How Professional Are You?

Dog trainers typically don’t receive the professional recognition most of them deserve.  There are many reasons for this, ranging from the lack of a generally accepted educational pathway for becoming a trainer, to disagreements about methods,  “philosophy”, and what body of knowledge and skills any professional trainer should possess.

Although there are exceptions, often the most publicly visible trainers are not always the most skilled or the best versed in scientific principles of learning and behavior.  And sadly, sometimes dog trainers themselves, and the field as a whole don’t always behave as professionals should.

At a recent veterinary conference where we were lecturing, the booth of one of the better known dog training organizations was empty – not staffed.  While last minute emergencies happen, it was still disappointing that this opportunity to network with veterinarians was lost and likely the credibility of the organization took a hit in the eyes of the attendees who stopped by to learn more and found no one at home.

In our presentations at this and other conferences, we continually encourage veterinarians to do their homework when it comes to identifying behavior and training resources they can trust in their community.  From visiting websites, to asking for resumes, bios and certification credentials, to expecting follow-up reports, listening to client feedback, and even inviting local trainers or behavior consultants into the practice to deliver presentations and demonstrations, veterinarians are hearing repeatedly that they can no longer just rely on using whoever drops off business cards or goodies.

A recent article in the APDT Chronicle states that one of the findings from their education survey is that “many” members are not renewing their certification credential (there are a variety to choose from!) because they don’t see it as a good investment that helps them grow their business.  If this is true, this is a distinctly bad trend and a singularly bad individual choice.

While the “alphabet soup” of certification in the dog training field continues to cause confusion, our message to veterinarians when we speak at conferences is that if they look for someone who is certified by one of the three most visible certifications (outside of the only two having any educational degree requirement – CAABs and DACVBs) they will avoid people who are doing bad things to dogs and who are most likely to be up to date with the most current dog training knowledge and methods.  

Assessing the direct value of maintaining one’s certification may be difficult to do.  But in our opinion maintaining one’s certification from a credible body with appropriately stringent requirements will only become more important in the future.  Conducting oneself in a professional manner and continually adding to one’s resume are also crucial to standing above the crowd and becoming the “go to” trainer in your community.

We all know that anyone who has written a book has almost instant credibility in the eyes of many.  Being a published author conveys the message that one has acquired sufficient experience and knowledge to have something important to share with others.  Do you think the people you want to encourage to refer business to you would be impressed if they knew you’d written a book?  In the past, book authorship may have felt out of reach to most of us.    But that’s no longer true. 

If there was truly an easy way for you to create your own book based on what YOU know and what you repeatedly share with YOUR clients on a regular basis, that wouldn’t take enormous amounts of your precious time, wouldn’t require you to be a good writer and wouldn’t require a big monetary investment – would you be interested?  

We really want to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Because we know how valuable your time is, in return for completing this brief FOUR question survey, we will give you access to a 10 minute portion of the recording of Dr. Hetts’ recent lecture “The Bright and Dark Side of Dog Training:  Guidelines for Identifying Dog Trainers You Can Trust” in which we advise veterinarians on what to look for in training and training referral resources in their community.  

Click HERE to take the survey and get access to the recorded lecture.

And in addition, we’ll give you a 15% discount on a package of three On Demand webinars on business related topics that will help you meet the criteria we tell veterinarians to look for.    Members of our Behavior Education Network have access to SEVEN – we are not kidding – seven additional Member Only Webinars on business related topics. 

After you complete the survey, you’ll be taken to the page with the audio recording, details about the three webinar courses and how you can register and receive your discount.  On that page, we’ll also list the Seven Webinars available in BEN.


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