In my field of pet services there are not any hard and fast rules as to who can put out their shingle advertising their services as a dog trainer. Sometimes you luck into finding a wonderful trainer who has read everything under the sun, has many years of experience and has a wonderful rapport with the animals. And sometimes you find a “trainer” who taught her own dog to sit so therefore she’s a dog trainer. So I became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA).
Since there is no legal standard, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) was established in 2001. The CCPDT is the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession. The CCPDT is the leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices. Thousands of dog training professionals worldwide maintain the CCPDT’s certifications as a mark of high professional distinction.
Before I could even sit for the test, I had to prove I had the following qualifications:
- A minimum of 300 hours’ experience in dog training within the last 3 years.
- Provide a signed attestation statement from a CCPDT certificant or a veterinarian
The last requirement was to sign the CCPDT’s Code of Ethics. This, to me, was one of the most important pieces of becoming a CPDT-KA.
A certificant of the CCPDT pledges to abide by the following:
- To operate as a certificant without discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, physical limitation, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, religion, or political beliefs.
- To assist clients in establishing humane, realistic, training and behavior goals in accordance with the CCPDT Humane Hierarchy Position Statement.
- To understand and fully comply with the CCPDT Training and Behavior Practices Policy.
- To use training and behavior modification methods based on accurate scientific research, emphasizing positive relationships between people and dogs and using positive reinforcement-based techniques to the maximum extent possible.
- To always provide for the safety of clients and animals in training programs and behavior consultations.
- To act with honesty and integrity toward clients, respecting their legitimate training and behavior goals and the autonomy of their choices, provided they conform to societal and legal standards of humane treatment for their pet.
- To refrain from public defamation of colleagues, respecting their right to establish and follow their own principles of conduct, provided those principles are ethical and humane according to the CCPDT Humane Hierarchy Position Statement.
- To provide truthful advertising and representations concerning certificant qualifications, experience, performance of services, pricing of services and expected results; to provide full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest to clients and other professionals.
- To refrain from providing guarantees regarding the specific outcome of training.
- To use properly authorized logos and credentials provided by the CCPDT when marketing in print or electronic media.
- To obtain written informed consent from any client prior to photographing, video or audio recording a dog training session.
- To work within the professional boundaries of the CCPDT certifications and individual expertise and refrain from providing diagnosis, advice, or recommendations in areas of veterinary medicine or family counseling unless certified to do so. This does not preclude referring the client to a veterinary or behavior consulting professional.
- To maintain and respect the confidentiality of all information obtained from clients in the course of business; to refrain from disclosure of information about clients or their pets to others without the client’s explicit consent, except as required by law.
- To be aware of and comply with applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards governing professional practices, treatment of animals (including cases of neglect or abuse), and reporting of dog bites in the state/province/country when interacting with the public and when providing dog training or behavior consulting services.
- To keep accurate and complete records of clients, their animals and the training and behavior services provided; to ensure secure storage and, when appropriate, confidential disposal of such records.
- To continue professional development as required for maintaining the CCPDT credentials in accordance with the policies of the CCPDT.
- To refrain from making material misrepresentations as part of the application for certification or recertification.
- To maintain and respect the confidentiality and security of the contents of any and all certification examinations of the CCPDT including, but not limited to, refraining from: stealing portions of, or the entire, examination(s); removing written examination materials from a test or meeting site without authorization; reproducing and/or disseminating examination materials without authorization; using paid test takers for the purpose of reconstructing an examination; using improperly obtained test questions to prepare person(s) for the examination; cheating during an examination; impersonating an examinee or having an impersonator take an examination.
If you are looking for a dog trainer in your area and you can’t come to see me please go to the CCPDT website to find a certified dog trainer in your area!