This is not a paper to be graded -this is off my mind writing as what i know and understand about my field. I may have missed several titles and schools as there are many. Anyone can say he or she is a dog trainer : the field is unregulated, which means one does not need any special training to be a “trainer.” This is because society does not understand dogs and therefore cannot understand those who work with dogs. This is amazing to me, since dogs have lived beside us for so long. There is a great discussion among professionals for the need to regulate the industry.I do not feel it will help much. Charlatans will always find a way to do what they want. Most consumers are influenced by what they see in front of their faces - commercials, ads and Facebook posts. Only people with significant dog behavioral issues do any research about who they hire to help them. Until the general population is properly educated about dogs, dog behavior and who can help them -regulation will not help.
Obedience Instructor: a person who teaches dog owners how to train their dogs. She may talk and/or display the steps to teach the dog obedience cues such as come, sit, down, stay, etc.An instructor teaches a group of students and may or may not ever handle her clients’ dogs.
Dog Trainer: Anyone who says he is one. He may teach classes, or offer private sessions or anything in between. A Dog Trainer may use any method or methods to train a dog -which means make it obey or behave in the desired way and solve behavioral issues.Some Dog Trainers have received schooling from somewhere, but have not been tested for knowledge by an independent organization. There are endless ways to become a Dog Trainer.
Certified Dog Trainer: a person who has received some schooling and passed a test to become a dog trainer. These are often basic level trainers. Some may have no experience, some require 2 years. Each certifying body determines the qualifications needed for this title. ABCDT -Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer . This is a year long program that has book study, testing and 18-30 hours on hands on experience under a mentor. IAABC-CDC - International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants -Certified Dog Trainer. There are also Certified Dog Trainer Advanced and Professional Dog Trainer Instructor certifications. There are many ways to become a Certified Trainer. There are many other schools and organizations that issue a certification in some for of trainer or technician.
Professional Dog Trainer: A person who works part or full-time and has some credentials, which may be a Certificate of Dog Training from a school or organization. A Professional Dog Trainer’s role is to teach the dog and/or owner to practice the proper behaviors to teach the dog to listen to commands or cues and modify minor behavior problems. Education and experience varies greatly. Top organizations to get certified through are CCPDT, IAABC and The Academy for Dog Trainers and Karen Pryor Academy.
Certified Professional Dog Trainer: All of the above, but has a Certification from an independent professional organization that proves at least some level of knowledge and documented hours of training dogs. two biggest are CCPDT and IAABC as well as Karen Pryor Academy and The Academy of Dog Trainers.
Certified Canine Behavior Consultant: A person who has worked with fearful and aggressive for at least 500 hours and has passed a test from an independent organization. A person with this title has expertise and experience working with difficult cases and has skills working with people and follows ethical guidelines.
Veterinarian Behaviorist:Veterinary behaviorists are trained to address the relationships between an animal’s health, environment, experiences and its behavior. They have extensive knowledge of psychotropic medications, their uses, potential side effects and interactions with other medications, and are licensed to prescribe them when indicated. These are the Psychiatrists of dogs. The closest Vet Behaviorist is in Gainesvile at UF.
Animal Behaviorists: Behaviorists are certified through Animal Behavior Society or have a masters degree in Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists have a Master’s Degree in a biological or behavioral science and at least two years of professional experience in the field. Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists have a doctorate in biological or behavioral science with five years of professional experience in the field. Most do not practice, but teach, do research and provide evaluations and recommendations that then get implemented by a good trainer. If we have one in Jax, I am unaware -possibly working at the zoo?
These labels fly around Jacksonville. Go to the person who has the qualification for your dog issue .You do not want someone with not enough nor so you want someone with more qualifications than you need. Look up the letters after their names. Look up the schools they’ve attended. The responsibility is on each dog owner -YOU decide who to hire for YOUR problem.
I have the following - ABCDT -Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer - One year of book study and tests as well as 30 hours with a mentor.
CCPDT - Certified Professional Dog Trainer - 300 hours of working as head trainer with dogs as well as a letter from another CCPDT recommending me for the test and passing the test. To maintain this certification, I am required to earn CEUs from continuing education.
CCBC -Certified Behavior Consultant - 500 hours of working directly with fearful or aggressive dogs, a letter of recommendation and passed the test. To maintain this certification, I am required to prove that I have continued my education by earning CEUs.
In addition to the above, I had the best mentor of all time, Bob Hammesfahr -of which no organization can quantify and why I do not believe regulation will make the field better. The best trainers seek the best education!
I am not the trainer for everyone. I charge a lot to go to a client’s home because I have a lot of hours and dollars invested in my job and I am one of only two people in Jacksonville to hold a CCBC. I am not trying to toot my horn, but to answer the many questions and misconceptions about dog trainers and help you better choose the right one for you.