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Old 03-05-2014, 10:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default how much merit should i put in certifications

When looking for and deciding on a trainer how much merit should i put in ones that have certifications from certain orginizations. Did they take a 6 hour class or more like a 6 month course? Are there better certs than others?

Is a trainer with good credentials necessarily better than one with none but good reviews from other dog owners?

Thanks
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It depends on the certification. It also depends (for me, anyway) on the other dog owner/s giving the review.

These certifications do mean something, and require both knowledge and hands on experience to acquire: Dog Trainer Certification I've also worked with a great trainer with no certifications at all. But she had titled multiple dogs in multiple venues and was highly knowledgeable about dog behavior in addition to having clearly demonstrated knowledge of training techniques through her success with her own dogs.

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Old 03-05-2014, 11:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would trust word-of-mouth, friends, dogs I've seen that have been through whatever program you're interested in with that trainer and judge by what I see. A piece of paper has no intrinsic value. The proof is in the pudding, not the recipe!
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would trust word-of-mouth, friends, dogs I've seen that have been through whatever program you're interested in with that trainer and judge by what I see.
^THIS would be worth a lot more to me than reviews from people I don't know.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
^THIS would be worth a lot more to me than reviews from people I don't know.
Videos of dogs the trainer has trained, titles achieved, real world experience. Certs mean they paid money and showed up, not that they can train.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Everyone can call themselves a trainer and everyone can design their own certificaction process. For many certifications it is good enough when you can learn well but nothing beats experiences and word of mouth. I personally think that certifications are a business in itself, like paying hundreds of dollars to sit for an exam that everyone can take with a brain.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As a trainer, I can tell you that I place a lot of stock in certifications. If someone is a CPDT-KA, I will likely refer to them over someone who is not. The CPDT-KA examination and requirements are pretty thorough. My other certification, CBCC-KA, required about 5 years of full-time training experience, plus referrals, plus an extensive exam that took about 6 months and $1.5k worth of materials to study for. These certifications prove my background in scientifically-based dog training and behavior modification. If a trainer tells me they just don't need it because they already know everything, then I wonder why they don't just take the exam if it is so easy. Either their not financially successful enough to afford the exam, or they don't really know the material.

There are so many trainers out their with lots of "experience", but when you start asking them about learning theory, ethology, husbandry, etc, they wouldn't be able to give you accurate answers. I don't want someone like that working with my dog.

I also place a strong emphasis on continuing education and provide the seminars and workshops I've attended to all of my clients.

In addition to seeing certifications, continuing education, testimonials, and videos, I encourage all of my clients to contact me with any questions that they might have. If we're not a good fit at the first session (has happened once in 8 years), I'll give them their money back, no problem. I think those are all important things to look for in a trainer.

Good luck and good for you for trying to find the best trainer for your dog!
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I disagree an Exam proves nothing unless your actually training a dog. Scientific theory is all well and good but is always changing. While a trainer should remain current on current theories in relation to teaching and behavior the rightness or wrongness of said theories is always debatable. You can debate ethology, husbandry etc till the cows come home.

In the end can you train a dog?
How many dogs have you trained?
Is there evidence you achieved results?
Have you titled a dog? Have you worked a dog in real world applications?
Can you fix behavior issues or create effective management strategies?

A trainers resume is their hands on experience and achievements, nothing else matters imo. Training is an art, not an academic achievment. You either have it or you dont.

So many people have degrees or certs but in the end they cant train just talk.

I know Bart Bellon, Balbanov and Michael Ellis can train dogs. I know Helmut Huber can train dogs and everyone's fav CM can fix dog behavior issues. I have no idea what paper certs they have, more then some and less then others and in some cases none.

They have the skill, and the learned experience as well as a body of work to prove what they say.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I completely disagree. It's not that certifications are the only thing that matter (experience, testimonials, videos, and working with the trainer are all very important too!), but, to me, certifications are a huge component of what makes a good trainer.

The certifications show education, which is critical to any trainer. It is not just an art, but also a science. Learning theory - the quadrants, classical conditioning, extinction, shaping - have been studied and proven by science. I want a trainer who understands these concepts. A trainer who understands these concepts things like slicing, shaping, appropriate usage of rewards and punishers is going to be lightyears ahead of someone who just apprenticed under another trainer, so now they call themselves a trainer.

This is the same reason why idiot trainers are putting e-collars are anxious dogs and making the dog 20x worse because they don't understand a basic concept like classical conditioning.

I look forward to the day when there is a standard certification and ethical guidelines required for all trainers. It will be better for the dogs and better for the owners.
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitzkrieg1 View Post
I disagree an Exam proves nothing unless your actually training a dog. Scientific theory is all well and good but is always changing. While a trainer should remain current on current theories in relation to teaching and behavior the rightness or wrongness of said theories is always debatable. You can debate ethology, husbandry etc till the cows come home.

In the end can you train a dog?
How many dogs have you trained?
Is there evidence you achieved results?
Have you titled a dog? Have you worked a dog in real world applications?
Can you fix behavior issues or create effective management strategies?

A trainers resume is their hands on experience and achievements, nothing else matters imo. Training is an art, not an academic achievment. You either have it or you dont.

So many people have degrees or certs but in the end they cant train just talk.

I know Bart Bellon, Balbanov and Michael Ellis can train dogs. I know Helmut Huber can train dogs and everyone's fav CM can fix dog behavior issues. I have no idea what paper certs they have, more then some and less then others and in some cases none.

They have the skill, and the learned experience as well as a body of work to prove what they say.

^^^ This! I apprenticed for a trainer who's business was down the way from a "big name" dog training school. It always made me laugh how many resume's and calls would come in from fresh graduates. I specialize in... as they go on to list 15 different "specialties". That's an awful lot of specialties haha. How much actual experience do they have? School where they earned a certificate and maybe trained their pet dog. Yeah, I'll stick with hands on experience.
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