Certified Professional Dog Trainer: Setting the Standard for Training Worldwide

Jamie Diaz, Training Director at Lucky Dog Sports Club in Jupiter, FL has earned CPDT-KA certification title through the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT). What is this designation and what does it mean for you?

Why Choose a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)?
Because you want the best for your dog! This certification program is based on humane training practices and the latest scientific knowledge related to dog training. Dog training certifications are not all the same. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers certification is an international certification process for dog training professionals. The Certified Professional Dog Trainer credential is respected within the industry and has been developed using consistent, recognized certification practices. Certified Professional Dog Trainers are experienced trainers who are committed to continuing education and professional excellence.

How does one achieve the CPDT certification?
In order to qualify to take the KA (Knowledge Assessed) exam a trainer must have acquired over 300 hours of dog training experience, 75% must be actual teaching hours, a minimum of a high school diploma, references from a veterinarian, a client and a colleague. If the prospective candidate is eligible to take the exam, they then must pass a critical, demanding, 4-hour exam of 250 questions. If they pass, they will have acquired their CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed Certification. A Certified Professional Dog Trainer must continue their education and keep current on the latest educational materials and research. Those additionally holding the KSA (Knowledge and Skills Assessed) designation indicate that they have passed an objective skills-based assessment demonstrating sound understanding of how dogs think and learn and showing their practical and effective training skills.

What is tested on the certification exams?
To receive the CPDT-KA pr CPDT-KSA certifications, experienced trainers with years of knowledge and experience have the opportunity to be recognized and critically tested on a comprehensive range of knowledge including instructional skills, animal husbandry, ethology (the study of behavior), learning theory and use of training equipment.

Why is the CPDT certification process important?
The CCPDT’s certification exam and recommended study materials have been developed by leading industry professionals and are updated regularly to maintain a consistent level of integrity. Since 2001, the CCPDT has been the only independent and psychometrically sound certification organization for professional dog trainers. This unprecedented certification process was originally implemented by the APDT, the largest association of dog trainers in the world, founded by noted veterinarian, behaviorist, and author Dr. Ian Dunbar. Early on, the APDT recognized the need for certification for its profession. Pet dog trainers needed a credible means of measuring their knowledge and skills and the dog-owning public needed a credible barometer for choosing a trainer. A task force of approximately twenty nationally known dog training professionals and behaviorists worked for three years to research and develop the comprehensive written examination.

Why Work With a CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA?
You can be assured that your CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer) and CPDT-KSA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed) training professional upholds the highest standards in the dog training industry. Choosing to work with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer confirms your commitment to working with a trainer who is dedicated to education, remains current in the advances in training and demonstrates a proficient level of knowledge. The CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA must recertify every three years by obtaining continuing education units available through approved educational opportunities, or by retaking the exam. Only trainers who have passed the exam and who meet the CCPDT’s experience and continuing education requirements can earn and maintain these credentials.

The CCPDT Mission Statement
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers serves to establish and maintain recognized standards of competence in dog training by certifying professional trainers through criteria based on experience, standardized testing, and continuing education. The CPDT-KA serves the public by enabling the identification of individuals who have demonstrated experience and an understanding of the body of scientific knowledge that pertains to professional dog training.

The CPDT-KSA Commitment to Excellence

  • To provide accurate, truthful advertising and representations concerning my qualifications, experience, performance of services, the preparation of costs of services and expected results.
  • To act in an honest and ethical manner and work within my professional limits when interacting with the public and providing dog training services.
  • To refrain from providing guarantees regarding the specific outcome of training.
  • To develop and apply training programs in accordance with the CCPDT’s Mission Statement and Guiding Principles.
  • To comply with applicable laws, regulations and ethical standards governing professional practice in the state/province and/or country when interacting with the public and when providing dog training services.
  • To maintain and respect the confidentiality of information obtained from clients in the course of professional activities.
  • To continue professional development as required for maintaining CPDT-KA credential in accordance with the policies of the CCPDT.
  • To maintain and respect the confidentiality of the contents of the CPDT-KA credential exam.

For more information and to learn more about dog trainer certification, visit: CCPDT.