Education for Dog Trainers

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Education for Dog Trainers

Post by CarolineLovesDogs » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:08 am

Hi all! I'm interested in becoming a dog trainer as a career. Right now, I'm trying to find schools that might help me further that goal of becoming a successful trainer. I keep coming back to The Academy for Dog Trainers (of Jean Donaldson) and Karen Pryor Academy (at KPA I'm interested in potentially taking the Dog Trainer Foundations Course, Dog Trainer Professional Course, and maybe the Shelter Training and Enrichment and Puppy Start Right courses). I'm also interested in the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior but that's new so I can't find much information on it; do you guys have any info on that? I am quite certain all of the schools are very high quality but I'm just wondering if anyone knows anything specific about the similarties and differences between them if you have any ideas. Honestly, I would like to take at least 2 of them at some point but I have to start with one, and I can't choose; they all seem amazing. I'm thinking from what I can find that Victoria's is more geared towards semi-beginners than the other two, but like I said, there's not too much info on that one that I've found so I'm not sure. Thanks for sharing anything you know!! :)
Last edited by CarolineLovesDogs on Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Education for Dog Trainers

Post by Nettle » Sun Jun 28, 2015 3:55 am

I can't comment on the courses available to you because I live in UK and don't know them, but it is wise to research thoroughly before you commit your time and money to any course.

There are some courses here where students have to absorb and regurgitate the 'party line' and others where challenge and argument (properly backed up) is actively encouraged. I should think it's the same where you are.

Good luck and take your time. As the Army saying goes: "No time lost that is spent in reconnaissance".
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


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Re: Education for Dog Trainers

Post by jacksdad » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:29 pm

Both Jean and Karen's schools have good reputations and in my opinion are probably your best bet at a school based on sound concepts, principles, and science.
Jean's school is now structured as a two year program and pushes you along. Not sure about Karen's as I haven't looked at her program's details in a while. I am working with someone who went through Jean's school back when it was at the SF SPCA, and I know someone who when through Karen's school. I would not hesitate to encourage people to give either of these a good close look and serious consideration. I do not know anything about Victoria's school so I can't comment on it beyond her reputation. I just don't know what she covers curriculum wise or what the target student is. beginner, advanced?

My the fine print about payment, time to complete the course and the course syllabus or any other information the school shares about it's content carefully. Make sure you aren't going to pay to learn something you already know.

don't forget to check out actual colleges. 99.99% will not have a "dog degree" so to speak, but almost all have some to some degree course in their psychology, anthropology, biology departments would provide a good foundation in learning, behavior, even related biology/ethology concepts. If you get specific to animal behavior (vs just behavior) options become reduced fast in terms of specific programs and schools. If you want dog specific, that is almost non existent. BUT again, many colleges offer course or degrees in general learning and behavior. it would then be up to you to figure out how to apply specifically to a dog. you may or may not get more mileage out of an actual college than a "specialty dog training school". food for thought.

there is also the self study option. while cheaper, it takes a lot of effort to dig out what to actually read and to have a feel if the material is quality or not. Dog wise and tawzer dog have lots of good stuff to get you started. Amazon has some college level text in learning and behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as animal behavior text books.

Lots of free and/or low cost sources of papers/studies out there as well.

no shortage of options once you start digging.

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Re: Education for Dog Trainers

Post by Dominika » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:53 pm

I am also in the UK and have been thinking of getting into some paid education which after some digging and a little advice here on the forum a couple of years ago I chose one but due to how busy I was in my job I never did any coursework :/... My bad there....

Since then I've just been reading lots, reading my dogs, building their skills, getting to know them better and they are polar opposites so I have to interact with them in compleetly different ways. I have now left than life consuming job, going to workas a waitress, volunteer with a rescue to get lots of experience and in the meantime spread the word to help owners enrich their dogs' lives and to have better relationships with them and ssome training advice in exchange for references in the future. I already have a few 'customers', my boss, friends and some customers from my previous job. Now to pursue my dream job :) it's just up to me!

Main project right now is my friends weimaraner puppy arriving in a couple of weeks, already misbehaved :)

Good luck choosing your path, as long as you work hard and constantly look to better yourself you'll reach your goal :)


Re: Education for Dog Trainers

Post by CarolineLovesDogs » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:22 am

Thank you guys! Yep I'm with you Jacksdad- I don't know a lot about the VS Academy yet. I did request more information so I'm hoping I get some sometime soon.

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