Dog Obedience Trainer Educational Programs & Certifications

 dog obedience trainer educational programs and certifications

Dog obedience trainers are professionals with an in-depth knowledge of dog behavior and psychology. They can leverage this knowledge to help positively modify dog behavior either towards a generally positive/more obedient direction or for specialized situations and duties, such as in companion dogs and search & rescue dogs.

Because of the need for a germane understanding of animal psychology and behavior, it is usually advisable for aspiring dog obedience trainers to pass through a formal program before they begin to work professionally.

Below are some of the most notable programs in the country with the highest education standards.

Top Programs

Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior

Victoria Stilwell Academy is renowned for setting a strong foundation for prospective dog trainers by establishing solid fundamentals. To that end, they have a fundamental dog training and behavior course taken by individuals and pet parents looking to establish a stronger bond with their dogs.

Another option is the Dog Trainer Course, available both on campus and online. Total program cost ranges between $299 and $3,959.

Starmark Academy

Located in Hutto, Texas, Starmark Academy offers courses in Pet Obedience Theory and Application, Canine Training, and Canine Training and Behavior. Students also get to enjoy housing along with state-of-the-art training equipment.

Total cost ranges between $6,700 to $11,800.

The Tom Rose School

The Tom Rose School in High Ridge, Missouri, offers a variety of courses, each with its own length. One of them is the professionals’ course with a 15-week duration, along with the Master and Service Dog courses that last for eight weeks. Others include the ultimate course and the service dog trainer course.

CATCH Canine Trainers Academy

Without a doubt, one of the most popular dog training academies in the country, CATCH Canine Trainers Academy is located in Little Falls, New Jersey. Here students get to learn how to become successful dog trainers in a flexible yet exhaustive way.

Cost ranges between $1,000 to just a little over $5,000.

Tarheel Canine Training School

One of the appeals of attending Tarheel Canine Training School is the many course options available. Among these are the professional trainer/instructor’s course, master trainer course, K9 detection, search-and-rescue, master obedience trainer course, and professional obedience trainer course.

These programs last between 2 weeks and six months. Tarheel Canine Training School is located in Sanford, North Carolina.

Other Notable Mentions

Some other top dog training programs in the country worthy of consideration include the Jo-Thor’s Dog Trainer’s Academy, Dog Trainer College, and the Rocky Mountain Regional Dog Training Academy, which provide excellent instructions in a handful of specialized dog training courses.

Online Programs

The Academy for Dog Trainers

The Academy for Dog Trainers offers dog obedience training programs to aspiring candidates worldwide. One of the most interesting aspects of the program is that students get to go at their own pace seeing as the coursework is available for two years.

The program boasts renowned experts and instructors from all over the world.

Animal Behavior College (ABC)

The Animal Behavior College offers a handful of online courses for aspiring dog obedience trainers. Once the theoretical aspects of the program are complete, students also get to gain hands-on experience through an externship program wherein they work with professional trainers and volunteer in dog shelters.

The Karen Pryor Academy

The Karen Pryor Academy seeks to provide students with everything they’ll need to achieve success in the field. These include online learning, work experience and mentorship. The program lasts for a total of six months and is available in about 25 locations all over the country.

Top Tier K9

Top Tier K9 in Madison, Florida offers a handful of online courses in pet training. The courses vary in duration based on complexity. One of the most appealing aspects of the course is the fact that students get to choose between taking classes online or attending them on site.

Another is the fact that the program boasts of a virtual reality dog training center.


Becoming certified or obtaining a license is not a state-mandated requirement for dog obedience trainers. Still, many choose to do so anyway. They choose to do so because this simple step comes with a ton of additional benefits, not the least of which is access to a greater deal of employment opportunities.

Certification brings about a higher level of credibility, which leads to more demand and a freedom to set a bigger service price.

Becoming certified requires going through and successfully completing test standards set by specific organizations and certification bodies. Below are some of the most notable of these:

Canine Club Academy Certified Dog Trainer (CCA-CDT)

The Canine Club Academy offers the Certified Dog Trainer credential (CCA-CDT) for interested professionals through a program that lasts for 24 weeks. Students are tested in areas such as history, dog psychology, healthcare, nutrition, employment, business toolkit and marketing strategies, among others.

Canine Trainers Academy Certified Dog Trainer (CCDT)

The CATCH Canine Trainers Academy offers a Certified Dog Trainer (CCDT) credential for program graduates. Along with the certification, students can access mentorship opportunities, a library of advanced materials, and business-building resources.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA)

Dog obedience trainers may acquire additional credibility by becoming certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. The council offers two credentials: the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge-Assessed (CPDT-KA) and the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge and Skills Assessed (CPDT-KSA).

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC & CDBC)

The Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) credential is offered by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). The organization also offers an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC) credential with different requirements.

International Association of Canine Professionals Certified Dog Trainer (IACP-CDT)

By fulfilling a handful of conditions and passing a written exam, dog obedience trainers can become certified through the International Association of Canine Professionals’ CDT (Certified Dog Trainer) and CDTA (Certified Dog Trainer Advanced) credentials.