Many dog trainers throw out the term “Certified Dog Trainer” as part of their credentials or qualifications. While this sounds impressive, did you know that there are no national certifications or qualifications to becoming a dog trainer? That’s right, anyone can open up shop and start taking money to train dogs. Pretty scary, huh?
So if there are no national certifications for dog trainers, what does it mean when someone says that they are a certified dog trainer? Well in most cases, these trainers have participated in or completed some type of course and have been given the certification title from that particular dog organization or group. As impressive as that may be, take that for what it’s worth.
Different organizations have different requirements for certifying a dog trainer. Some simply have a written test while others have to demonstrate practical applications of skills. Some certifications require years of experience while others will certify anyone who can cover the processing fee associated with mailing out a diploma. Some are completely online and don’t require you to ever actually touch or train a dog. Oh, one more thing: there are no requirements or certifications needed to become an organization that offers dog training certifications. For example, you or your neighbor could open a business called “Canine Development Society” (this name is fictional and any resemblance to a legitimate organization is not intended) and start charging people for certifications through your organization. Start to get my point?
Unfortunately, simply being certified is not qualification enough to be able to help a dog owner, being qualified is much more important than being certified. So here is my biggest piece of advice: While reading testimonials from happy clients, watching videos of trained dogs, getting referrals from friends, and following a training company on Facebook are all good ways to learn more about a particular company, setting up a face to face consultation is the most effective way to really understand a trainer’s experience, effectiveness, ability to communicate, and professionalism.
Sitting down with a trainer allows them to meet your dog, learn about the programs they offer, get your questions answered, and will let you know if their products and services are of value to you and your dog. It’s only fair to get and gather information before deciding to hire a dog trainer, that trainer should make it as easy as possible for you to do exactly that.
If you live in the Austin area and are looking to sit down and chat about training for your dog, consider signing up for a free consultation and evaluation with us. We can’t wait to meet you and your dog!