Quite often in their search for a dog trainer a new dog owner will ask the trainer if he’s certified. Being certified does sound impressive but what exactly does it mean. Keep in mind that there are no federal or state requirements to be certified as a dog trainer. Simply put if you know how to do it you can.
So why did dog trainers say that they are certified if there’s really no recognized certification. If the dog trainer is a graduate of a dog training school he will have received a certificate showing that he completed the course and that is what usually is referred to as a certification.
There are also several dog training organizations or clubs, whatever you’d like to call them that over the years in order to help their revenue stream have created what they call a certification program where for a fee you can take a test. If you answer enough of the questions correctly they will award you with a certification.
So with certificate in hand does that mean that the dog trainer is really a qualified trainer or know what he’s doing. Good question, some do and some don’t it’s going to be your job to figure that out. You can do that by checking with some of his former clients and also by doing a Google search to see the level of his experience.
I feel that one of the best methods to find a qualified trainer is by simply talking to them on the phone. Do they seem knowledgeable, do they communicate well, and do they show a high level of professionalism.
Another thing that’s very important is where did you find this trainer? Was the trainer simply running an ad on a website like Craigslist.com? Here are some questions I think you should ask. Is he licensed in and by his city? Does the trainer have a listing in the phonebook? Is the trainer able to give you client and veterinarian references? These are things that are important and show his level of professionalism.
Keep in mind that a certificate does not make a good dog trainer. I’ve been involved in dog training for over three decades and I can tell you that there are a bunch of trainers out there that never attended a dog training school. They learned how to train dogs on their own over the years and are very qualified to help you train your dog.
On the other hand there are new dog trainers graduating from dog training schools every year that are very qualified as well and they have what it takes as far as the enthusiasm and basic knowledge to help you do a good job with your family pet.
So keep in mind that a certificate is simply a piece of paper what’s more important is the experience and knowledge that your trainer possesses.