7 Best Dog Training Certification Programs:Steps to Take

Dog training is a great way to teach your dog new skills and behaviors. If you want to become a certified trainer, then you should consider taking any of the best dog training certification programs from a reputable organization that we are about to list.

There are several organizations that offer certifications in dog training.

The American Kennel Club offers a variety of certificates, including Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT), Canine Good Citizen (CGC), and Companion Animal Behavior Technician (CABC).

Certification programs are designed to ensure that trainers are qualified to train dogs. They also provide a framework for evaluating the quality of training sessions.

There are over 2 million dogs in the United States alone. The number of pet owners has increased dramatically over the last decade. As a result, the demand for professional dog trainers has also grown.

Certification programs vary widely in terms of cost, length, and requirements. Some programs require only a short course of study, whereas others take years to complete. 

In addition, some programs focus on specific areas of dog training, such as obedience, agility, or therapy. Others offer comprehensive courses that cover multiple topics.

What Does A Dog Trainer do

A dog trainer is a specialist who teaches owners how to handle their dogs while also training dogs.

Dog trainers can work with animals, teaching them to follow instructions from their owners or to eliminate undesirable behaviors like chewing on furniture. 

Additionally, they might train dogs for events like agility contests or employment in law enforcement.

Dog trainers may work for dog training businesses or individually, training dogs in their own establishment. 

Depending on the particular dog and the work environment, their responsibilities may change. 

Typical duties could include: 

  • meeting dogs and owners to evaluate behavior right now.

  • putting together a training program to assist the owner and dog in achieving a set of training goals.

  • directing a group training session for agility or basic obedience course.

  • teaching canines and their owner’s spoken commands.

  • Teaching dog owners to recognize fundamental health signals.

  • behaviors in dogs and how to control their dogs’ behavior at home.

  • directing socialization sessions for puppies to promote good behavior

How To Become A Dog Trainer

If you want to become a Dog Trainer you should follow the steps below:

Study up on dogs. 

Successful dog trainers are frequently experts in understanding animal behavior, despite the fact that there are no formal academic requirements for this job path. 

Consider expanding your market knowledge and canine training abilities before starting your profession. There are several places where you can find out more information on dogs. 

You can read books, go to a dog training session, or take courses on animal behavior. Additionally, you can broaden your knowledge by honing your obedience techniques with your dog or a friend’s dog.

Gain knowledge and expertise 

Once you have a solid understanding of dog training, you can start accumulating relevant employment experience. 

You can improve your dog-training abilities by doing this. Additionally, it might aid in the improvement of your educational and communication skills

Working with dogs or coaching owners in canine behavior and training techniques are also options for a dog trainer. This entails properly outlining the steps and aiding others. 

To aid in the development of these crucial job abilities, think about acquiring experience in a position that enables you to deal with both people and animals.

Consider an Apprenticeship 

Although it’s optional, doing so might assist you to advance your professional experience and specialized dog training abilities. If you wish to train service dogs, you frequently start with an apprenticeship

People who own these pets can continue to live independently. For instance, you could train guide dogs to help the blind. 

You have the opportunity to work under the guidance of an accomplished dog trainer during an apprenticeship. 

You could also complete lessons or enroll in classes during this period to broaden your knowledge. Along with helping the dog trainer, you can also watch as they interact with the dogs.

Get a Dog Training Certificate 

A dog training certificate is typically not required in the industry, but it may increase your job prospects, raise your compensation, and bring in more clients. 

A dog training certificate may be necessary or highly preferred if you wish to work for a dog training business or service. 

These certifications can demonstrate to potential employers that you have received training and are informed about the finest training practices. 

A dog training certificate can be used to demonstrate to potential clients that you are certified and skilled in dog training if you wish to operate independently and launch your own dog training business.

Consider your Specialty 

Consider whether you want to pursue a training specialization after earning your initial dog training certificate

You could specialize in one of the following areas as a dog trainer: 

  • simple obedience 
  • Agility 
  • Herding 
  • Competency in a sport 
  • odor work 
  • alterations in behavior 

Depending on your interests and qualifications, you could be able to teach classes on only one of these subjects or all of them. 

These diverse training areas are covered by some certification programs, but you can also work on higher certifications to hone these specialized talents

For instance, you can decide to gain a second certification in the psychology and behavior of dogs after obtaining a general obedience dog training certificate. This can entail finishing an additional course and performing well on an exam.

Make a resume and cover letter.

When you’re prepared to apply for dog training opportunities, think about writing a new CV or upgrading your existing one to emphasize your pertinent qualifications. 

If you have any certifications, you can create a section for them in your summary or objective statement and list them there. 

Consider including this in your CV statement or cover letter if you are an expert in a particular training method, breed, or teaching, such as scent work. 

You can also check the job description to make sure your resume and cover letter highlight the appropriate skills.

For instance, if you have expertise in competitive work and the business is searching for someone with such a background, you can emphasize this in your experience section to demonstrate your suitability for the position.

Find Dog Training Opportunities 

You can start applying for positions in your area once you have gathered your application documents. To find open roles, think about searching for jobs online. 

Opportunities can be available at a kennel, dog training facility, or animal shelter in your community. 

You might also start out as a freelance trainer. This entails starting your own firm where you offer services to clients directly. 

Before starting their own independent business, many dog trainers start their careers working for a firm where they can develop their talents.

When deciding how you want to start your profession, take into account your abilities, business knowledge, and experience.

The List of Best Dog Training certification programs

Dog trainers are not required to be certified, however, there are several internships and training programs that provide certifications to raise a trainer’s credentials.

Those looking to work in the industry should think about some of the most common possibilities.

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), which offers the CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA certification levels, is arguably the most well-known program for dog trainers. Exams are administered each spring and fall to approved applicants. 

A minimum of 300 hours of dog training within the previous three years must be documented, a 250-question multiple-choice exam must be passed, an attestation statement from a CPDT member or veterinarian must be submitted, and a code of ethics must be signed.

These are the requirements for the CPDT-KA (Knowledge Assessed) designation.

The CPDT-KSA (Knowledge and Skills Assessed) requirements include holding a valid CPDT-KA credential, uploading a passport photo, submitting videos of four specific training exercises (using four unique and unfamiliar dogs), submitting videos showing the candidate coaching three clients with various dogs, and adhering to continuing education requirements.

Association of Animal Behavior Professionals 

A curriculum for certified dog trainers is available from the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP) (AABP-CDT). 

300 hours of professional training completed within the last five years, 30 hours of skill development under supervision, insurance documentation, a competency test, and two references are all prerequisites. There is also a certification route for behavior consultants

International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)

The Certified Dog Trainer credential is provided by the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) (IACP-CDT). Candidates for certification need to have trained dogs for at least two years and have been IACP members for at least six months. 

A candidate can take the CDTA (Certified Dog Trainers Advanced) exam, which includes a video evaluation of the trainer’s abilities, after passing the CDT exam.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC) and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) are the two dog-specific certification levels offered by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) (CDBC). A trainer’s certification must be kept up to date with continuing education hours.

The minimum qualifications for the ACDBC are 300 hours of client-facing animal behavior consulting, 150 hours of education, two case studies, a working understanding of several species, assessment abilities, and letters of recommendation. 

The prerequisites for the CDBC include three years (500 hours) of client-based animal behavior consulting, 400 hours of instruction, discussion of four case scenarios, three written case studies, questions about species-specific knowledge and assessment abilities, and letters of recommendation.

Karen Pryor Academy (KPR)

The KPA-CTP (Certified Training Partner) certification is earned after completing the six-month Dog Trainer Professional program offered by the Karen Pryor Academy (KPR). 

The course consists of four intensive weekends of rigorous hands-on training with a professional trainer in addition to 10 hours per week of online education. 

Although the $5,300 in tuition is substantial, there are some scholarship options available. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants accept KPA courses as continuing education credits (IAABC).

National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors 

The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI), which was founded in 1965, claims to be the first organization for dog trainer certification. 

A minimum of five years of experience in obedience training, including at least two years as a head instructor, working with 100 dogs, logging at least 104 hours of group instruction or at least 288 hours of private instruction, and passing an essay test are requirements for certified membership. 

Puppy, Novice, Open, Utility, Tracking, and Basic Agility are other certification specialties.

Certified Behaviour Adjustments Training Instructor (CBATI)

The Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI) curriculum is accessible in a number of nations, including Australia, Europe, and the United States. 

It is intended for trainers who work with scared and aggressive dogs. For three years, certification is valid.

An applicant needs to complete a practical skills assessment on video, submit 200 hours of training experience, and pass an essay-based written exam in order to become a Certified BAT Instructor. 

Trainers are exempt from paying the $300 exam cost if they successfully complete a five-day BAT Instructor course.

Important Skills For Dog Trainers? 

A specialized set of physical and soft abilities are used by dog trainers. Consider acquiring the following abilities if you’re interested in a career as a dog trainer in order to be successful in your chosen field:

  • Communication: Effective dog trainers are able to repeat directions, explain training principles to pet owners, and guide obedience training sessions. 
  • Patience: Since each dog learns at a different rate, it is important for dog trainers to be patient while repeating exercises or commands until all of the dogs have mastered them. 
  • Understanding animal behavior: When leading a training session, a dog trainer can use their understanding of animal behavior to read a dog’s body language. This can aid the trainer in protecting both the dog and the owner.
  • Dog training techniques: To guarantee they are training dogs effectively, dog trainers can stay up to speed on current techniques.

Let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions about best dog training certification programs:

What is the most advanced degree of canine training? 

The three main categories in obedience competitions are novice, open, and utility.

Dogs begin in the Novice class and progress as they master the progressively more challenging skills to Open, then Utility.

What is the name of a qualified dog trainer? 

It’s critical to realize that anyone can identify themselves as a dog trainer or behaviorist. There are no laws that specify what qualifies a behaviorist or a dog trainer. 

It is your responsibility as the customer to understand the differences and thoroughly vet any professional you intend to work with both you and your dog.

What is the finest course of study to teach dogs? 

The premier independent certification body for the dog training industry was founded in 2001 and is called the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT®).

What is the typical pay for a dog trainer? 

Dog trainers get an average yearly wage of £23,187 in the UK. Your specialization, geographic location, education, and experience may all affect your pay. 

Depending on your expertise and abilities, you might be able to earn more money if you specialize in a particular area of dog training, such as law enforcement or guiding dog training.


If you’re looking for the best dog training certificate program, we can help. This article has reviewed the most popular options and found the Best Dog Training certification programs.

After reading this article Training a Dog will not be much of a challenge anymore.

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