DOG TRAINING HAS EVOLVED, as the industry’s research and understanding of how dogs learn has increased, and as the desire for the humane treatment of animals has grown. Modern dog training has academic thrust. It is research and evidence-based, complex and the most effective yet.
Modern dog training uses learning theory methods that are similar to how educators teach humans in schools today. Because dogs don’t have language, this adds greater complexity to communication so the teaching method (reward) has adapted. In world-class animal training, the emphasis is placed on positive-based learning (rewarding good behaviour) without inhumane consequences for bad behaviour.
When looking for a Certified Trainer, search those who have specialty in the issue you are trying to resolve. This information is generally indicated in the trainer directories, linked below, and certainly on each Trainer’s website.
The most credible institutions for dog training certification:
Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior
These Certified Trainers will use KPA CTP within their designation.
> Access this Academy’s Trainer Directory.
Pet Professional Guild (PPG)
PPG is a renowned membership Guild, committed to force-free principles, humane animal training and treatment, and education. These Certified Trainers firmly uphold a Do No Harm philosophy and explicitly reject aversive tools, like prong, choke and shock collar and other corrections-based tactics.
> Access PPG’s Trainer Directory
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
CCPDT is an assessment body that provides certification to graduates who want the CCPDT credentials. And to those who are self-taught through a combination of industry leading books, mentoring, supervised training hours earned and self-study. These Trainers will use CPDT-KA within their designation (Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed).
> Access this organization’s Trainer Directory.
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Certified Trainers will use CDBC within their designation, or ACDBC if they are Associates. See the Core Areas of Competency (PDF) document for more information on competencies achieved.
> Access this organization’s Consultant Directory.
Trainers from these institutions are academically achieved in positive, science-based training. They are certified and transparent, giving owners a customized training plan for their pups, in addition to teaching the methods so owners can continue training at home. They have professional credentials and do not refer to themselves as dog whisperers. Beware of those who do.
Training applies throughout the stages of a dog’s life. Troubleshooting specific behaviours can take a fair bit of time, depending on how entrenched they are, so Owners are far better off learning the necessary skillset to carry training forward for as long as it takes.