Trainer Training... Or Something Like That...


Well-Known Member
I can't think of an appropriate title and probably don't have time before my net dies on me again ...
Been wondering for those of you that are trainers or have friends that are does anyone have any reccomendations/stories/advice about getting started on the right path? I'm sure that its quite different training someone else's dog than your own.

Have been considering this at varying degrees of seriousness for nearly a year now and have been told by all sorts of people (including virtual strangers, and some trainers that I know) that I should do it. But lacking knowledge of the best ways to go about doing the whole thing properly.

Thanks everyone!


Experienced Member
Depends. There are no laws saying you have to have any credentials to be a dog trainer. You could put a banner on your car and hand out business cards and use local parks as your facility. Or you could take the much longer route and go through APDT, KPA, ABC, or some other program.
Another approach would be to find a mentor. Most who take the mentor route also take every and all classes possible with their chosen mentor.
There is no one route to becoming a dog trainer.


Honored Member
Staff member
The average dog owner does not really care about credentials, believe it or not. Once again, the average dog owner. The informed dog owner will appreciate credentials, and the studious dog owner will demand credentials.
I personally am not certified as of yet, but I have had many clients that are still satisfied with my work and could care less what credentials I have.
Some things you can do:
Have time for a second, part-time job? For us, really more of a hobby than a job. Petsmart and PetCo send their trainers to training "school" through the company, and you do get some sort of certification. You don't have to pay for the certification--the company pays to send you to get trained. If your trainer happens to be the area trainer, then you don't have to go anywhere! You get to work with a variety of dogs and get to work under an experienced trainer, from what you say of your trainer. :)

You can find the handbook for CPDT here--check out testing info, certification requirements, and recertification information. How much it costs, how often you recertify, etc.
This is info for APDT.

These two seem to be the most popular and most recommended by other trainers to me.

Behaviorist certification is a different ball game. Personally, I think in the long run this could help you more. Both certifications would be great, in terms of gaining knowledge and having the credentials to back up your knowledge. But as for which you want first, that depends on what you want to do with it.


Experienced Member
Another thing that I am looking into is volunteering at a shelter that offfers training classes to the dogs that go through the shelter. I asked if I could help out with the training classes. Maybe you could find something similar near where you live.

If you are trying to get clients you could always give information to your local shelter to put in the adoption packet that they send home. You could put in a coupon for one free training session or low cost training session with in their first week of adoption.


Active Member
Honestly there is no school or program or certification that is going to replace experience and experience is what makes a good dog trainer. Your best bet if you want to be a dog trainer is to do as much as possible with your dog. Take classes at as many places as possible which use methods you find acceptable and try out any venues that you can (pet training, competition obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, tricks, nosework, etc). Also pursue attending seminars on all different topics - behavioral and competition related, even if you just audit. Helping out at a shelter, maybe teaching dogs some basic manners to help them be more adoptable is a good way to practice your skills and work with a variety of dogs. Also fostering dogs of different breeds/mixes can give you experience. The more you do, the more you'll learn!


Well-Known Member
Awesome posts from everyone so far. I really appreciate all the input and advice.
As a bunch of you all mentioned, I know you dont technically need the certifications but I am sure they are beneficial in the long run. And the behaviorist part could definetly be good to have down the road ( even if just from the point of having that knowledge to use ). I guess it's just like anything else where you need a certain bit of aptitude to begin with and then you really learn best by doing.

I am going to look into helping out with one of the shelters in the area as a way of practicing . I think fostering dogs is kind of out for me at the moment as I had enough challenges with Ro and the dog I found the week before xmas and had hanging out for a week and a half til I found someone to foster him. I have been working on teaching things to my friends dogs when I see them just to try to start getting a little practice with ones that aren't mine.

I think I've also sort of been doing the mentor thing in a very roundabout kind of way