For many years I didn't think I needed any kind of certification. Dog training is an unregulated industry, there are no requirements for certification or other proof of competency. I thought that my experience and education spoke for themselves, and was waiting for regulation to get certified. Over the last several years however, my attitude has changed.
Certification from a widely recognized and respected organization is an indication of competence and confidence in my work. The more folks who become certified in the animal behavior & training field, the higher the standards will be set, allowing the public to demand a certain level of expertise. It also demonstrates to my colleagues that I am serious about promoting ethical, humane training and behavior modification methods.
After much research I decided to apply to the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. I am so excited to be a an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the IAABC an organization filled with trainers and behavior consultants I truly respect. The IAABC has high standards for admission including letters of endorsement, a written test (not multiple choice) and the submission of case studies. I received 100% on my case studies and 97.86% overall score. When you work with me you can rest assured that I have a thorough knowledge of learning theory and it's application in dog training and behavior modification.
When you're looking for a dog trainer, you need to know who you can entrust with the car of your furry family member. This is why I started the Vermont Professional Dog Trainers Network. Our trainers adhere to strict ethical standards and many are certified through the following organizations:
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
The Karen Pryor Accademy (KPA)
Internation Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB)
Academy for Dog Trainers (CTC)
Next time you need a trainer or behaviorist, look at their credentials, their education, experience and don't hesitate to ask for references from current or former clients! Transparency is key, and any trainer worth their salt will have no issue providing you with proof of their competency.
Emily Lewis is a professional dog trainer and veterinary technician. She lives in Vermont with her three rescue dogs, tuxedo cat, corn snake, crested geckos and Russian tortoise.