The requirements proposed in the NJ legislation are virtually identical to the requirements of the CPDT-KA certification. I also just got a survey through AKC that was sent to CGC evaluators about our views on AKC possibly offering a trainer certification, so they seem to possibly be heading to offering something. I am finally going to take the CPDT-KA exam in the spring and think it is an excellent certificate. AKC arranged with CCPDT to give a discount on the exam for CGC evaluators who take the test.
There are great trainers in the world and there are terrible ones. I suspect the terrible ones will not do the licensing, but then what kind of enforcement will there be for being unlicensed? That is the big sticking point, but generally I think if you want to take money from people you should have real credentials (even if not required by law) to demonstrate that you are worth hiring.
I'll tell you a story. When my son was 13 or 14, I sent him and my daughter to a horseback riding day camp. He had never been around or on a horse in his life. It turns out he had such a remarkable gift for controlling and riding horses that before the 1st week was over, they offered him a job to teach horseback riding.
I unfortunately couldn't let him accept it, however, b/c I'd be responsible for driving him there and picking him up while working myself, so the logistics made it impossible.
I do believe that some people have a natural gift for training animals, and others will be mediocre no matter how many hundreds of hours they pay for training and licensing, which ironically may bar those who excel but have learning disabilities and never graduated high school or their eyes glaze over reading manuals, yet they have that gift.
It's sort of like that guy that can take a car apart and put it together again, or the cook who could rival a chef, or strong person without a counseling degree who can control and teach severely behavior disordered teens, etc. I've seen and met people like that all my life who have no training or degrees for various legit reasons. They often end up in lower level jobs but out-do the professionals time and time again, and I just shake my head when they're let go b/c their skills make the pros insecure.
It's probably a good idea, however, to have regulation for anyone who comes into your home to have criminal background checks. This way society doesn't miss out on the innately gifted with animals. If they're really good, word will get around.
Also whenever I hear about new calls for state regulation in a field that never had (needed) it before, I wonder if it's a ploy to get more money from people under the cover of licensing.
It's like a tax scheme to generate money for counties and states, and they usually have a political donor pushing for it so that donor will benefit. In this case, maybe the school(s) that are pushing for 300 hours of training dog trainers so they can profit.
I think it’s an excellent idea if there’s a negative consequence for practicing with out a license as Catherine points out.
I consider myself pretty savvy yet when I brought my dog home I didn’t investigate dog training classes as thoroughly as I should have. I don’t have any regrets but I was lucky that I didn’t get a truly aggressive ill informed training. My first trainer was not ideal but at least she had some good basics. I’m sticking with my dog clubs where the training is top notch.
But I have seen some results of terrible dog training. Last year some one with a large young male Briard puppy was pulling on their dog while it was wearing a Herm Sprenger Prong Collar. I immediately stopped the man and explained how the collar was supposed to work and that he must never pull on it. I suggested if he felt that he would continue to pull to try a nose leader or harness. He told me that he had been taking the dog to a private trainer and he had been shown to do this. Not only that but he left the dog with the trainer for two weeks for intensive training. A few weeks later I met him and his dog and the dog was walking beautifully with a nose leader and the guy thanked me profusely. He didn’t realize that the techniques this so called trainer was using was brutal for his dog and since switching to the nose leader his dog was so much better behaved in the house as well as on walks. He regrets putting his dog through that rough training. I suspect this trainer wouldn’t try to get a license and would fail any test.
It’s a shame there aren’t more veterinarian behavioralist because they have special expertise that goes beyond most trainers. My daughter took her rough collie everywhere to all the top trainers to get help with leash reactivity. Turns out her dog had serious fears of other dogs and needed medication, she didn’t have leash reactivity. The vet behavioralist saw more than what the trainers did.
I got SO lucky with my first trainer who had the certification AND had worked with the late Dr. Sophia Yin. She was also a person who had a connection with Buck. She could settle him in seconds and he was a wild child. She left the field to join her husband’s company and her successors were also certified, but they were awful. Tether Buck to a tree to keep him from jumping... I do want the certificate, but I also want the dog magic for the hourly rate.
I think today there are laws for this and for that and it would just become a law for the state or county to make $. I do however believe that the AKC (or other reputable organization) issuing certificates for trainers that have been tested to be a good thing. I personally would lean toward a trainer that had a certificate. I have used two different trainers here, one was a trainer who also trained for the police and has written a few books and the last one I used trained military dogs and for the police. I like this guy very much he handles the dogs without using a lot of harsh techniques however he could I guess if necessary. He wants the dog to understand what it is you want before making any corrections, if correction is needed he takes the minimal first, like the air...Renn was a jumping maniac and he didn't want to correct him using his prong collar as that was too harsh, the air just got his attention and put his mind in another place. I think as a dog owner you have to be responsible for who is training your dog.
Mufar yes I think we have a responsibility to find good dog trainers, outstanding schools for our children, watch out that there aren't child predators in a facility where our kids spend time, watch out for elder abuse in nursing homes and such. It is a crazy sad world in so many ways.
The good news is there are a variety of ways to find good dog trainers. I highly recommend finding someone who is a member of the APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) and also CPDT-KA (certified professional dog trainer-knowledge assessed).
I haven't done any research on this question since it was raised by LizzysMom beyond the article, it's links and fellow PF'ers input.
As I understand the intent, it's to bring standardization and demonstrate competency and even humane practices for credentialing.
Will this bring accountability to the trainers if they don't follow the standards, and if so, to whom? Would this give the pet owner some recourse if they actually don't get what they have "contracted" for? Or worse, a pet who was actually harmed?
There's "bite" to licensing for humans (doctors, contractors, educators, etc). When it comes to animals, the accountability and redress usually isn't there legally.
I'm really not a fan of creating even more laws, but, for those who don't have a way to speak for themselves, if it can help to protect them, I'm for it.