daily exercise -- e.g., how often, when, how far, is it "free time" or focused and disciplined (mental challenge), etc.?

7- Any other things you do not like about your dog?

Expose everything pertinent to the pet and circumstances that you can think of. Don't forget allergies and health issues that might have an effect.

Dog Trainer, point out issues right away, explaining dog behavior problems to the Owner. For example, if the dog displays dog dominance behavior such as claiming something, the Owner needs to be made aware of what is really going on. This is not just some cute little annoyance, but the seed of a major dog behavior problem!

Dog Trainer, do not in any way intimidate the Dog Owner or make him feel foolish. Be understanding. Recognize that he called on you because he realizes and acknowledges the need for your experience. Commend him, for that takes courage.

Dog Owner, never lie to a dog trainer if your dog has certain tendencies. Especially if your dog is aggressive or fearful, the trainer needs to know the tendency of his reactions. Otherwise, there may be a nasty dog bite, and the results you seek may be impeded.

Dog Owner, listen to the dog trainer. Do not become surly or sarcastic with one who is trying to help. Do not waste the trainer's time if you are not going to follow her directions and be consistent. Do not try to blame the trainer if you are not consistent.

Dog Trainer, do not tell the Dog Owner: "People need training, not dogs." It is called DOG TRAINING for a reason!

Dog Trainer, realize that people need to be instructed in how to read dog body language, to become the leader of the pack, and how to follow through with your instructions ... How to train a dog! People need encouragement, not criticism. Sometimes, the problem is the DOG!

Dog Trainer, hear the Dog Owner out and listen to all he says about the dog. Eat every word, and draw out every piece of information you may need. Remember, you need to feed the Dog Owner if he is stuck. You need to be a skilled interviewer, to draw out all you need to know about the dog and the circumstances.

Keeping these thoughts in mind makes it easier for both the Dog Trainer and the Dog Owner. It is no more fun for a Dog Trainer than a Dog Owner to deal with someone who is full of himself ... That is counterproductive. Keep you eye on your goal -- dog behavior modification and dog training.

Tips & Guide To Looking For A Good Dog Trainer

Dog training is definitely not rocket science and is easier than you would expect particularly if you can get help from a good dog training book or guide. It’s also certainly possible for almost any dog owners to train their dogs themselves provided they put in adequate amount of effort.

Nevertheless, you might still want to get additional help from a professional trainer, especially if you got a tough nut to crack in your hand. Before you engage a trainer, it’s always best that you do some research first as there are many trainers with different teaching styles and not every style suit every dog or owner.

Here’s a guide for you to find a reliable trainer:

Ask someone

It wouldn’t hurt you to open your mouth to ask someone for advice or recommendation.

- Ask your friends, even strangers you meet in the park for the contacts of their trainer if you notice that he owns a particular well-train dog. Even if they don’t engage a trainer, you could still possibly pick up some valuable training tips. You’ve got nothing to lose and I’ll bet the owner would also most probably be flattered.

- Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. He deal with dogs everyday and must have seen the best and worse dog. He should have contacts for some good trainers in your area.

- Ask the local Humane Society, dog breeder or even your pet supplies shop owner. They are also a good source of information and might just be able to direct you to a trainer who is particularly suited to training your dog breed.

The directory has a search engine that allows you to search trainer by specific geographical location and also list out if trainers are Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) to help you make your decision.

*CPDT is certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers an international testing and certification program for professional pet dog trainers. It is basically to ensure that the trainer has a certain level of knowledge and expertise. To be certified, trainers must have at least 300 hours of dog training experience and have passed an exam that assesses basic knowledge of canine training. For more details, visit

There are several things to look out for before you engage a trainer. You might want to consider these factors first before you engage one from a list of good contacts you got. The Trainer must have the following traits:

- must be humane and gentle with the dogs during training.

- must be an effective communicator and teacher. Both you and your dog must be able to understand his teaching for effective training. In short, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of his mouth?” As dog training involve both you and your dog, you must also be able to understand his teachings so that you can practice them when you get home.

- must be experience and up-to-date with the latest training methods. You might want to request a sit-in session to observe him and see if he can deal with the particularly difficult dogs. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions about his training background, training techniques, methods and etc. An experience trainer should have no problem answering your questions.

Distance - This might not be a big factor but certainly one worth considering. Imagine a 4 hours drive for every training session!

Hope these tips are useful to help you look for a good dog trainer.

Good luck in your quest for a good trainer!

Top 5 Myths About Becoming a Professional Dog Trainer

You love dogs.You love training your own dogs. You should become a pro dog trainer! It just makes sense. Right?!

Well, maybe.

Dog training is one of those professions that sounds more like play than work. But - like the life of a professional musician or artist - fantasy is often more glamorous than reality. So, before you invest a lot of time and money changing your career, consider these top five myths about life as a professional trainer:

Myth #1: As a dog trainer, I'll be free of the 9 - 5 grind of a desk job.

It's true that actual obedience training doesn't happen in a cubicle or behind a desk. But, remember that in addition to his or her "official" title, every pro trainer moonlights as an entrepreneur. Yes, they do spend some time working with dogs. But, when the training is done, there is still plenty of work to be done. Just a few of these responsibilities include:

Marketing yourself and your business to gain new clients. Especially as a new trainer, you'll spend a lot of time building your business by attending local pet-related events. Most often, these events are held on weekends and require a participation fee that ranges anywhere from $25 - $1000. Additionally, a successful trainer must spend time developing and implementing print and Web marketing strategies.
Performing Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable functions. Usually, only an established trainer can afford to pay a bookkeeper. Most new trainers spend around 5 - 10 hours per week managing the financial operations of their business.
Providing customer service. Polite and professional customer service is imperative to building a successful dog training business. This is true throughout the customer acquisition cycle, from the first time you speak with a prospective customer through ongoing interactions with long time clients.

Myth #2: As a pro trainer, I'll spend my time with dogs instead of people.
When I was attending school to become a dog trainer, one of the greatest lessons I learned from my mentors is that training is as much about people as it is about dogs.

If you want to be a pro trainer because you'd rather interact with animals than people, you should choose another profession, because the goal of every good trainer is to improve a dog's relationship with its human companions. Some of this improvement may be achieved working one-on-one with a dog. But, to truly help a pooch learn to function more effectively in his world, you must involve his humans.

Myth #3: The life of a pro trainer is low stress and highly rewarding.

Dog training is not a low stress career. In fact, at times it's pretty high stress. Trainers worry about getting enough clients to pay the bills. They worry about the owners they just can't seem to help, no matter how hard they try. They worry about about the dogs who live with owners who are more likely to
euthanize than work through problems. They worry about those owners who won't euthanize an obviously troubled dog that poses a danger to humans and/or other animals. The list goes on and on.

Training is a rewarding profession, but the rewards are balanced by stress and frustration, just like in any other career. It's very fulfilling to see your efforts result in a better relationship between a pup and its companions, but those results can be hard won.

Myth #4: Dog training is an easy profession.

Some dogs are easy to train. It's like they were born with an understanding of how to interact with humans. If you've got one of those pooches, consider yourself lucky, but don't assume every dog you train will be as easy. As a pro trainer, you'll often work with those pups that are hardest to train -
for example, those with aggression or severe anxiety issues.

The hardest thing about working as a pro trainer is that every dog is different... and every owner is different. Your job as a trainer is to provide simple advice that's customized to each unique dog-human relationship. That's harder than it may sound.

Myth #5: Every dog I train will end up a success!

Oh, how I wish this were true. But, unfortunately, as a pro trainer, you just can't help every dog. Sometimes, due to physiological issues or simply due to an owner's wishes, fixing a situation is just plain out of your hands. You must be prepared to accept these situations as they arise. This is one of the toughest challenges of working successfully as a trainer.

How to Become a Dog Trainer - Helpful Tips for Starters

Becoming a dog trainer is without a doubt a lucrative business if you know how to get into the business of dog training and start providing the much needed services for the ever increasing population of dog lovers who are in need of the professional assistance of dog trainers. Because there are no specific institutions or lay-down path that would-be trainers are meant to follow in order to become certified dog trainer therefore the burden of becoming a professional trainer rest squarely on the shoulders of the would-be dog trainer. This means that he will have to find out the steps that will lead him to his dream of becoming a professional trainer.

As a would-be dog trainer you should know that training is essentially a service profession which means that you will be working a lot with the person that own the dog and in actual fact the profession involves training the people who own the dogs as much as providing training for the dogs. For this reason, a good human relation is an essential part of the requirement for the would-be dog trainer because if you fail in your relationship with the dog owners than you can as well kiss the career goodbye.

Those who are employed as dog trainers are essentially self taught, which means that they have attended seminars, convention and workshops, read extensively about dog ethology and probably mentored by other established trainers.

A would-be trainer should at least be knowledgeable in the following area:

Dog training history from around the late 19th century till date. Training for other animals in comparison and contrast with dog training.
Animal learning which includes positive and negative punishment, positive and negative reinforcement, motivation, conditioned reinforces, desensitization and sensitization. Comparison of human learning to dog learning.
Dog behavior - genetics of behavior, body language, breed characteristics, ethology and dog development, social development, hormonal influence, social signals.
How to design his course materials for training, how to motivate dog owners, ability to screen and steer his clients and how to effectively counsel his clients.
To become a successful trainer it is very important to mentor under the leadership of an established trainer regardless of how knowledgeable you may be. Apprenticeship affords you the opportunity to work with experienced trainers and a wide variety of dogs which you will encounter in the course of your career as a trainer. Also by volunteering to work with local and shelter rescue groups you will be able to gain insight into a wide range of dog breeds and personalities. However when deciding on a trainer to mentor you, ensure that he is committed to improving his own education and that he is dedicated to human methods of training.

24 Hours In The Life Of A Dog Trainer

Have you ever wonder what entitles to be a certified dog trainer? What kind of education does it take to become a dog trainer? First and for most, the dog trainer must love pets, otherwise he would not enjoy his task and would be a hard task to have to train dogs day in and day out. Then he would have to take a course to become a certified dog trainer. It would be better if the dog trainer take a course of several months duration and that he or she have spent some time at a veterinarian office or at a dog training facility doing hands on work.

If you own a dog, you are very well aware that you are the center of your dog's life. And chances are that you love your pet dearly, but do you have all the knowledge and time required to train your dog? Training a dog has become a specialist's job. Not only do trainers apply to the pets the latest dog training tips, but they also need to know why the dog is acting or behaving in a particular way.

If you are not too excited about the idea of training your dog or about taking care of your pet training requirements, you should seriously consider hiring a dog trainer. The characteristics you should look in a trainer are patience and commitment to take care of dogs. You also want to be certain that the trainer uses positive reinforcement and not negative reinforcement or punishment to train your dog.

Most people postpone the dog training classes until their pet has developed a behavioral problem or the dog has become hostile and aggressive, or had bitten someone. Don't be like them. Don't wait until is too late. Preventing dog behavioral problems is a major instrument that dog trainers can help you with.

If you have ever seen a dog trainer in action, you probably noticed that as soon as they come into contact with the dog they seem to immediately be in control of the situation, and not the dog. This is a clear indication that this trainer is confident, and probably very knowledgeable about his career.

To effectively train a dog, the trainer must know how the dog's mind and body works. They also need to know how to effectively communicate with the pet. The best time to train your dog is when he is a young pup. Puppy training tends to be easier because dogs are more receptive to learning when they are in the early states of their life.

When you hire a dog trainer, he or she will provide you with multiple training techniques and methods that are tried and proved. You will have to apply these dog training techniques at home in a consistent basis. Don't make the mistake of believing that because you hired a dog trainer, you will not have to work with your dog. The contrary is true, the trainer will teach you how to handle your dog, but you will be responsible of applying these techniques at home.

Make certain that the dog trainer is certified, and you might even ask to see his certification papers. Remember your dog's future and yours even, are in this trainer's hands.

Don't get frustrated if your dog behaves better with the dog trainer that he does with you, this is actually normal. The trainer have more experience handling dogs than you do, and therefore he will come out more dominant toward your dog than you probably will. Just apply the learned dog training techniques properly and you will enjoy a well trained dog for many years to come.

How to Develop a Career As a Professional Dog Trainer

I named the voice in my car's GPS system Martin. I thought it was a suitably proper, British name for a voice that sounds remarkably real for being computer generated. At times, Martin provides me with a bit of amusement, such as when he says "At the roundabout, take the first right hand turning," or "If possible, make a u-turn. Oh Martin, you are so polite. If I was the voice in my car I might be tempted to say "You missed the turn again! Turn around, go back and follow my instructions." Luckily, I have far more skill and patience when teaching dogs and their people than when trying to navigate somewhere in my car.

Martin and I have had a generally good relationship. Although, not so much when I am lost and feel he isn't doing his part to get me on the right track. In the last year or so, I have started to feel that after five years together, Martin and I might be getting on each others nerves. As a result, I suspect he occasionally chooses to purposefully provide me with inaccurate directions or at least a route that is far longer than necessary. But, if we were in couples therapy I suspect the counselor would point out that in the end, Martin always gets me where I want to go. Even if it takes a bit longer than I had hoped.

For example, I was recently headed to upstate New York to visit a friend. They had given me directions to their house, but I figured it would be safer for me to let Martin know where we needed to go and let him talk me through it rather than rely on having to look down at a piece of paper while trying to focus on the road. My friend told me the trip would take no more than an hour and a half. Martin sent me on a path that took just over two. Maybe he wanted to see some of the prettier side roads? I arrived at my friend's house in a huff and announced that I would be calling the dealer to find out if I could replace Martin with a new GPS system. I had visions of Daniel Craig's voice leading me on the fastest route to wherever I wanted to go.

My friend pointed out that I was being a wee bit impractical. Not only would a new GPS system probably cost far more than it was worth, but it is highly unlikely that 'Bond, James Bond' is looking for side jobs as the voice of a GPS system. She also suggested that I might try to follow my own advice. I was reluctant to offer any gesture that she might interpret as encouragement to elaborate. So, I pointed out how beautiful her house was looking now that all the trees and pretty flowers were blooming. My distraction ploy didn't work. After a brief pause, she said "Didn't we just chat yesterday about how people need to be willing to slow down and take their time when trying to become a professional dog trainer? Maybe you should do the same when trying to get somewhere?" All the greenery, the birds chirping, and the presence of a good friend had started to put me in a positive, reflective mood. Maybe she was on to something?

Of the many emails my dog training school receives each week, at least five to ten are from people asking for advice on how to become a professional dog trainer. Some are very specific, such as "I want to be a dog trainer on TV. Can you tell me how to do this?" Others are more general, such as "I have always loved dogs and would love to spend my time with them rather than behind a desk. Can you tell me what my options are?"

Many of these inquiries include a question about possible attendance at a school for trainers. While I am sure there are plenty of people who have benefited greatly from this, I do not generally encourage people to do so if they are expecting to leave the school ready to start their career by offering private lessons or group classes. Six to eight weeks of schooling, whether in person or especially if on-line, is, in my humble opinion, not an ideal option. Just as I wouldn't expect to acquire the necessary skills and experience to become a piano teacher, high school math teacher, or counselor by attending a course of this type, neither is it likely that a person hoping to help others learn to teach their dogs will acquire the necessary skill in this time frame.

While some aspects of training dogs does not require an enormous amount of experience (for example, teaching a puppy to sit), the reality is that most pet parents expect a trainer to be equipped to assist them with a myriad of issues. Many of which are best resolved by someone who has dealt with the issue previously and successfully and has a full trainer's toolbox (filled with loads of experience) with which to do so. A 6-8 week training course might be a start for one's education, but enrollment should probably not be based on a hope to finish the program ready to start a career without much further study.

If you do choose a program such as this as a foundation for the beginning of your education, be sure to carefully research the program prior to enrolling. Make sure the school is devoted to human methods and look for a program that offers coursework that includes (but, is not limited to the following); Learning Theory (classical and operant conditioning, shaping, desensitization and sensitization, positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, motivations, generalization, and a history of training; Animal Behavior (development, genetic influences, body language, social and hormonal influences); Teaching Skills (screening, counseling and motivating clients, and designing courses and materials). While there are no formal requirements for dog trainers, if you are interested in certification consider contacting the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (

Working with dogs and their people has a very long list of upsides. The most obvious being that you get to meet and interact with loads of dogs (I am still thinking about the little Bullmastiff pup named Shelby I met last week. So cute!). Another list topper is the feeling you get when you have a client who goes from being frustrated with and even angry at their dog to beaming proudly as they show off all the new skills you helped them teach their canine buddy. Sometimes all it takes is helping to teach their dog to offer an automatic sit to greet people so that he doesn't jump on visitors. Sometimes it is more challenging, such as helping someone teach their dog to be able to rest calmly and quietly when left alone so the angry letters from neighbors and the landlord cease, or helping someone to better manage a dog with aggression issues. But, in every case the goal is the same; Helping people help their dogs to live better quality and happier lives. It's no surprise we get so many email inquiries from people about how to become a dog trainer. Who wouldn't want a career helping dogs to be happier?

As wonderful as so many things about being a dog trainer are, before you decide to quite your current profession is is important to carefully consider some of the realities of a career as a professional dog trainer. Many people tell me they want to be a trainer because they don't like people so much and would rather spend their time with dogs. But, when a dog walks into a group class or a private lesson, there is usually a person or two at the other end of the leash. At a bare minimum, 50% of a dog trainer's interactions are going to be with people. Actually, more likely 80-90% of their time is spent teaching people. So, if you are interested in a career as a dog trainer in part as a way of avoiding people, I would suggest you instead consider a position as a night watch person or a lighthouse keeper. To be a dog trainer you have to enjoy interacting with people on a pretty consistent basis. You are essentially coaching people to guide their dogs towards better behavior. And I am here to tell you, it is generally a lot of fun. But, when people ask me "What's the most difficult type of animal you have worked with?" My answer is usually something like this: "Out of all the many different types of dogs, cats and other animals I have worked with, the most difficult is by far...the human animal!" So, if you enjoy people and all the challenges that working with them to accomplish a goal that they may at times feel is frustratingly out of their reach, then read on.

Another reality of becoming a dog trainer is the typical range of monetary compensation that you can expect. Most dog trainers, even the best, don't live in fancy apartments or houses and many have a full-time job outside of their animal related career. Dog training is something they make time for during evenings and weekends. This allows them to maintain a stable income and in some cases health benefits (something many full-time dog trainers do not have). Of course, this means they work many hours a week, juggling two professions. Most aspire for training to eventually be their sole, full-time career. But, for most, it takes many years to build a reputation and practice that can sustain them. I spent two years apprenticing without pay and another two after that building my own practice while working numerous other jobs.

Some of the people who have written to me over the years have become part of my training team at my school in New York City. For them and myself, the path of our careers has been a long one that includes years spent apprenticing, reading, attending seminars and workshops and time spent hoping for the day when our professional life could be all dogs and their people, all the time. To follow are some of the steps we took to get here:

• Attend Classes with Your Dog: Join as many as you can afford with as many instructors as possible. This way you get a sense of various teaching styles. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to develop great hands on skills with your own dog.

• Read: Get your hands on as many books about training and animal behavior as you can. One of the first books I read on the topic, and the one that I credit with most inspiring me to teach dogs and their people as a profession, is Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot the Dog. Other authors I recommend are: Dr. Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson, Susan Garrett, Ken Ramirez, Kathy Sdao, Teoti Anderson, Gwen Bailey, Pam Dennison, and of course, my own books including Dog-Friendly Dog Training and Train Your Dog the Lazy Way.

• Attend Seminars and Workshops: There are loads of one day, weekend, and week long seminars offered throughout the year. Some of my best memories from the beginning of my career are the times spent at these sorts of events. In particular, I remember a John Rogerson seminar in California where the first day of the four day workshop was spent with him splitting us into groups and giving us problems to solve and tasks to accomplish. I suspect we would have learned a lot is we had been given the same challenges to do on our own. But, we learned a lot more than I had expected about group dynamics (great for people interested in teaching group classes) and how our behavior affects others. And to think it is all on tape somewhere.

• Volunteer: Volunteering at a local shelter or rescue group is a great way to be around dogs of a variety of sizes, ages, and temperaments. But, a word of caution: Do not apply to volunteer with the sole intent of adding to your experience. This is an endeavor that requires a serious commitment of time and energy for the main purpose of helping these groups care for the animals. Some, or much, of what yo umay be asked to do may be removed from being hands on with the animals (such as cleaning, envelope stuffing, assisting at adoption events, and answering phones). Regardless, it is a good thing to do all around.

• Join the APDT: Become a member and attend the Association of Pet Dog Trainers annual conference as there is no better place to meet and learn from so many of the foremost experts on animal behavior at one time. I attended the very first of these conferences many years ago and still rely on what I learned there and at subsequent conferences as a foundation for my approach to teaching. As a side benefit, you are sure to meet people who are similarly passionate about dogs and who may become lifelong friends and a source of ongoing support as you pursue your career.

• Foster: If you have the time, space and adequate dog experience, consider working with a local shelter or rescue group as a foster parent. You will be helping them to save the lives of more animals, and at the same time learning from each dog you care for.

• Apprentice: When I got my first dog as an adult I signed up for a puppy class before I brought him home. I can't remember what made me do something so wise, but it was one of the best decisions I have made. It resulted in me having a wonderful relationship with a mannerly, well-socialized dog, who became the love of my life. It also brought me an invitation to apprentice at the school. I suspect my obsessive completion of the weekly homework they handed out and my wide-eyed attention to every word they said in class might have given them the impression that I was very committed to learning about their profession. I apprenticed at the school for almost two years before they permitted me to teach private lessons and small group classes. Finding a school where you can apprentice means you will most probably spend many months watching as many classes as possible before you actually assist the instructor. From there, our apprentices may move on to teaching one exercise in a class, and then co-teaching with an experienced trainer. This sets a supportive foundation for gradual progression towards the ultimate goal of teaching classes on their own. Apprentices may also shadow a trainer on private lessons and progress in the same manner.

• Continuing Education: I am lucky to be friends with some of the most experienced and talented trainers around. Even they continue their education by learning from each dog and client they encounter, attending seminars and workshops and reading voraciously. So, plan on devoting time, energy and money to your ongoing education for years to come.

When I first started out as a dog trainer it was far from fashionable to have a career with animals. My response to the question "What do you do?" almost always resulted in something along the lines of an uncomfortable pause and then "Oh, a dog walker. That must be a good way to stay fit." Now, when people find out what I do, a more typical response is "Wow! That sounds like such a great job. I would love to do what you do!" The path to becoming a dog trainer can be a long one (I started almost 17 years ago), but I think Martin is right to sometimes take the slower, potentially more scenic route. I know for me it has brought me to a wonderful destination. My friend was right; If it takes a bit longer than expected to get where you want to go, just remember that as long as you end up where you want, it will be worth the trip.

How to Find a Certified Dog Trainer

Are you in the market for a dog trainer? Do you want your dog to learn from a top notch certified dog trainer? You may have dreams of seeing your dog in professional dog competitions and shows. Therefore, you need to have your dog trained by a certified dog trainer to ensure the best results.

Why should you hire a certified dog trainer instead of a basic dog trainer? A certified dog trainer is one that takes their dog training career seriously enough to become certified. You can feel comfortable in the fact that they have met high dog training standards and passed certification exams and tests. You don’t want a fly-by-night dog trainer, but a certified dog trainer that is in it for the long haul.

How do you find a certified dog trainer? There are numerous dog trainers available in the market place today. Dog trainers range in age, skill level, and experience. Your neighbor might tell you that they are a dog trainer because they have read a few books on the subject and taught their dog to fetch the newspaper. This is not sufficient dog training experience.

You should consult a variety of resources. Try asking your dog breeder, groomer, and veterinarian. They can direct you to local dog training schools that have certified dog trainers on their faculty. Various pet supply stores have dog training programs that train and certify their dog trainers. Example pet supply stores include PETCO.

However, research what they mean by “certification”. Is the certification by PETCO standards only or by a universal certification? Find out what the requirements are for their certified dog trainers. Only then can you determine if their dog trainers will supply the skill level and experience you desire.

You need to find a dog trainer that has had comprehensive training and can proudly demonstrate that they are a certified dog trainer. Be aware, though, that there are many “certified dog training” schools and home correspondence courses available. Not all of these schools are credible nor do they provide proper instruction. You need to find a dog trainer that has certification as described by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers.

The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers is a well respected organization that provides testing and certification services for dog trainers. They administer specific dog training tests in various states around the country approximately twice per year. These intensive tests root out the professional dog trainer from the average dog trainer. Check out their website at:

The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers also provides a listing of certified dog trainers. You can search through this listing to find a certified dog trainer in your area. This roster of certified dog trainers comprises certified dog trainers all over the world. The certified dog trainer list will give you their contact information including name, city, phone number, and e-mail address. Another great feature is that they list the date the dog trainer became certified. This will let you know how many years they have been in the dog training business. Peruse the list at: [].

Certified pet trainers do not only need to pass a certification exam and testing, they must also continue their education through workshops, conferences, and other means. When selecting a certified dog trainer ask them about the extent of their continuing education. You want a certified dog trainer that continues to hone their craft. They should actively learning about various dog training methods. This demonstrates that they are committed to providing the best dog training.

A certified dog trainer should have at least three to five years of dog training experience. This is especially true if they charge higher fees. You can take the plunge with a newly certified dog trainer if cost is an issue. Newly certified dog trainers may charge lower rates in order to establish a list of clients and garner experience. “Master” certified dog trainers are those that have twenty to thirty years of experience. They may have great skill and in depth background experience, but may come at a higher price.

You have the beginning knowledge regarding finding a certified dog trainer. Spend time searching resources available through your dog breeder, veterinarian, and pet supply store. Scour the book store, library, and Internet for detailed information. You can find a certified dog trainer in your area as well.

You wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor would you? So why would go to a trainer that is not certified? Certified dog trainers are out there and ready to help you and your pooch learn valuable skills. They are committed to your dog, their career, and learning everything they can about becoming a top notch dog trainer. Who knows, your certified dog trainer may help your dog win the Westminster dog show. Not only would your dog be trained well and achieve glory, but the expense would be well worth it.