Monday, May 16, 2011

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)

By Linda Cole

The APDT is an organization made up of professional trainers who are dedicated to educating dog trainers on how they can be better trainers. Most of us who own dogs understand the importance of training them. For those of us who take on the job of teaching our dogs basic commands, a good supply of CANIDAE TidNips™ treats, positive reinforcement and plenty of love can help our dogs learn what we want them to know. Sometimes, however, a dog owner may not have the time or knowhow to teach a dog, and that's where the Association of Pet Dog Trainers can be of service. If you are looking for a qualified dog trainer, the APDT is a good organization to start your search with.

The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is the brainchild of Ian Dunbar, a well known veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer and writer. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers was founded in 1993 with a goal of helping dog trainers learn how to do their job better with continual education. If you are a dog trainer, APDT can help you build contacts and improve your dog training business by associating with other professional dog trainers you can network with. They also conduct seminars and conferences where trainers can share ideas and learn from each other. Membership in the organization is worldwide, and their mission statement is: “To represent and advance the dog training profession through education and advocacy.”

The APDT dog trainers understand and believe in nurturing and building a lifelong relationship with your dog by training them using dog friendly training techniques (positive reinforcement). That's the best way to earn a dog's trust whether you hire someone to train your dog or take on the task yourself. Trying to bully, intimidate or force a dog to bend to your will doesn't work. But as the dog's owner, we are still responsible for making sure we can control our dogs, and that's why dogs should be taught to respond to basic commands.

Before 2001, most dog trainers were certified according to a specific program they were trained in. A school's certification system wasn't wrong and the dog trainers who obtained their credentials from the school are qualified and professional trainers. In 2001, the APDT created a standardized certification process to test a trainer’s knowledge about dogs and dog friendly training techniques. The Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is the only national professional testing program that certifies dog trainers. The purpose of the CCPDT is to make sure a dog trainer has the proper knowledge and skills to train household pets and gives the dog's owner confidence in knowing their dog will be trained by someone who will teach the dog using positive reinforcement and love.

Trainers who have been certified with CCPDT keep their credentials by continuing their education or by retaking the certification exam every three years. A dog trainer with “CPDT-KA” after their name has been certified by the CCPDT. CPDT-KA stands for Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed. Although the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers was conceived and implemented by the APDT, the two organizations are now separate from each other. For more information about CCPDT, please visit their website.

Not all dog trainers use positive reinforcement training techniques, so it's important to check them out before training begins. Dog trainers don't need to be certified in order to train dogs and if you don't agree with a trainer's technique, it's good to know that in advance so you don't subject your dog to harsh techniques that can actually do more harm than good. Don't be afraid to ask a trainer for their credentials and references and follow up by checking them out. You should do as much research, interviewing and verifying references for your dog trainer as you would in interviewing and checking references for a potential daycare or babysitter for your child.

The majority of dog trainers, whether they have received certification or not, are qualified and professional trainers. They work with dogs because they love what they do. If you are a dog trainer, or know someone who is, the APDT website gives you all the information you need to join a group of professional trainers. This will allow you to network with other professional dog trainers that can help you increase your knowledge about dogs and dog friendly training techniques, and build your dog training business. The website also provides a way for dog owners to search for a qualified trainer, along with helpful information on how to choose a good dog trainer.

Photo: dogsbylori

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. This all sounds like such a great program. What a good idea to train the dog trainers. I have read some if Ian's books and enjoyed them very much and he really does know what he is doing. Great post.

  2. It's good that the doggies get trained. We cat's are perfect and don't need training of course...


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