Thursday, March 5, 2009

CCPDT ... say what?

Say what? I mentioned this way back in one of my first posts - I thought I could clear up some of that crazy gobbledygook that creeps up on you in the dog world.

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) is an organization that has been put together to standardize dog training techniques to provide a baseline for trainers. The CCPDT is attempting to show people that dog trainers should have some sort of certification behind them. Said certification is the Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT).

Quoted from the website about CPDT requirements:

To meet eligibility requirements, candidate trainers must have: at least 300 hours experience in dog training within the last five years; a high school diploma or equivalent; and one reference each from a veterinarian, a client, and a professional colleague. The certification testing covers knowledge of dog behavior and application of training techniques. The exam's five content areas include: Learning Theory, Instruction skills, Husbandry, Ethology, and Equipment.

Basically the problem is that anyone off the street can call themselves a "dog trainer". The CPDT was designed to prevent this.

Sounds too good to be true, eh? Makes finding a dog trainer easy, right? Possibly - depending on what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a person who will teach you obedience or puppy socialization, then this is a great resource and you should absolutely seek out a CPDT. But what if you are looking for someone to teach you how to work with and fix your problem dog? What if you are looking for someone to teach you agility or schutzhund?

You may find that the trainer who specializes in agility, schutzhund or problem solving have their CPDT, but you may find some don't. If you are looking for something more than basic obedience, than be prepared to find someone with few credentials and a fair amount of experience.

CPDT is a great resource and tool. My opinion is that every trainer should have this certification. True, not all trainers need those extra letters behind their names ... but sometimes the general public does.

So ... Clear as mud, right?


Splash said...

It's pretty hard for someone like me, teaching basic obedience for my local dog club, to get the experience requirements while also working full time, training my own dogs, and you know, living a life.

I looked into certification last time I was at APDT, but concluded that APDT was trying to establish a class of pro trainers, sort of an elite. And leaving folks like me out in the cold. I admit, I was more than a little disappointed, and ended up dropping my APDT membership.

Just my .02

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Splash - I agree. I didn't say it was an easy task :) just one that was worthwhile for trainers. I have been looking into the requirements and trying to figure out how I could manage it as well as continue to work my fulltime job and keep up my volunteer work ... so far, I haven't found a way.

Splash said...

I guess what bothers me most is this:

You have folks like me and a bizillion others that have been training, competing, maybe breeding a few litters for most of our lives. We have loads of knowledge.

But every APDT certified trainer I have met has, and I kid you not, about two years dog training experience. They have the time to complete the requirements because generally they are young folks or don't work full-time for one reason or another.

So, the APDT does not value life-long learning? Don't I get some credit for adopting clicker training in 1986, before some of the certified kids were born?

[sounding like an old person now and BTW get off my lawn!!]

Sort of leaves me feeling the only friend I have anymore is the AKC.

ok /myRant
I will say no more.

GoLightly said...

"least 300 hours experience in dog training within the last five years"
But if you don't?
That's sort of strange. Isn't owning a dog a life-long hourly training session? Yeah,it should be, I know.
I can't teach others, but I know enough to train my own dog well?
Seems to me, just my unfortunate experience, that you can be certified, and still wrong. Like that first trainer of Flip.
Don't take this the wrong way. You know I kinda dedicate myself to my dogs, who are ferociously playing right now..
I'm abnormal. But, if you're saying "anybody" can have already done it (the 300 hours of training) where did they train? Who did they train? (rubs hands together) Maybe I can train. Who pays for it??
Oh, this makes no sense.
nothing new there..

ok, my rant over too.

GoLightly said...

and it's amazing how clueless some of these newbies really are, to me anyway. Heck, I've seen some scary "experienced" owners.

Ok, I be quiet.

what was this about again:)
I hear ya, splash. I think the same may have happened here too. No proof whatso'tever. Just a feeling..

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

I agree with you both, but disagree at the same time.

(Hence my comments "be prepared to find someone with few credentials and a fair amount of experience" and "True, not all trainers need those extra letters behind their names")

Here's the thing. There are a lot of people out there claiming to be "trainers" who haven't got a clue. Just like that trainer for Flip.

Yes, certifications are hard to get. But I still think that trainers should strive to get them.

The 300 hours is over a 5 year period ... That means you could do as little as 1.2 hours per week to get it.

I don't know about you, but I spend more than 1.2 hours per week training dogs ...

If you spend 8 hours a week, you could finish the 300 hours in 38 weeks. That's less than one year.

Believe it or not, if you sat down and calculated the hours, it's not really that much!

GoLightly said...

But, WherE?
I just grab someone off the street, and train the poor thing? Unpaid?

Go to a local shelter? None of which is local to me?
Absolutely. There should be this type of test.
I just find that part confusing.
Are you saying there is a shortage of trainers, period, anyway?
People are looking for training and can't find it? &
Would (ahem) PaY for it?
said hopefully, I may need to supplement my income, somehow..

I don't understand why the quality of training in the prospective trainer's own dogs, wouldn't qualify as SOMEthing.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

No, I'm not saying there is a shortage of trainers. I'm saying there are too many people who claim to be trainers and have nothing to show for it other than their own dogs.

If someone is going to be a 'trainer' anyway, than they are likely already running some sort of training program, yes? The hours they put forth during this training can go towards their CCPDT cert.

If someone is looking at a career change ... well, everyone has to take training if they want a career change. You can't just walk in and expect everyone to accept that you know it all ... teachers require certifications, why not trainers too?