Finding a professional trainer to entrust your dog with can be challenging. While many well-qualified trainers give excellent, scientifically-validated advice, there are currently no required credentialing or licensing programs for professional animal trainers. Many trainers, including those featured on television and radio use methods that are not scientifically sound and may, in some cases, be harmful to the animals they train and people they live with. How do you find the right trainer for your dog? Several organizations do offer voluntary credentialing programs. Trainers with credentials from these organizations have demonstrated their knowledge of and experience with scientifically validated training techniques.
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainer (CCPDT)
The CCPDT is committed to establish and maintain humane standards of competence for dog training and behavior professionals through independent testing and certification based on experience, standardized testing, skills, and continuing education. It offers two levels of accreditation:
- CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
- CPDT-KSA Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skill Assessed
Find a CCPDT certified professional dog trainer
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Members of the IAABC are committed to minimize the use of aversive stimuli and maximize the effective use of reinforcers to modify animal behavior. Members adhere to the LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) and the IAABC Code of Ethics principle and must meet specific requirements for two levels of accreditation:
- Certified Members: Demonstrate competency in six core areas, including assessment and intervention strategies, consulting skills, knowledge of animal behavior, and species-specific knowledge
- Certified Associate Members: Demonstrate competence in at least three of the six core areas of competence.
Locate an IAABC certified member
- The Pet Professional Guild
This is a membership organization representing pet industry professionals who are committed to results- based, science-based, force-free training and pet care. They offer three levels of accreditation:
- Canine Training Technician – Complete an online examination and submit skill videos.
- Professional Canine Trainer – Complete an online examination and submit skill videos
- Professional Canine Behavior Consultant – Complete an online proctored exam, submit skill videos for assessment and also complete and submit individual case studies.
Find a Pet Professional Guild member
- Karen Pryor Academy (KPA)
The KPA certification program is based on the most up-to-date behavior science and modern training and teaching practice. Individuals learn best practices that distinguish them as professional dog trainers.
- Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)
Locate a KPA Certified Trainer
- Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT)
The ADPT serves as an industry networking resource for trainers, a source for educational opportunities and a resource for individuals seeking information about dog trainers.