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Ask the Trainer: How Can I Become a Certified Dog Trainer, Too?

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Dear Kevin,
Can you please tell me where I could go to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer? I love my current trainer (Susan Garrett in Canada, owner of Say Yes) and her training methods and I’d like to become a CPDT myself now. Thank You.

Hey Cathy,

Great question. I went through the Certifying Council for Professional Dog Trainers.(www.CCPDT.org) It is one that is nationally recognized. In order to take the test for this certification you need to gather 300 hours. 225 lead training hours and 75 assisting/volunteering hours. Other requirements include a reference from a client, a vet, and a colleague.

The process of getting certified for me was very beneficial. I got started by contacting a local training facility and working with the trainers on the staff there. I got lucky because who I was primarily working with was a certified behaviorist. It took me 2 years to gather the hours required for the test. These two years were so beneficial for me to gain the knowledge that I have today. If you have been in contact with your current trainer, you may be able to do a mentorship program with her. (I don’t know her and don’t want to put words in her mouth, but you can at least ask her.) If Susan isn’t available, I would contact other trainers that are either certified, or are well versed in a positive style of training. I would avoid working with any trainers that are still using aversives to get dogs to do things. There are lots of trainers out there that can show you how to get the desired results without using pain. On the website I listed above there is a reading list. I recommend getting started. The books on it are very helpful.

Thank you for the question and good luck getting started with your future fun career.

Thank you for the question!
Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org)  and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V,  follow him on Facebook by clicking here.

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  1. Avatar Of Magdalena Magdalena says:

    Good site. Thanks!

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  3. Avatar Of Dog Training dog training says:

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  4. Avatar Of Shelly R

    Shelly R


    I went to the Certifying Council for Professional Dog Trainers.(www.CCPDT.org) for the recommended reading list you mentioned in your article. I searched the entire site repeatedly and was unable to locate this list. Can you please share where this reading list it is located? Anxious to be educated more and move forward with this process. Thank you. I love dogs, positive training and reinforcement to build their confidence and I respect and appreciate ADGTK !

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