Help! Finding and Choosing a Dog Professional

Sometimes you need a little more help–no worries! Here are our favorite links to professional training and behavior organizations, and some articles about how to choose your trainer.

Choosing a Dog Professional

Dog training is not a regulated industry. It can be very difficult to sift through the various methods of training, professional titles, and certifications. There are several dog training schools, and each school will offer their own titles and certifications. There are also several certifying bodies that provide certifications based upon testing and experience.

Since the dog training industry is unregulated anyone can call themselves anything, including a dog behaviorist. Again, there are several schools that will graduate students with a dog behaviorist title. These titles do indicate a certain level of training, but alone they are not indicative of independent testing by a certifying body.

When choosing a dog professional make sure you choose someone who:

  • Has formal education in their field
  • Is certified, or working towards their certification
  • Has experience with the issues you are having, or has access to a mentor that can guide them
  • Is willing to refer you to a more experienced trainer or behaviorist if the issue is outside of their expertise
  • You feel comfortable with

You are your dog’s voice and their advocate. If you ever feel uncomfortable with your dog professional or their methods, walk away.

Expecting parent? Have kids? Our very own Michelle Stern runs online and in person classes. Lots of great infographics on her website

Behavior problems? Behavior problems such as fear, reactivity or aggression often require an extra level of help and deeper understanding. Your best bet is to seek a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, or one of the team here at 101DogSpots!

Our very own Caitlin Coberly (CDBC) offers online and in-person consultations in Oregon. You can contact her at Kate’s Dogs

For in-person consultations in other locations, we recommend: Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers

Veterinary Behaviorists (US).

If your dog has underlying medical issues or severe issues such that medical intervention may be needed, a vet behaviorist may be your best bet. Wait times can be long, so you may wish to get started with a behavior consultant and your regular veterinarian. Many vet behaviorists can work by phone in conjunction with your local vet and trainer.

Professional Training Organizations

Not all trainers, or all training associations are created equal. The list that we have compiled all tend to have really good trainers, and offer ongoing education that is exceptional. Always interview your trainer and make sure that it is a good fit–but we think these are great places to start!

Pet Professional Guild (US)

K9 Events (Australia)

Institute of Modern Dog Training (UK)

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (UK)

RSPCA Guidance on finding a clinical animal behaviourist, including links to more certifying bodies (UK)

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers

Useful links: advice on choosing a professional

Pet Professional Guild: Ten questions to ask your dog training pro before you hire them

CCPDT: How to choose a professional dog trainer of behaviour consultant

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviour (AVSAB) – How to Choose a Trainer

Humane Society: Tips on choosing a dog trainer