How to Find a Professional Trainer
Are you wanting to go to school with your dog? The great thing is you get to choose your teacher!
Also called “dog trainers”, “dog training coaches” or for dogs with behavior challenges, “behavior consultants”, they offer online and in-person private sessions and group sessions. Online classes may be self-guided or teacher guided. Choose what works best for you and your dog.
To find a human training coach that will work for you and your family, here are 5 tips:
- Look for a clear statement of a rewards-based science and ethical approach on their website. R+ trainers are proud that they teach you and your dog using principles that are family-friendly and effective without causing stress to you or your dog. If they don’t say, you can ask them!
- Look for coaches that have training experience and credentials with people as well as dogs – after all, they are teaching YOU first, then you teach your dog!
- If online, look for a sample class. If in person, ask if you can watch a class before you sign up. Alternatively due to Covid19, ask if they have a video of a past class you can watch. This allows you to see how instructors interact with people and dogs and if their teaching approach and the physical space works for you.
- Look for testimonials and ask for references before you layout money. Talk to those references.
- Check that their refund policy before you pay. Many trainers have a “no-refund” or “limited refund” policy.
Some trainers and behavior consultants will hold certifications from the professional organizations listed below. Others may hold other credentials such as diploma, university degrees, and Master’s degrees in a related subject area (such as zoology, animal behavior, education, psychology etc.) and most often are a member of a professional organization who has a statement of ethics that members must follow. If trainers list their certification on their website, it is helpful to make sure they are listed as a current member of the organization. Be aware that dog training is an unregulated field and anyone can claim they are a dog trainer!
Directories of Trainers
Below are directories of trainers who have been certified by their programs. Click on the link to search for a trainer in your area.
- PPG Pet Professional Guild
- KPA Karen Pryor Academy
- ADT Academy for Dog Trainers ADT
- IPDTA International Positive Dog Training Association
- IACP International Association of Canine Professionals
- ISCP International School for Canine Psychology
- IMDT Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (UK)
- Victoria Stillwell Dog Training Academy
- CATCH Dog Trainers
- Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws
- BCSPCA Animalkind
- Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists
- CCPDT Certification for Professional Dog Trainers (LIMA-allow prong at this point)
- IAABC International Association of Behavior Consultants (LIMA -allow prong at this point)
- German R+Trainers (deutschsprachige Hundetrainer)
Specialty Certificate Programs
These certifications offer specialties in specific topics of handling or training a dog. They may be completed in addition to the certifications above or as stand alone specialities.
- Low Stress Handling
- Fear Free Professional (trainer, groomer, veterinarian)
- CSAT Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer
- Behaviour Adjustment Training BAT CBATI
- Aggression in Dogs
- Clothier Animal Response Assessment Tool CARAT
- Do More with Your Dog Trick Training
- Service Dog Training Instructors
- Family Paws (for coaching families with children and dogs)
- Behavior Works LLA (focuses on behavior in animals)
- CASI Companion Animal Science Institute specializes in Nutrition and Fitness
- TAG Teaching Teaching with Acoustical Guidance (to teach training coaches to teach people)
Professional Training Associations
It may be helpful to join one of these organizations as you can network with like-minded people and members agree to follow specific ethical standards.
- PACTA BC Professional Animal Care and Training Association (of British Columbia)
- AFFA Alberta Force Free Alliance
- CAPDT Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Nov. 2022-Members agree to not use prong and e-collars.
- APDT AU Association of Professional Dog Trainers Australia
- APDT UK Association of Professional Dog Trainers UK