About a year ago, a wonderful friend and dog training colleague persuaded me to study with her for the certification exam for pet dog trainers. I had only recently heard about the certification and had briefly looked into it, not being sure if it was something I wanted to do or not. After much thought and prayer, I decided it was not only in my best interest, but also in the best interest of our students (past, current, and future!) to become a Certified Pet Dog Trainer through a reputable, objective, standardized organization. The "gold standard" for the pet dog training industry is the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT).
In order to even take the CPDT-KA certification exam, a trainer must have experience training dogs (at least 300 hours), at least a high school diploma (or equivalent), and three references. Once those requirements are met, the trainer is given permission to sit for the exam. Once a trainer passes the exam and is certified, the trainer must maintain certification by attending continuing education opportunities and acquiring a set number of continuing education units (CEU's) over a three-year period. If these CEU's are not maintained, the trainer must retake the exam to maintain the certification.
The following information is from a Certfication Council of Professional Dog Trainers' flyer that is available for distribution by certified trainers:
"A trainer who has received the CPDT credential has met eligibility requirements and has successfully demonstrated his or her knowledge by passing the certification exam. To meet eligibility requirements, candidate trainers must have: at least 300 hours experience in dog training within the last five years; a high school diploma or equivalent; and one reference each from a veterinarian, a client, and a professional colleague. Knowledge of dog behavior and application of training techniques are assessed in the following content areas:
Learning Theory * Instruction skills * Husbandry * Ethology * Equipment.
Certified Pet Dog Trainers maintain their credential through continuing education by attending workshops, conferences, and hands-on seminars for professional dog trainers. This continuing education requirement ensures that Certified Pet Dog Trainers are knowledgeable about the most current thinking, research, and techniques in the field."
I am pleased and proud to share that I sat for the exam in late March and passed with flying colors! There was a lot of reading and studying and a lot of stress as we prepared to take the test -- but both my friend and I passed and can now put the letters "CPDT-KA" after our names (CPDT-KA stands for Certified Pet Dog Trainer -- Knowledge Assessed). But more importantly we feel we are offering our students instruction that is humane, cutting edge, scientifically based, and based on the industry "gold standard." We are very excited about the doors this opens and the opportunities it presents for both of us, for our students and their dogs. This was a difficult leg of our journey, but worth every step of it!!!
When you are looking for a dog trainer, please use the CCPDT and/or APDT Trainer Searches on their websites. (APDT -- Association of Pet Dog Trainers -- NOT a certifying organization but a supporting organization for all dog trainers. APDT recognizes the commitment and accomplishments of certified dog trainers and lists those who have earned the certification as "Professionals" in their Trainer Database. To be listed on the APDT Trainer Search, trainers pay a membership fee. To be listed on the CPDT Trainer Search, you must be certified. No membership fee is paid by the trainer to the CCPDT.) Both are wonderful organizations and I am privileged to be listed by both of them. Either or both of them will help you in your search for a great dog trainer.
The Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers website: www.ccpdt.org.
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers website: www.apdt.com.
My friend's, Annie Schiller CPDT-KA, website: www.heavenlydays.org.
Until next time, continue enjoying the journey with your beloved canines!!! Happy Mother's Day to all moms, grandmas, daughters, sisters, aunts, and friends (both human and canine)!!! Have a wonderful day!!!
You can now sign me,
Laurie Buchele CPDT-KA
P.S. Special thanks to my family, friends and students who put up with me and encouraged me while I read and studied. I know I wasn't very easy to deal with and I appreciate your support!!! Thank you so much!!!