Students in a dog training certificate program will examine the biology and behavior of dogs and the process of adjusting a dog's behavior to either turn it into an agreeable pet or prepare it for duty as a service animal. Courses in some programs are available online. A certificate may be earned in a year or less. Experienced dog trainers may pursue a certification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
Prerequisites for certificate programs in dog training include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Prior experience with dogs is recommended.
Dog training programs are often structured as a single course comprised of multiple modules, although some consist of 3-4 courses. Topics addressed in a course might include:
- Training profession fundamentals
- Canine behavior and health
- Puppy care
- Basic training mechanics, including voice commands and reinforcement techniques
- Fixing behavioral problems
- Dog tricks
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of a dog training certificate program are prepared to seek positions as trainers with an animal shelter, an existing dog training business, or as independent operators. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects that the number of animal trainer jobs, including dog trainer positions, will increase more quickly than average, growing 13% from 2018-2028. Growth in the pet population is expected to drive the increase, and a high rate of turnover should create abundant job openings. The median annual wage for animal trainers was $29,290 as of May 2018 according to the bureau.
Continuing Education Information
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) offers a certification for dog trainers. Attaining CCPDT certification entails accumulating at least 300 hours of dog training experience in a five year period and passing an exam. To maintain certification, trainers must either complete 36 hours of continuing education or retake the exam every three years.
Certificate programs in dog training cover topics including puppy care, basic training, canine behavior, health and behavioral problems. Graduates can pursue professional certification after gaining experience and passing an exam.