In 2010, the Association for Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) designated the month of January as the National Train Your Dog month. Its purpose, according to the APDT website, is “bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun.”
It makes a total sense to make socialization and training top of mind for pet parents during January. Why? Because many canines join their new human families during the holiday season. Over the the next several days, I’d like to focus on three aspects related to training your dogs: trainer selection, training philosophies and time dedicated to training.
Selecting a trainer for your dog: Unfortunately, dog training is not a well-regulated industry and just about anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. You’re probably scratching your head at this point thinking how do I know if my dog trainer is the “real thing.”
Look for a trainer who is certified. At minimum, the trainer you select should have the abbreviation of the most basic certification following their last name: CPDT-KA – Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed. This means that a trainer is third-party certified and their knowledge has been assessed by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). Certified dog trainers are required to re-certify every three years by completing a specific amount of continuing education credits; adhering to Least Invasive Minimally Aversive approach to behavior modification and training, also known as LIMA Principles; and following the rules of a rigorous Code of Conduct.
Think of a CPDT-KA certification as a guarantee that your trainer is well educated and up-to-date on the all the latest dog-training methodology and approaches, and that the tactics and training tools they use will not be detrimental to your puppy’s behavior or negatively impact your dog’s behavior in the future. Check out the CCPDT.org website for a listing of a certified dog trainer near you.
About the Author
Tatiana Yastremski, M.A. CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, IAABC CSB-D, is Knowledge Assessed, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed Certified Canine Behavior Consultant, and IAABC Certified in Shelter Behavior, specializing in dogs. Her dog behavior and training experience is very diversified through her work with shelter dogs and private training. In her dog training business, Totally Trainable, LLC, Tatiana's objective is to help humans and their dogs build a bond of trust through positive reinforcement training, clear and succinct communication, patience and love. Tatiana specializes in aggression, reactivity and fear-based behaviors.