It can be confusing to know who you can trust when you need help with your dog. Dog training is not regulated in the US. Anyone can claim to be a dog trainer, behaviorist, or “dog psychologist".
Finding the right fit can be challenging. These questions can help you understand the amount of effort, knowledge and commitment that goes into those dedicated to staying current with their education and can give you the confidence that who you choose has the experience necessary for your situation.
The following questions and links will help you find qualified professionals. These questions are geared to trainers, you can also ask similar questions to find qualified veterinarians, dog walkers, groomers and more. Good candidates will be happy to answer. Whenever you don't get clear, concrete answers or feel uncomfortable, keep shopping.
You can also ask if they are background checked, and do they have other certifications such as first aid or fear free certified etc.
If you're seeking a trainer that prioritizes kindness and supports you and your dog's physical and emotional well being, some words that do not align are ‘pack’, ‘leader’, ‘corrections’, ‘dominance’, ‘alpha’.
I specialize with Puppies & Recall Dog Training. In addition, I also work with dogs who are aggressive, fearful, and anxious. If I am booked or have a case that I know my colleagues have more knowledge about, such as a bite case with multiple dogs, I will refer you to the trainer who can best qualified to help you.
If a trainer you want to hire does not belong to an organization listed below, ask if their organization is well-known in your area and do they have an ethics policy that is being adhered to? You should also be able to find your trainer on the organizations web page, if you can’t, then ask to clarify, they may be certified and the organization has not updated.
Two that I belong to are:
I have done many courses with most of these organizations:
The Academy: www.academyfordogtrainers.com
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior: www.avsab.org
Animal Kind: www.animalkind.ca
Animal Behavior Institute: Animal Behavior Institute Canine Training and Behavior Certificate
Animal Behavior Society: www.animalbehaviorsociety.org/
BAT Certified Trainers: www.grishastewart.com
Catch Canine Trainers Academy: www.catchdogtrainers.com
Companion Animal Science Institute: www.casinstitute.com
Control Unleashed Instructors: www.controlunleashed.net
Cooperative Paws: www.cooperativepaws.com
Fear Free Pets: www.fearfreepets.com
The International School For Canine Psychology: ISCP International School for Canine Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior: www.karenpryoracademy.com
L.E.G.S Dog Mediator: www.dogdoorcanineservices.com/dog-pros
Pat Miller’s Peaceable Paws: www.peaceablepaws.com
The Pet Professional Guild: www.petprofessionalguild.com
Malena DeMartini School for Separation Anxiety: www.malenademartini.com
Michael Shikashio: www.aggressivedog.com
Northwest School for Canine Studies: www.northwestschoolofcaninestudies.com
The School of Canine Science www.caninescience.online/
Separation Anxiety Dog: www.separationanxietydog.com/dog-pros
Smart Dog University: www.smartdoguniversity.com
Suzanne Clothier: www.suzanneclothier.com
UK IMDT Institute of Modern Dog Trainers: www.imdt.uk.com/
University of Low Stress Handling: university.lowstresshandling.com/#/public-dashboard
Victoria Stillwell Dog Training Academy: www.vsdogtrainingacademy.com