Require Dog Trainers to Complete Special Training

Target: Brad Phifer, president of Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

Goal: Create a positive training curriculum that all dog trainers must complete.

Dog training certification varies depending on individual states and organizations. This leaves a lot of room for different methods and interpretations on how best to train a dog. Unfortunately, this also leaves room for poorly trained trainers who resort to violence to train dogs. If there were a national dog trainer certification program that was required for all dog trainers, this would alleviate the issue of potential abuse and varying methods.

Dog training has evolved over the years based on new scientific information we discover about our canine companions. Some of the more archaic methods and theories are unfortunately still practiced. These methods include physical abuse such as hitting, grabbing and throwing the dog to the ground. The only thing accomplished by those cruel methods are destroying any potential trust a dog might have had. Because these methods allow for the expression of anger by the trainer, they can often lead to greater and more frequent abuse.

Creating a national dog training certification that focused on positive methods would get rid of the abuse. Every dog trainer would have to take and pass this course in order to be a trainer. Positive dog training focuses on rewarding the dog for desired behaviors but avoids punishing the dog. This breeds trust in the dog and makes it more willing to perform specific behaviors. It also sets the dog up for being able to handle new situations.

A national certification program would make sure that all dog trainers knew the same types of methods and theories. Each trainer would be teaching the same basic principles which would keep things simpler for owners. Each trainer would also be certified in teaching dogs the behaviors required to pass the canine citizen test, which would cut down on aggressively behaved dogs. Please sign this petition to demand the creation of a national dog trainer certification program.


Dear Mr. Phifer,

Dog training methods have continued to evolve as we learn more about our canine companions. There are more positive training methods currently used, but many trainers still use the cruel dominance theory methods of dog training. Without a national certification program for dog trainers, these cruel methods will still be used.

Dog trainers should be prepared for their careers like teachers are. There should be a national certification that all dog trainers must receive before they can begin training. This certification program would focus on positive training methods that build trust. All dog trainers would receive the same training which would include how to prepare a dog to take the canine good citizen test. Teaching those behaviors would cut down on aggressive behaviors and would give owners the skills they would need to avoid potential confrontations. Dog owners would also be able to choose any dog trainer and still receive the same training methods.

I urge you to create a certification for all dog trainers that would focus on positive training methods.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Biser Yanev

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