Dog Training Course
Do you feel you should take a dog training course? Well, who certifies dog trainers? Nobody, officially; this is an unregulated field. At this time, the only credible organization certifying trainers is the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI). NADOI has an extensive evaluation process, and only certifies experienced trainers. A NADOI certification is a definite feather in your cap, but that option isn’t available to new instructors.
At this time, NADOI and the APDT are the only organizations recognized by professional trainers and veterinarians.
What qualities do you need in order to be a good trainer? First of all, you should be aware that your primary job will not involve training dogs; it will involve training people! Most of your time will be spent teaching the owner how to train his or her dog. Good communication and people skills are a top priority. You will need a great deal of flexibility, as well as the ability to see other people’s point of view.
Accredited colleges do not offer dog training programs. Most colleges do offer some courses which would be beneficial as background information, such as Psychology of Learning or similar classes dealing with applied learning theory.
There are several private dog training academies throughout the country, most not worth the price of attendance. Remember, NADOI and the APDT are the only “certification” entities recognized by trainers and veterinarians in the US, so an individual school’s “Master Trainer” or “Certified Trainer” title may wow your future students, but is a rather meaningless accolade.
If you should decide to go to a training school, avoid the ones boasting that they can teach you everything about all aspects of dog training in one course. Each field of dog training is its own separate field of expertise, and it takes years to become expert in any ONE area. “Learn obedience training, behavior problem solving, personal protection training, police dog training, tracking, search and rescue, assistance dog training, and how to run your own business in just six weeks,” is not a realistic claim. There are no “secrets of professional dog trainers.”
Another problem with most training schools is that they tend to teach only one “method.” There is no one training method you can learn that will work on all dogs in all situations, or even come close. In order to be a good trainer, you have to know many, many training methods, and preferably know enough about canine behavior and how dogs learn to make up your own methods to fit a given situation.
And, just as anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, anyone can run a school for dog trainers. Buyer beware!