When you call a dog trainer you expect to speak to someone who has been educated in dog training and is a trained expert in canine behavior. Unfortunately, this is often not what happens, and misinformation about dog behavior is rampant.
The misinformation stems from the fact that dog training has been around much longer than the scientific studies of dog behavior. In World War II many soldiers were trained to work with the military dogs. Dog training was militaristic, and did not recognize the complexity we now know is a part of our closest animal companions. They did what was expedient and what worked with no concern about the possible side effects or detrimental impacts on the dogs.
In addition, we lacked the technology that we now have for use in study of wild canids, and the understanding of their relationship to modern dogs. For example, a study was done in the 1940s that still influences some of the way we treat dogs today even though we now know the study to be scientifically flawed and the results inaccurate. This study involved a desire to understand pack structure in wolves. A number of wolves were captured and placed in captivity together. These wolves went about trying to tear each other apart. It was proposed that canine behavior was based on a confrontational system, and that there was constant struggle for “dominance” within the pack. But these wolves were not a pack. And because wolves are territorial, there was no way for them to coexist in the limited space provided. Conflict was the only possible result.
Now that we have the technology needed to observe wolves in the wild we know that a pack is very similar to a human family. Mom and Dad are the pack leaders, with their offspring assuming the subordinate positions in the pack. Puppies are at the bottom, but it is their survival that is most important to the pack. For more on the use of dominance in interpreting dog behavior please see what the scientists have to say by clicking here.
Just about everything we know about domestic dog behavior we have learned in the last 20-30 years. But not everyone has heard the science, and of those who have, not everyone has chosen to accept it. Just as you would reject a doctor that wanted to use leaches to treat your cold, we hope you will reject a dog trainer that uses bad science and potentially dangerous methods to treat your dog’s behavior.
The CCPDT was formed in order to provide a standard that was absent in the dog training industry. The certification is based on a knowledge of behavioral science and canine training and behavior. It is based on current science rather than speculation and tradition. It is based on the methods that are accepted by those who have doctorates in the subject of animal behavior. We hope, if you do not hire us, that you will look for a trainer that has successfully earned this certification.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER CERTIFICATIONS? There are no laws dictating what a dog trainer can and cannot do in the name of training. There are also no laws stating that any “trainer” in the nation cannot create their own certification program. The CCPDT is based on science, and provides an unbiased and extensive testing process to determine qualification. CCPDT is nationally accredited, and is currently the only certification that is. Please do your homework before you hire a trainer, and if your trainer insists you do something you aren’t comfortable with it is okay to walk away. You do not need to use pain or force with your dog in order to train him. This is a scientific fact. Period.