While searching for keywords, I ran across this phrase. I am shocked and appalled that someone is actually searching the Internet for “How to Purchase a Certified Dog Trainer Certificate!” I would hope that no one who cares about dogs would think that simply purchasing a certificate qualifies them to become a professional dog trainer. I hope that the person using this phrase really meant to search for something like “what does schooling to become a dog trainer entail?” Or “what’s involved in becoming a certified dog trainer?”
Because the dog industry is not regulated and currently has no uniformly accepted standards, anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves a professional dog trainer. One of my personal (and professional) goals is to help professionalize our industry – which includes comprehensive education and standardized testing for professional dog trainers.
In the last 50 years, our society has changed drastically. When I was a kid my mother would go to work, my brother and I would go to school, and my dog Spot would roam the neighborhood. This was pretty normal for most dogs, at that time. This practice provided them with the opportunity to socialize and learn how to live in their world, as well as providing ample mental enrichment and physical exercise. Today parents go to work, kids go to school, and dogs stay indoors (often in a crate or other confined area) or in the back yard. There are both good and bad consequences to both of these scenarios.
|In the good ol’ days dogs:|
The point of this chart is to illustrate that the problems we see with dogs today are much more complex than the problems of 50, or even 20, years ago. Owners are less willing to give up their dog simply because it has behavior problems and will go to the expense and trouble of hiring a consultant.
However, because the problems are more complex, consultants need more formal education. Aggression and anxiety are high-stakes problems and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you risk serious injury to people and dogs, potential death to other household pets (and occasionally, but rarely, humans), and death to the dog displaying these problem behaviors. Even with less serious behaviors such as housetraining, jumping up and digging, if the problems are not resolved the dog often ends up in a shelter.
To sum up, I hope everyone who cares about dogs will encourage professionals to become certified professional dog trainers, and to always continue educating themselves. The scientific community is doing fascinating and wonderful things in the areas of behavior and cognition, and we are learning more and more about dogs every day!
Two organizations certifying dog trainers that I recommend are the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (www.CCPDT.org) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (www.IAABC.org)