Dog trainers earn certification
Grandbouche: Expanding industry requires diversification
November 26, 2008
The dog training industry is changing, and two of its local practitioners are trying to keep up.
“It used to be learn a few things and get by,” Glenna Grandbouche said. “But you can’t do that anymore.”
Grandbouche co-owns Canines Unlimited LLC, a Craig business that specializes in dog training and other canine-related services. She and Laura Tyler, another local dog trainer, recently received the title Certified Pet Dog Trainer from Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
CCPDT offers the first national dog trainer certification program, according to the organization’s Web site.
Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a worldwide program, developed the program in response to a perceived requirement for the industry and its clients.
“Early on, the (association) recognized the need for certification for its profession,” according to the Web site. “Pet dog trainers needed a credible means of measuring their knowledge and skills, and the dog-owning public needed a credible barometer for choosing a trainer.”
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Getting certified by CCPDT isn’t a walk in the park. It requires 300 hours of logged experience and a 300-question exam, which lasts four hours. It took Tyler, who owns the Craig-based dog training business Total Teamwork Training, five years to meet the first requirement.
And, getting certified wasn’t cheap, either.
The culminating test, which Tyler took in Grand Junction, cost more than $300. In addition, she had to purchase “a boatload of books,” she said.
Tyler estimated she spent more than $500 in the certification process.
She and Grandbouche have been in the dog training business for more than 20 years. Still, they felt there was more that they needed to learn.
“We’re learning more about dog behavior, canine learning theory : and as that science evolves, those of us that are in the training industry educate ourselves to stay in touch with the scientific training,” Tyler said.
Grandbouche holds the same view.
“You always have to be involved in what’s current, what’s new,” she said.
From her perspective, the dog training industry has expanded and become more competitive.
Dog owners are savvier in choosing a specialist to help them train their dogs, she said, adding that an increasingly diversified market requires dog trainers to be more flexible than they used to be.
In light of those changes, she thinks continuing education is a must for dog trainers.
Grandbouche remembers a time several years ago when dog trainers could specialize in one aspect of the profession.
Those times have changed.
“I just simply don’t believe that, as a professional, you can get by with that anymore,” she said.
Fortunately, certification exposes trainers to a wide range of canine-related topics, from handling to animal husbandry to learning theory.
Since passing the culminating test in September, both trainers have noticed a change in their work-related skills.
“I certainly have a better understanding of canine behavior, but I also have a better understanding of different styles of training,” Grandbouche said.
Tyler can relate.
“I think my ability to help people in individual situations has improved, since I work with whole families,” she said, adding that her business helps dogs and families work better together.
From her perspective, becoming certified through a national program could boost her clients’ confidence in her skills.
After all, it’s not the same profession they entered more than two decades ago.
“We’ve come a long way since just teaching ‘sit down, stand, stay, come here,'” Tyler said.
Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org