Dog trainer programs?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by skittledoo, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. skittledoo

    skittledoo Crazy naked dog lady

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    I've been putting in my training hours at work to go towards getting my CPDT, which I'm still planning to obtain. I'm trying to look into additional learning options as well via workshops and/or dog trainer programs. ABC is out. I don't really like their program and most of the ABC trainers I know I don't really like their training style. There is one ABC trainer that actually works with me though that is the exception and I think she is a great trainer when it comes to obedience work. I haven't seen her work with dogs with extreme behavior issues though.

    I'm not sure what programs out there are good ones to look into. Depending on cost I may have to save up for a while or look into sponsorships if possible, but what are some good programs to look into?

    One I'm interested in is Karen Pryor Academy, but I think I remember it bring super costly. A few people have recommended I look into Triple Crown, but I don't know what training style they base their program on so I'm unsure.

    Also I can't remember if the APDT website lists workshops local to your area or not? I need to hop on the website and see.

    Any tips you trainers out there can offer me? I really want to be a dog trainer. I enjoy working with dogs more than anything and I've already learned so much from working with my own dogs plus through some of the dogs I've worked with at my work.

    My boss is a dog trainer and I would ask her for advice on this, but while she does get results from the dogs she trains, working with her and watching her training style, I just don't see eye to eye with her on most of her training methods. I prefer a much more positive training approach.

    I was thinking about it long and hard last night and I'm tired of slowly working towards this... I really want to do something for me... Something I can be successful in and that will give me some independence. Dog training is something that really makes me happy.

    Advice please?
     
  2. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    I don't know how practical it is for you right now, but Bergin University is supposed to be fantastic. That's where I was going to go before I decided to do Zoo Science. They're somewhat pricey, too, but they are now accredited so you can get federal financial aid to go there now (fill out the FAFSA and all that stuff). They have an associate's degree program, a bachelor's degree program, and a master's degree program. I know the MS programs are mostly going there for a week at a time twice a year and the rest is done at home, not sure about the AS or BS programs.


    http://www.berginu.edu/


    Even if you don't think it'll work at this point, it doesn't hurt to look. In theory you could get it entirely paid for with grants and scholarships.
     
  3. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    Triple Crown is pretty heavily influenced by Kohler techiques.

    Karen Pryor is good, but honestly, the best way to do it is to find a local trainer you really admire and ask to apprentice with them.
     
  4. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    The place I used to work was one of the apprentice places for ABC trainers to do their observation, class and teaching. Quite a few apprenticed with me because I taught multiple classes. I'm not sure I look at ABC as anything other than a certification program for trainers who want certification. Aas far as I could tell, there is no "ABC Training Method", other than they seem to promote using positive methods. The trainers are mostly learning through whoever they apprentice under and that is just a very short time, so only really enough for maybe the basics to be learned. Most people I got through ABC were average pet owners to people casually involved with dogs. I think think they thought ABC would teach them everything they needed to know to be a professional trainer but IMO that really isn't possible through any of these programs.

    What are you hoping to gain from going through such a program? Certification? Credentials? Or just more knowledge on training methods? Do you want to teach pet dogs or are you more interested in performance dogs? Do you want to work with dogs who have behavioral issues?

    Unfortunately becoming very knowledge, fluent and confident training dogs and teaching people to train dogs is something that you work slowly at. No program is going to teach you everything you need to know to be a competent training instructor. TBH I'm not sure certification is really all that important to most people looking for classes. Pet people tend to go to who is recommended to them by friends, relatives or other pet professionals. Or whoever is most convenient. People who more knowledge about training or who have goals beyond a well behaved pet tend to go to people by recommendation too but recommendation of their peers or they look at real life credentials such as success in competitions and successful students. Or they are looking for certain methods that click with them. I'm not saying certification is pointless but I don't think it's the first thing someone wanting to be a trainer should be concerned with.

    The main thing is training your dogs to a reasonable level yourself. Competing with them is a good idea too, not because titles really matter all that much or that's what people universally look at but because you learn a lot on the journey from basic training through having a dog be successful in competitions. At the very least, your dogs should have a lot of skills in place and be very, very reliable at performing them. Taking classes from a variety of trainers, even ones who don't totally mesh with your beliefs (providing they aren't abusive or demeaning or such things) is extremely helpful in becoming a well rounded trainer, no matter what you want to teach. As an instructor, you'll need to have more than one trick up your sleeve so to speak. That way if one suggestion doesn't work for a certain dog or owner, you have several other things to try. Joining a local training club can really help too, as most are volunteer based and you can offer to assist with classes under an experienced instructor (obedience or agility or whatever). That also will expand your knowledge base and get you started in learning how to properly instruct without the pressure of running your own class. Try taking introductions to different sports if they are available in your area to expand your horizons further. In addition to all of that, take advantage of seminars or workshops by trainers you admire whenever you can. To me, this would be much better use of your money than worrying about spending thousands getting certified right now. You can also take advantage of online classes that many well known trainers are now offering, many for the price of an average seminar with them but covering much more information.

    The thing that makes a good trainer isn't the certification or "trainer in training" programs they have but experience, desire to continue learning and ability to be flexible depending on the student and dog. Trainer in training programs can give you a base but they can't give you experience and that is the main issue I had with the ABC students I had and the main issue I see with most certification programs. Experience is extremely important. Experience training your own dogs to a certain level. Experience working with different dogs and owners. Experience with different approaches to teaching behaviors and problem solving.
     
  5. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    This. I'm a KPA grad and honestly if I were to just go through that program there would be no chance I would feel comfortable to stand alone as a dog trainer. Luckily I was able to apprentice as well which led me to my job that I hold now.
     
  6. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I'm going to KPA in September!!! :D It's on the pricier end, but Karen Pryor is such a pioneer in dog training and the program is amazing. Just the hands-on experience, the opportunity to work with such knowledgeable and caring people and my personal passion for their exact training beliefs are enough to make it worth it. It's the same cost as the Penn & Foster dog training program (which literally consists of a binder full of photocopies and dog training books from the 80's)!

    I apprentice for a superb trainer, but I just don't feel that I'm given the amount of attention, hands on experience and instruction that I'll get from KPA. And I don't expect her to go out of her way to dedicate that much time to training me... which is why I'm perfectly happy to pay to go to KPA.
     

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