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History of the APDT

apdt logoThe APDT was founded in 1993 by Ian Dunbar, PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS, CPDT-KA.

A renowned veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer and writer, Dr. Dunbar created the APDT as a forum for trainers to network with each other and provide educational opportunities.

The first meeting of the APDT took place in San Mateo, California. In 1993, we held our first Annual Educational Conference in Orlando, Florida — we returned there in 2003 to celebrate our first decade! Today, our Annual Conference and Trade Show is the year’s most-anticipated event, drawing expert speakers from all over the world to share their knowledge of canine behavior and training information. Manufacturers of dog products and services often use the Trade Show to launch new products, knowing exposure to dog trainers is a direct link to consumers.

Today with over 5,000 members, the APDT has grown to be the largest association of dog trainers in the world.

To continue education year-round, we launched our newsletter in 1994. Over the years, The APDT Chronicle of the Dog has developed into an award-winning publication. Contributing authors include some of the industry’s prominent experts, including Jean Donaldson, Sue Sternberg, Dr. Karen Overall and more. Currently, the Chronicle is published bimonthly.

In 1995, we discovered the benefits of online communication and created the APDT e-mail list. This remains one of the most popular member benefits, as trainers can post questions about cases and receive nearly instant responses from all over the globe. In 1998, we completed our leap into cyberspace by launching our Web site. In addition to serving our members, the Web site rapidly became a popular draw for the public, who use our Trainer Directory to find APDT members in their communities.

As the years passed, we employed several management companies to help us manage our rapid growth. In 2005, we opened a permanent business office in Greenville, South Carolina, with a dedicated management staff.

In 2010, the APDT declared January to be "National Train Your Dog Month." This new annual campaign will highlight the importance of training to the public with a dedicated web site at

Today with over 5,000 members, the APDT has grown to be the largest association of dog trainers in the world. With a goal of helping trainers become better through education, the APDT provides an industry standard of excellence for our profession.


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