Association of Professional Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources

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Dog Trainer Certification

NOTE: Between now and end of April 2014, we are performing significant changes and upgrades to the APDT membership levels, benefits, and C.L.A.S.S., as well as a major overhaul to the apdt.com web site and Trainer Search.  If you have any questions regarding any of these changes, please contact the APDT office at membership@apdt.com. While the modifications are being implemented as quickly as possible, you may still see some outdated pages from time to time during this crossover period.  We appreciate your patience during this time.

Updated: November 24, 2013

Are the same certifications required for Premium Professional membership as was for the previous Professional Membership level?

We will no longer require these certifications. However, in order to list these certifications on your trainer search record, you still will need to verify them with the APDT office first. Only these certifications will appear on your initial trainer search entry as well. A member's full trainer search entry can list all of the designations and degrees as you wish in detail.

In order to qualify as one of these listed certifications, the criteria is that the certification:

  • Must be independent of any school or training program;
  • Require Continuing Education Units to maintain certification;
  • Must be specifically related to dog training and/or dog behavior; General certifications in animal behavior will require evidence of specific work and study with dogs.

Currently these certifications are:

Certification Certification Title Certifying Body
ACAAB* Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Animal Behavior Society
ACDBC Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
CAAB* Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Animal Behavior Society
CCAB Certified Clinical Behavior Consultant International Association for the Study of Animal Behavior
CBCC-KA Certified Behavior Consultant Canine - Knowledge Assessed Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
CDBC Certified Dog Behavior Consultant International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
CPDT-KSA Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge & Skills Assessed Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
DACVB* Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
*For these certifications/degrees, additional evidence of work specifically with dogs is required for inclusion.

Additional Questions and Answers

Dog Training and Behavior Certifications and Certificates: What’s the Difference?

Certificate Programs are educational programs designed to teach you a certain set of skills or knowledge. Upon graduating from the program, you receive a certificate, which is also often known as a certification. Examples of certificate programs include the Karen Pryor Academy, Animal Behavior College, San Francisco SPCA, and more. The main focus of a certificate program is education and the educational process begins and ends with the program (from enrollment through graduation.)

A Certification has a different focus – that of assessing skills and/or knowledge. Certifications are run by organizations that are independent of the actual educational process and their sole goal is determining if you meet a set of criteria demonstrating the attainment of a level of skill/knowledge. A certification is designed to show that you have met a set of standard skills/knowledge in your profession. In order to maintain a certification, further education from independent organizations is required, usually in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEUs).  Examples of certifications are the CPDT-KA (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) and the CDBC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants).

For an excellent discussion of the differences between certificate programs versus certification, visit the CFRE web site here.

For a listing of the various certifications, titles, designations and certificate programs used by trainers and behavior consultants, visit this page.

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