A big accomplishment for me was receiving my certification. This was big because I worked hard for it. It took me nearly 2 years to gather all the hours I needed to take the test. I decided to go the certification route because I wanted to take my new career seriously. Prior to this I was someone who thought I knew a lot of stuff because I watched it on TV.
Currently dog training is an unregulated industry. Anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. Also, pretty much any method can be used "in the name of training." The cool thing about dog training now is that there are more professionals in the field studying dogs than ever. We now know more about dogs than we ever have. With that being said, there are plenty of "trainers" out there that refuse to change their old school ways. They refuse to learn anything new. These old fashioned methods that are still currently being used consist of using things like choke chains, prong collars, shock collars, alpha roles, helicoptering, stomping on paws, knees to chest... The list goes on and on. My goal with this isn't to bash those trainers, it's to point out that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer and some will do some pretty nasty things to your dog "in the name of training."
So where am I going with all this?
As long as this industry is unregulated there will be people working with dogs that in my opinion have no business doing so. I'm hoping by writing this it will help bring awareness. If you are planning on hiring a trainer to help you, do your research. The video below is of my response to the "transparency challenge." As long as the industry is unregulated it is important to ask your potential trainer some questions. Some good questions are, "What happens when my dog does the correct thing?" "What happens when my dog does the incorrect thing?" "What types of "tools" does the trainer use?"
Is a certification everything?
Not necessarily. There are people out there that have the certification/knowledge but still choose to use some of the "methods" I listed above. A certification is a great place to start. But I still recommend asking the important questions. See if the trainer has a website blog/ fb page in which they openly talk about their methods and how they do things. And finally don't let a trainer bully you into bullying your dog. (Dunbar APDT 2014).
Some good places to start your search for a trainer are:
Just don't forget to ask the important questions! Thanks for reading.