Why is it so hard to identify a qualified dog trainer?
The field of animal training can be confusing. For example, a jumble of letters often follows a dog trainer’s name. Some titles mean little or nothing. Others indicate the trainer had to study behavior science and meet high-level criteria. Most importantly, the industry is completely unregulated so no credentials are required at all. For instance, a given dog trainer may have two weeks or decades of experience or somewhere in between. He or she may mix some good techniques with others that don’t make sense from a behavior science standpoint. A trainer may have taken a qualified set of courses or have a college degree in behavior analysis. On the other hand, a trainer may have learned from someone who didn’t have a clue.
What you need to do
How can you know whether a dog trainer is qualified to help you and your dog? The due diligence you would perform if you were choosing any other professional is necessary for identifying a qualified dog trainer, too. For instance, you need to know how animals learn and how science has documented that. Websites have a lot of marketing words to weed through in order to discover exactly what a trainer’s qualifications and techniques consist of. Growing up with animals or volunteering at a shelter does not make someone a trainer, but those are common descriptions you’ll read on trainer websites. On the other hand, there is no licensing process to determine whether someone is a qualified dog trainer. Therefore, you have to read “between the lines” to determine what techniques a trainer really uses because marketing on trainer websites is pretty much a free-for-all.
The information you need to identify a qualified dog trainer
CattleDog Publishing’s September, 2021 newsletter article, “Identifying a Qualified Dog Trainer or Behavior Professional” offers the information you need for analyzing what a trainer can offer you and your dog. It gives you questions to ask and a list of red flags to look for. The Mannerly Dog knows you want the best for your dog and for the money you spend, so you have access to a complete resume for owner/trainer Nancy M. Kelly, B.S., CPDT-KA here.
About CattleDog Publishing
CattleDog Publishing is a company started by Dr. Sophia Yin, a pioneer in behavior science and low-stress handling of dogs and cats. Dr. Yin passed away a few years ago, but her company is going strong. They are continually spreading the word out about how to train dogs and cats constructively. They are doing their part to improve the lives of pets through their owners and their veterinary professionals. CattleDog Publishing’s September 2021 newsletter presented a GREAT article about how to choose a dog trainer.