Many dog trainers throw out the term as part of their certifications or credentials. While all that sounds impressive, did you know that there are no national qualifications to become dog trainers? That is right – anyone can open up shop and start to take money to train dogs.
What does it mean when someone says they are a trained dog trainer if there are no national certifications for trainers? This is usually because these trainers have participated or completed some sort of course and have been granted the certification title by the particular group or organization of dogs. Take that as impressive as that might be — for what it is worth.
Different organizations have different requirements for certification of a dog trainer. Some have just a written test, while others have to demonstrate practical uses of skills. Some certifications require years of experience while others will confirm who can pay the processing fees associated with sending a diploma. Some are totally online and require that you never touch or train a dog.
Oh, one more thing: there are no requirements or certifications required to become an organization that offers certifications to dog trainers. For example, you or your neighbor could open a business called the canine development society (this name is fictional and any resemblance to a legitimate organization is not intended) and charge people for certifications through your organization.
Unfortunately, certification alone is not enough qualification to help a dog owner, because certification is much more important than certification. While reading testimonials from happy clients, watching videos of trained dogs, gaining referrals from friends and following a specific training company 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 their programs, answer your questions and tell you if their products and services are of value to you and your dog. It is only fair to obtain and gather information before deciding to hire a dog trainer because that trainer should make it as simple as possible for you to do this.