Below is an excellent write-up – How to Find a Qualified Trainer Dog Trainer, from the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society that I chose to include in my resources list because it offers clear guidelines for finding a Qualified Dog Trainer.
Please scroll down for a list of local certified dog trainers that I feel comfortable recommending when I am not available to help out. Please note that even though I personally know these colleagues and their training practices, the list is not a formal endorsement and I will not be held responsible for advice given or their professional practices.
Also, find below a list of ONLINE resources (the list will continue to expand) that I find valuable and I am happy to share.
How to Find a Qualified Trainer. Dog training is an unregulated industry, which means that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer! We recommend that dog parents choose their trainers and behavior consultants wisely.
- Trainers who practice science-based methods that utilize food rewards.
- Trainers who ask about your dog’s history and work with your dog as an individual.
- Trainers who want to include you in the training.
- Trainers who provide references.
- Trainers who are certified by CCPDT, IAABC, KPA., and CTC (my addition). See below for more information and databases of certified trainers.
- Trainers who talk about dominance or being a pack leader.
- Trainers who use techniques like alpha rolls, leash pops, or any physical manipulation.
- Trainers who use tools like prong, shock, or choke collars.
- Trainers who take your dog away from you to train them.
- Trainers who guarantee behavior change.
What Do All Those Letters Mean? Certifications and why they Matter.
Accreditation Boards CCPDT – Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
- CPDT-KA® (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed) indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and has at least 300 hours of dog training experience.
- CPDT-KSA® (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed) indicates that a dog trainer has passed a comprehensive exam and an objective skills-based assessment, along with at least 300 hours of dog training experience.
- CBCC-KA® (Certified Behavior Consultant Canine – Knowledge Assessed) indicates that a dog behavior consultant has passed a comprehensive exam on behavior modification and has at least 300 hours of dog behavior consulting experience.
IAABC – International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants
- Certified Members have completed a rigorous application process, including evaluation by a panel of dog training and behavior experts who have determined the trainer’s ability to handle more complex behavior cases. Additionally, they have completed at least 500 hours of experience in animal behavior consulting with a client present.
- Associate Certified Members have at least 300 hours of client experience and have submitted two case studies for review by a panel of dog training and behavior experts who have determined the trainer’s ability to handle more complex behavior cases.
Schools KPA – Karen Pryor Academy
- KPA CTP (Certified Training Partner) indicates that a dog trainer has graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy. They have demonstrated a high level of technical knowledge in both training and teaching and have passed several rigorous exams on the science and practice of animal training, client teaching, and animal behavior problem-solving. For more information on what to look for in a trainer, check out the links below.
The Academy for Dog Trainers CTC (Jean Donaldson’s former San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers).
- Considered the “Harvard of Dog Training” due to its rigorous hands-on and science-based curriculum.
Certified Dog Trainers in the Santa Fe Area:
- Erica Beckwith – A Manner of Manners Dog Training. www.amatterofmannersdogtraining.com Hannah Glass – Santa Fe Tails. https://santafetails.com
- Deborah Moody- Faithful Friends Dog Training. https://faithfulfriendsdogtraining.com/
- Deborah Tolar – Santa Fe Dog. www.santafedog.com
- Rachel Beuchler – Grateful Path Dog Training: Rachael@gratefulpath.com (505) 316-3030.
Online Resources for private training and classes:
- Good pup. https://goodpup.com/shelters
Resources for Puppies: