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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-06-2014 04:30 PM
DJEtzel I like to see CPDT - KA certification, at least. That's worth quite a bit to me since it's an extensive certification and requires a lot of hands on training work with dogs and their owners.

I would also like to see titles if possible, depending on what I'm taking the class FOR, and/or word of mouth reviews and see other dogs the trainer has trained.
03-06-2014 04:10 PM
HOBY Certifications and performance awards are certainly to be respected but there is still no substitution for experience. I have noticed but never really zeroed in on certification even though we [client to trainer] have spoken about it along with experience. I always look for a trainer with a good pet side manor. As a client and sometimes trainer helper [over 45 years and many trainers] I feel a good trainer is one that offers proper instruction, advise, forms confidence in both dog and human and is firm without being judgmental. Being judge, jury and prosecutor toward someone seeking K9 advise is one way to kill a client wanting to have you for a trainer. I have seen trainers turn dogs around that were aggressive, fearful, nervous, timid or just to hard for the owner. It is remarkable and inspiring to witness this. It gives a client sound confidence in their trainer.
03-06-2014 02:18 PM
N Smith I do think certifications absolutely CAN show education - however, if all you need is to write an exam, or provide references IN MY OPINION, that certification would not hold weight as far as knowledge, for me. Maybe if it was paired with something else? I would still choose a good reputation and measurable results with various dogs over somone who had neither but was certified.

I apprenticed in a dog school that sees 450+ dogs a year, and trained everything from puppy to competition obedience, tracking, agility, rally-O and Tug work. I did that for 10 YEARS before I got certified. I also compete in IPO, Obedience, Rally-O and now Agility and started Herding. I also did rescue for 5 years and fostered, rehabbed and rehomed around 20 dogs in that time.

I was certified throught the FCI and Hungarian Kennel Club. I had to fly to Hungary and do a 14 day certification course, you must have been training for at least 7 years to participate. There are 4 levels of certification, I did the first. The next level you can only try for after 15 years training. We did 12 hour days, with morning being lectures and theory, afternoons we were on the field directing other trainers and students in various disciplines, we also had to "grade" the other trainers on their teaching abilities, and we were in turn graded. There was a written exam at the end, on the lecture material, as well as a practical Obedience and Protection exam. At the end, you had to compete in an IPO trial. The Master Trainer who did the course, said he was not juding how well the dog did, but how well the handler did handling the dog under pressure and through some high pressure scenarios. I put a BH on my young guy and an IPO 1 on my female with High in Tracking, Obedience and Protection and High in Trial.

So I now hold the Title of Certified Training Director, and my Level 'C' Helper Certification, which was required to be achieved as part of the Training Director certification. I taught classes well before I was certified, I think all of my experience was enough for most people to know that I could handle what they brought me. I did the certification because I could, and because I wanted to show that my experience and ability allowed me to earn that certification. But in the end 9 out of 10 people who come to me, do so because they heard from a friend/relative/complete stranger that I was the one to see if you wanted to get your dog trained/work out an issue.
03-06-2014 02:05 PM
Bequavious Honestly I feel like looking for a trainer is a bit like looking for a new employee. Yes, you want to see their "resume," their combination of education & experience with a "portfolio" of past dogs they've trained, but you also want to interview them. Sit in on a class if you're interested in classes. If it's individual training you're looking for maybe you can get the first session free or watch the trainer work someone else's dog. Once you see someone work a dog and actually talk to them, I feel like you get a much better sense of what kind of a trainer they are. Resumes and portfolios are really only important to narrow the field of people you're going to interview in my opinion
03-06-2014 01:47 PM
Effi'sDaddy All are good points. Even though people disagree which is most important it seems both can be helpful. I guess in a perfect world you would find a trainer who has the education, experience, and success in competition.

I would definitely have more respect for someone whose certification required a 5 year apprenticeship as well as other significant investments. Shows me dedication and commitment to the trade. Working in a profession where i had to complete a 5 year apprenticeship and had/took the opportunity to obtain many certifications that i didnt necessarily have to get, but wanted, to further my education and worth as a professional I can see the merits in such a certification.

But as others have said the proof is in the pudding, someone who has had a good bit of success in competition with a variety of dogs and handlers obviously knows what they are doing.

I guess ill take both into serious consideration when choosing a trainer. And maybe try a few out to find the perfect fit. Thanks everybody for the insight im confident ill make a better decision now.
03-06-2014 12:10 PM
wolfy dog
Originally Posted by boomer11 View Post
i'll take an experienced trainer with no schooling over a nice looking resume any day. like with most things in life, you can learn it but you dont really get it until you get out there and physically do it yourself.

do you realize how easy things look on tv??
Currently I am taking my pup to a class from a CPDT. I didn't know her previously as she is an hour drive out of my town and seemingly new. The reason I did is to socialize him and have him work amidst distractions, while knowing that I won't do anything against my own ideas and keep quiet when I disagree out of respect for her as she knows that I am a trainer as well. The only thing the title CPDT meant anything to me is that she probably wouldn't advocate outdated techniques.
So she has the education to be able to put CPDT in her signature but: she never introduced herself or us as students, doesn't have her dogs around, doesn't not have contact with the class, doesn't take/have time to answer questions after class (by email or phone only), have us sit idle most of the time to listen to theory and instructions. I am sure for the newbies in training it goes over their heads as the information is correct but too overwhelming. Then she complements on progress that my pup didn't show at that time. People who are struggling are not getting the help nor does she catch it.
So even though she has the education to prove it, she is not a good teacher. She maybe successful with her own dogs but is not very effective in teaching her students how to do it.
Teachers are born not made.
What I would love in certifications is that the organizations have the trainers observed, classes audited, feedback from students etc. Maybe there are organizations who do this and it would be nice to hear about those.
It is easy to sign a code of conduct and not have to answer for it (APDT).
The best trainer here in town is not certified in any way and I am not talking about myself
03-06-2014 03:36 AM
Blitzkrieg1 I also find it telling that the vast majority of top tier trainers do not have degrees in Animal Behavior.
Im sure it would be an interesting program but in no way does taking it make you a trainer or "behaviorist".
03-06-2014 03:29 AM
Originally Posted by mchcthrn View Post
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.
Ahh well we can agree to disagree, anyone can read up on operant conditioning and the various scientific definitions of what constitutes a reward and punisher. I do it because I enjoy it. However, it really deosnt make you a trainer. It can make you a better trainer but you dont really need those things to know how to train.

Training is being able to read a dog, understand what motivates it and what dissuades it. This coupled with a sense of timing and a healthy dose of common sense and your away to the races.

I guarentee you the majority of trainers at sport clubs in Europe (just an example) dont know the 4 quadrants or what constitutes positive punishmetn vs neg punishment. Yet those same clubs contain some the most skilled trainers in the world..certainly more skilled then 99.9% of pet trainers out there that know all that

Your comment about the E Collar kind of proves my point. There are many that have no issue using a collar effectively on a fearful or soft dog and achieving great results and would not agree in the least with your perspective on their effect on the dog.

There is no all knowing body that can certify trainers and I would definitely not trust one that claimed it could.

Remember my ethics arent your ethics arent joe blow's ethics. What you deem to be the right way I may deem to be the wrong way. There is no proven superior method / dog training system.

Different methods work for different dogs and people, there is no ONE way or one body that knows it all.
03-06-2014 01:56 AM
boomer11 i'll take an experienced trainer with no schooling over a nice looking resume any day. like with most things in life, you can learn it but you dont really get it until you get out there and physically do it yourself.

do you realize how easy things look on tv??
03-06-2014 01:41 AM
Cassidy's Mom
Originally Posted by Blitzkrieg1 View Post
I disagree an Exam proves nothing unless your actually training a dog.
Of course, but the certifications I linked to are not something you get simply by taking an exam, you DO have to have hands on experience training dogs.
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