Becoming a Dog Trainer

This forum is all about training and behavior. Everything from potty training to working titles!

Postby kymn25 » June 9th, 2006, 2:50 pm

I would like to become a better dog trainer even become certified. I have no formal training just suggestions from others and books. Ultimately I would like to be able to evaluate and do behavior training for Pit Bulls in rescues and shelters.

Anyone know how I would go about doing this.
Pit Bulls know they are THE face of extinction. All that remains is where they make their final stand. Say NO to BSL!

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Postby mnp13 » June 9th, 2006, 3:01 pm

Find a trainer that you like and apprentice under them. Book learning is fine, but in some ways is a huge waste of time without hands on experience. You need experience with a large variety of breeds, temperaments and problems so that you will be able to meet the needs of your clients.

As for certification, you can be a "certified trainer" by reading a book and taking a test. No hands on needed.

Skip the certification and put entry level titles on your personal dogs in every sport and disipline you can think of. In my opinion, if you can't earn the titles yourself you have no business teaching. Actually, I think you should earn one step above.

I know a trainer who calls himself a "professional" and has a bunch of clients. the only title he has EVER put on a dog is CGC. I am amazed at the number of people who just blindly go to a trainer without a single credential and whose own dog doesn't even follow basic obedience commands.
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Postby Maryellen » June 12th, 2006, 8:20 am

also start going to seminars being given by professionals, they are costly, but if you want to be a trainer you need to have so many hours of seminars too.. the APDT http://www.apdt.com/ has seminars all the time, all over, and you can find trainers in the book if they are close toyou to apprentice over.
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Postby Patch O' Pits » June 16th, 2006, 11:33 am

Good advice.

I learned the most from my dogs themselves but I've also gone to workshops and trained under some really great and raelly crappy trainers. You take what you can from each person and use what works for you and the dogs.
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Postby msvette2u » June 16th, 2006, 11:50 am

http://www.aocb.com/

These people do apprenticeships.
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Postby realpitbull » June 19th, 2006, 11:37 am

1) Read the latest books on training and learning theory (not just dog-specific, but in general, and you can also learn a lot from the exotic animal training field).

2) Join APDT ( http://www.apdt.com ) - they are still probably the best resource for dog trainers; they also offer health, life and liability insurance for trainers. IAABC ( http://www.iaabc.org ) is growing,a great resource, and I've been really impressed with them so far.

3) Get as much hands-on experience as possible. Volunteer with a shelter or rescue. You can learn SO MUCH from rescue dogs. When I first started out, I offered services free or deeply discounted to people who adopted dogs from the rescues I was volunteering with. This is a great, non-pressure way to get experience teaching people.

4) Attend seminars. APDT is a good resource for this.

5) You don't have to become certified, but since the field seems to be learning towards a more structured state and/or licensing, certification may help you get ahead of the game. Also, for the purposes of letting your clients know you are a legitimate trainer, certification can be helpful. There are TONS of "certification programs" out there. The only ones I put stock in are the CPDT, IAABC certification, and the various behavior consultant/behaviorists orgs' certifications out there. Some of these require at the very least a master's degree. CPDT and IAABC require field-related knowledge and experience, only, no degrees.

6) And speaking of degrees, a psych degree is a great help.

Just some stuff I had to figure out the long and hard way. :D
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Postby kymn25 » June 19th, 2006, 12:15 pm

Thanks everyone for such great info. It's really helped a lot. :clap:
Pit Bulls know they are THE face of extinction. All that remains is where they make their final stand. Say NO to BSL!

http://www.Ucarerescue.net
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Postby pitprincess » June 23rd, 2006, 2:17 pm

They also have programs you cam do online to get certified, if you really feel its necessary.
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Postby realpitbull » June 23rd, 2006, 3:26 pm

pitprincess wrote:They also have programs you cam do online to get certified, if you really feel its necessary.


The only online cert program that I think has any merit (out of the ones I know about, and I really searched long and hard) is the Cynology College courses (and they don't really "certify", it's more take the course and then you graduate with a degree).
Mary Harwelik, CPDT
Certified Trainer - Pit Bull Specialist
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http://www.realpitbull.com
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Postby katiek0417 » June 23rd, 2006, 9:03 pm

http://www.ccpdt.org/

This is the certification council for pet dog trainers...the one recommended by the association of pet dog trainers.

Please not that the association also recommends apprenticing, etc...
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