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Old 07-25-2012, 01:13 AM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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Default Looking for certification or education.

I know I've posted a similar thread before, but here goes. I'm always trying to expand my knowledge base of dog training with books, seminars, classes, experience... But I really want to do something where I'll really have something to show for it. There's quite a few options out there, and I thought I had this all figured out. But I've been weighing my options and just can't make up my mind.

At this point, my parents are willing to either fund or lend for education for me, so I wanna jump on that before I lose that opportunity. Here's my train of thought thus far.

I was initially going to go for the ccpdt-ka certification, but then I thought I might want to enroll in a course. ABC is out of the question, it doesn't seem like they have enough to offer me to justify the price. My next choice was the Karen Pryor academy, and I even went as far as to fill out the application-- but I didn't send it in. I do want to focus on reward based training, and clicker/marker training is a passion of mine. But I definitely want to expand into learning about protection/IPO, service dog training, etc. Although it looks like there's plenty to offer me, I'm afraid being a Karen Pryor graduate will take away the flexibility for the different training techniques I may encounter along the way. I am not even sure of what sort of policies and guidelines I would have to adhere to, but I can imagine (can anybody chime in about that?).

There's always the option of going to college to study something geared toward animal behavior, too.

So, I just want to know others' opinions on what's worth the price and/or certification. I know there's nothing more valuable than studying under a great trainer, but that just doesn't seem to be an option here.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:04 PM
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I've never been interested enough to pursue looking into actual places to go for training with certification for dog training, but an idea for you, have you asked Fleetwood's breeder? I know she works with an organization that trains and places service dogs, and she might be able to help you find a good program with certification? Just a thought.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:26 PM
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She runs a dog trainer's training program. It looks as if it has plenty to offer, but I don't know what it costs. She told me about it when I picked fleetwood up. She does very mixed training, but she does emphasize a lot on aversives, including alpha rolls. I would also have to leave home for 6 weeks+ to complete the course. So especially without knowing the price (does anybody else see that in the website?) I have mixed feelings.

Here's the website for it http://www.caninespecialty.org/acstschool.html
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:04 AM
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Ughhh. I would stay very, VERY far away from anyone who uses alpha rolls in training. Even a great breeder can be stuck on ignorant traditions.

I know several KPA graduates, and they're all successful trainers now, in different venues. One became a behaviorist, one is a very popular obedience class trainer, one does agility classes, and one is working with my mentor to start her own classes. You want (or at least I want) a training program to give you a very strong foundation of knowledge, surrounded by mentors who you respect & who have proven themselves... books can only get you so far! What you do with that knowledge is up to you. However, if you spend a lot of time around Karen Pryor trainers, you'll probably find that you can accomplish anything with force free training that you could using force - and get even better results! There are many positive protection & service dog trainers out there. You can still work with "balanced" trainers in protection and formulate your own training style. Personally, I'd rather get a lot of experience with different trainers and decide what I like and what I don't. A foundation at KPA or another fantastic training school (Jean Donaldson's is good, but it's all online) just gives you a really solid education, confidence and credentials - where you go from there is up to you!

If there are no opportunities to apprentice under a trainer, I'd definitely go with KPA or something along those lines. It's really difficult to just jump into training (unless you're training for Petsmart) without a mentor to show you the ropes and guide you into it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:21 AM
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I totally forgot about Jean Donaldson's academy. I was interested in that one too, mostly because I know she goes into aggression, and you can finish it at your own pace. But I really like that Karen Pryor's does hands-on workshops. Does anybody have any personal experience or input on the Jean Donaldson Academy?

Force free dog training and behavior modification is where I want to study, without a doubt. I have no doubt in my mind that anything can be accomplished that way, if you're open to it and patient enough. Not everybody feels that way, and I can't say that I will go through my whole life shunning every professional that touches a pinch collar!
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tazwell View Post
She runs a dog trainer's training program. It looks as if it has plenty to offer, but I don't know what it costs. She told me about it when I picked fleetwood up. She does very mixed training, but she does emphasize a lot on aversives, including alpha rolls. I would also have to leave home for 6 weeks+ to complete the course. So especially without knowing the price (does anybody else see that in the website?) I have mixed feelings.

Here's the website for it http://www.caninespecialty.org/acstschool.html
Ouch, never looked into it so I didn't know, yeah I would stand back from it too. I do not believe it "trainers" who use outdated methods with a passion.

Like I said, I've not pursued this myself, but I totally agree with you in wanting to learn more from force-free educational options. I'm more interested in behavior than training myself, because "dog training" really is more about training owners than dogs and it takes a lot of dedication and sometimes a strong nerve to stand up to some owners. I'm not a people person, enough said? lol.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:37 AM
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If you do take certification courses, I would also suggest looking at other methods and styles of teaching, so you have a lot more to offer than page 34. Take seminars with other trainers in other venues, you'll pick up bits and bites of stuff you can use in other situations. Learn how a prong is used properly for example, so if someone comes to you and says 'I will only use this collar' then you can at least say 'well do it right then' instead of passing up on a client.

Being able to title your own dogs helps, as does having an open mind - when I see some trainer websites and it says they took a six week course and that's all the education they have, I am not impressed. When I see they've titled multiple dogs in multiple events, different breeds etc.... then I want to know more.

Certainly as part of your 'education' you could look at assisting classes with other trainers too...
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:51 AM
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If you want to do bitesports as well, I know Michael Ellis has his school. I've never been to it, but do know him personally and have trained with him. One of those guys that can teach and train.

Without a doubt he knows how and why dogs do what they do. a prong collar or electric won't be shunned like with some, and it's certainly not the focal point. I'm always a fan of a bigger bag of tricks when it comes to training, though 90% of your success will come from just doing the basics well.

If you're doing this for your future, what are your goals? If it's OB training, bitework etc, I'd look to a trainer like Ellis, there are others, but he's probably the only one with a "school" right now i'd recommend. many i'd take in some seminars on though.

If you're thinking aggression and problem dogs, maybe Pryor, not because I think she's any better, but the perception is different. Most of the problem dogs are problems because of no training. The ones that do have real issues, are usually managed thru good sound training techniques anyway and learning to recognize what might be a situation and how to handle it. Any good dog trainer can do that, but Pryor has that perception about being a "behaviorist".

one might help you with marketing down the road to the clients you're looking for. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:26 AM
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I have a ton of respect for those who go to college for actual behavioral psychology type studies.

As for training though I would avoid anything too limiting.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:04 AM
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I'm not sure what I want to do in my future. I've not tried enough to know yet. Fleetwood was supposed to be my get-titled-in-as-much-as-we-can dog, but he's a lemon. He's always to ill to train or compete. We're working on that though.

In fact, my biggest interests right now seem to be behavior modification/aggression, schutzhund/IPO, and service dog training. I have little experience with the first, and none with the last two.

It seems like KPA is still the best option to begin with, but I just don't like the idea of being limited as much as the graduates are. It really does seem like there's so much to learn there.

A trainer-friend of mine just got back from Michael ellis's school-- I was so jealous, lol! But having never even trained in schutzhund, I don't feel as I'd that would be appropriate for me at all. It seems like everything points to performance and schutzhund training with him. Definitely sometime in the future though!

I guess when it comes down to it, I decided to do KPA, and I had to ever forfeit or suspend my title-- I would still have the valuable education that I got there.
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