Behavior Resource Guide

How To Sniff Out a Trustworthy Trainer

Finding a good dog trainer or behavior consultant is more difficult than you might think. Dog training is an unregulated field with no educational requirements and no required credentialing. Outdated, force-based methodology can cause more problems than it claims to

Ideally, the trainer or behavior consultant you choose is certified or has a graduate status through a trusted, reward-based educational institution. Many trainers and behavior consultants list credentials on their website or following their name. If you don’t see credentials, ask. Seek out trainers and behavior consultants who have gained credentialing or schooling through educational institutions rooted in humane, reward-based methods.

However, credentials don’t guarantee good training or behavior consulting techniques or teaching abilities. Before signing up, observe a couple of classes to see first-hand the trainer’s/behavior consultant’s methods, equipment used, interpersonal skills, and abilities with individual dogs. This is imperative, as punitive, force-based methods increase stress and the likelihood of behavioral issues, including aggression. Reward-based training and behavior consulting methods help strengthen the bond between you and your dog, are safer, and more effective over the long term.

Behavior Credentials

These common, highly regarded trainer and behavior consultant credentials can serve as a starting point in your search:

Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)

The Academy for Dog Trainers Graduate (CTC)

Victoria Stilwell Academy Graduate

Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT)

Certified Behavior Counselor Canine (CBCC-KA)*

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)

Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA or CPDT-KSA)*

Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT)

Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (Accredited) (PCBC-A)

Canine Training Technician (Accredited) (CTT-A)

Professional Canine Trainer (Accredited) (PCT-A)

Pat Miller Certified Trainer (PMCT)

Certified Shelter Behavior-Dog (CSB-D)

Certified Shelter Behavior Specialist (CSBS)

*(KA= Knowledge Assessed  KSA = Knowledge and Skills Assessed)

Local Trainers

All Breed Rescue & Training

Free Puppy Raising Class, 25% off Basic Obedience Course, and $100 Behavior Assessment

Nora Birt

Free initial phone call, 10% off Puppy and Basic Obedience Class. Contact for Promo Code.

House of Dog Training

Free 30-minute assessment and 10% off all other services

Megan Phillips

10% off initial in-person consultation, 20% off initial Zoom consultation, and free 15-minute introductory phone consultation

Robin Downing

15% off initial in-person consultation

Sarah Pellizzari

10% off initial consultation and 10% off any training package

If you are interested in applying for inclusion in our behavior resource guide webpage, please contact Kelly Kraft, Corporate Giving Specialist, [email protected].

Behavior partners

Check out our participating partners.