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Old 02-17-2014, 08:20 PM
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Ok, so I made the huge leap today of deciding that I think I'd like to be a trainer. I've been apprenticing with an awesome one for awhile, and I realized that I literally count down to the days with her, every week (I keep a day job for the money, but it also involves dogs ). I've been consuming every book on training I can find, and observing agility trials, and talking with other trainers, and taking Astro to every type of class there is. I've been giving advice for basic pet training, with the approval of my company, to clients at my day job, and it's been going wonderfully. Obviously, there's still SO MUCH for me to learn, but I feel like I'm making good progress, considering I didn't have any grasp at all of what I wanted for a career 1 year ago. Maybe it won't pan out, who knows, but I'd like to give it my best shot.

I feel that the most important thing is to keep at it with my trainer, since we jive well, she's well-respected in the area, and I can glean things from her in person (she's also tremendously available, I really don't know how I'd go through this without her). But I'd also like to start attending as many seminars as I can, and of course, training Astro to a higher degree as he matures; we're currently in private lessons weekly.

I'd like to take the CPDT exam (eventually - I really want to lay the foundations slowly and well), but I'd also like to do a longer course to flesh things out. I was looking at Karen Pryor's professional trainer course and trainer foundation courses - I really wanted to go to the ClickerExpo in Lancashire in October (it's sold out already, BOOOOOO), and stumbled upon those courses.

I guess the thing tripping me up is the pledge, combined with the cost. It seems the pledge is intentionally a little bit vague, but as I understand it your certification can actually be revoked if you're found to use aversives.

I can't find ANYTHING stating what will actually get your KPA graduate good-standing revoked. Does anyone know? Is it one of those things where if you advertise yourself as a 'positive trainer' but whip out choke collars for 8-month-old puppies, it's gone...or is it more, you said 'uh-oh, whoops!' to a client's dog once, and that was enough? I guess I'm a bit nervous to plop down so much money before knowing more, but I just can't seem to find anywhere that lists the exact line in the sand.

And if anyone has any other advice or schools to recommend to me, I'd be ever grateful I mainly like the KPA for the combination of online stuff with occasional in-person teaching; I have work so I can't do a full-blown live course, but I don't really want to do something that's just online.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:24 PM
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Sorry I don't know much about training ins/outs but great for you that you've found something you want to do that you are passionate about!

Karen Pryor has an academy I believe... that's where Merlin's first trainer graduated from and I really like her.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:34 PM
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The Karen pryor academy is definitely well-respected and would be a great accomplishment.

My opinion though? If you're enjoying it with your trainer, I would work up the ranks with her to get your cpdt-ka and honestly, that is SO much more than most have and you will have a great grasp on training classes and working with every type of dog. Anything else will just be personal growth, really. IMO, I have not seen a course that equals nearly as much as a cpdt-ka would.

I'm doing this... I work for an organization, enjoying it and learning through that alone (plus training/trialing my own dogs and volunteer work, of course!) and collecting the hours to take my cpdt-ka.

I absolutely love training and will probably always do it if I don't make a career out of it... I'm glad you love it as well!
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Fran101 View Post
Sorry I don't know much about training ins/outs but great for you that you've found something you want to do that you are passionate about!

Karen Pryor has an academy I believe... that's where Merlin's first trainer graduated from and I really like her.
Thanks! It's really the first thing that's felt both enjoyable and viable as a career move. I did my undergraduate degree in English and History, got my MA in History, and found that in the end, I have almost 0 drive to continue in either of those fields in a way that would actually net me a full-time job. Wish I hadn't spent so much time on dead ends for me, but oh well, what can you do?

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Originally Posted by DJEtzel View Post
The Karen pryor academy is definitely well-respected and would be a great accomplishment.

My opinion though? If you're enjoying it with your trainer, I would work up the ranks with her to get your cpdt-ka and honestly, that is SO much more than most have and you will have a great grasp on training classes and working with every type of dog. Anything else will just be personal growth, really. IMO, I have not seen a course that equals nearly as much as a cpdt-ka would.

I'm doing this... I work for an organization, enjoying it and learning through that alone (plus training/trialing my own dogs and volunteer work, of course!) and collecting the hours to take my cpdt-ka.

I absolutely love training and will probably always do it if I don't make a career out of it... I'm glad you love it as well!
Thanks for the input! I've discussed the CPDT-KA exam a bit with her (how she found it, and what she thinks I should do to prepare). It's definitely my end goal, I think I'm just anxious to throw in more variables as I build up hours. I'm a bit overeager probably given the newness of the decision

And it's a great love to share! I've found the community of people really involved in dog training (from professionals to individuals just working with their own dogs) thus far to be really wonderful. I come from an equestrian background and I hate to say it, but horse people are WAY scarier, and I was actually concerned for a long time that dog people would be the same . Hasn't been the case for me, at least so far.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:08 PM
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I'm an engineer, so I don't have much real world experience here. After talking to my trainers, I would recommended to keep it amateur for now and take and teach as many classes as you can. The woman I train with who owns a facility and takes on a lot of client dogs has no time to work with her own dogs beyond show handkling. The women who teach a couple classes per week and still do things with their own dogs seem much happier. I don't know much about accreditation (though I like APDT) but I feel like overall experience is more important than certifications.

ETA: And I agree that equestrian people are way scarier! haha. I was the "poor" kid who rode school horses and I do find dogs to be a much more welcoming community.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SpaceMutt View Post

I guess the thing tripping me up is the pledge, combined with the cost. It seems the pledge is intentionally a little bit vague, but as I understand it your certification can actually be revoked if you're found to use aversives.

I can't find ANYTHING stating what will actually get your KPA graduate good-standing revoked. Does anyone know? Is it one of those things where if you advertise yourself as a 'positive trainer' but whip out choke collars for 8-month-old puppies, it's gone...or is it more, you said 'uh-oh, whoops!' to a client's dog once, and that was enough? I guess I'm a bit nervous to plop down so much money before knowing more, but I just can't seem to find anywhere that lists the exact line in the sand.
I asked my friendly neighborhood KPA grad and according to her, it's somewhat flexible. As in, you can use NRMs if an individual dog needs it to help them reset instead of getting "stuck" on something. No P+ per se and certainly no P+ tools like prongs but I doubt saying "uh-oh!" would cause any problems as long as it's not a dog who would take that as an aversive and you are using on a case by case basis, not just teaching classes and telling everyone to use NRMs for all dogs in all situations. They treat it seriously.

Dunno if that helps.
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Old 02-18-2014, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Shai View Post
I asked my friendly neighborhood KPA grad and according to her, it's somewhat flexible. As in, you can use NRMs if an individual dog needs it to help them reset instead of getting "stuck" on something. No P+ per se and certainly no P+ tools like prongs but I doubt saying "uh-oh!" would cause any problems as long as it's not a dog who would take that as an aversive and you are using on a case by case basis, not just teaching classes and telling everyone to use NRMs for all dogs in all situations. They treat it seriously.

Dunno if that helps.
Depends on your workshop instructor. NRMs weren't allowed in our workshops, I use them now though.

Feel free to PM about KPA, I graduated a few years ago and make my living as a dog trainer.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:11 AM
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Most trainers in my area seem to be people who have trained and trialled in their sport for a while- 10+ years usually.

I have not had great luck with pet trainers so take that with a grain of salt.... my run ins with accredited trainers have just been bad for the most part. I am sure it depends on the trainer vs the method overall but I know if I'm looking for a trainer, I'm not looking for any certificates from dog training schools, I'm looking at their dogs and their students' dogs.

I'd love to train one day but I feel like I need a lot more experience. That and I'd want to teach the fun classes, haha.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:13 AM
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Depends on your workshop instructor. NRMs weren't allowed in our workshops, I use them now though.

Feel free to PM about KPA, I graduated a few years ago and make my living as a dog trainer.
Thanks for the clarification. Yes she was speaking as a grad and making decisions for individual client dogs. In the workshops/while proving skills on the way to certification, using a NRM would have been a problem. Even now it's used only sparingly and for specific situations/dogs.
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