There are no widely recognized dog trainer instructor programs. Typically, instructors at dog training schools are just very experienced and often certified. However, prospective dog trainer instructors might begin their careers by enrolling in a dog trainer certificate program, which is typically offered by professional organizations or community colleges. Students learn how to deal with aggressive animals, and how to get dogs to learn and respond to cues. Graduates of certificate programs may be prepared for professional certification. Online certificate programs in dog training are available.
Dog Trainer Certificate
Certificate programs emphasize implementation of learned principles and theories in a hands-on practical experience. Students learn the basics of obedience training from an animal and owner perspective. Sometimes an internship at a shelter is included in the curriculum. As well as intensive interaction and training with dogs, students complete coursework and attend lectures covering the following topics:
- Teaching cues
- Dog aggression and safety
- Tools of training
- Animal learning theory
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the mean annual salary for animal trainers was $33,600 (www.bls.gov). Animal trainers were reported to experience an increase of 11% in employment from 2014 to 2024.
Continuing Education Information
Upon completing an educational program, dog trainers can take a certification examination. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) offers the Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT - KA) designation (www.ccpdt.org). Certification requires a specified amount of training and a passing score on a written examination. CCPDT keeps a list of certified dog trainers throughout the world on their website and offers a list of approved continuing education programs and events for dog trainers. Dog trainers can also join the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) as Certified Dog Behavior Consultants. With experience, training and certification, dog trainers can go on to become instructors in dog training programs.
Dog training certificate programs prepare aspiring dog trainers to become professionally certified in the industry. Programs teach students learning theory, teaching cues and safety training through highly-interactive, hands-on courses with animals.