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The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers is celebrating 20 years as the leading certification organization for dog trainers!

In 2001, 120 dog trainers took the first examination for professional certification while attending the Association of Professional Dog Trainers Educational Conference in Ellenville, NY. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers’ Education Committee created this first-of-its-kind test to recognize the growing importance of professionalism in the dog training industry.


Since then, CCPDT has continuously worked in the public interest by establishing and enforcing education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements for dog training and behavior professionals. We now have 4,500 certified training professionals worldwide who proudly carry the CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA, and CBCC-KA credentials.

What are those letters after our names?


When you see the letters "CPDT-KA" after our instructors' names, it means those instructors have met the requirements of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.  These dedicated trainers have studied hard and sat for a rigorous exam covering learning theory, ethology, classroom management and more, and passed and continue to maintain their professional status through continuing education credits.

We are proud to have seven Certified Professional Dog Trainers on staff at Diamonds in the Ruff and others currently working toward their certification requirements, which include study of
learning theory, ethology, animal husbandry and classroom management.  We endeavor to stay on the cutting edge of humane training techniques by traveling to attend behavior seminars every year, learning the best from the best.


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History of CCPDT

The CCPDT's certification program was the first national certification for dog trainers. Until the creation of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2001, there was no nationally available certification process for dog trainers. Many schools teach dog trainers and offer certification for their specific programs. These certificates, therefore, reflect the teachings and quality of a specific school. Other organizations offer take-home tests for "certification". These tests are not monitored, nor are the testing processes standardized, or checked by a psychometrician. The CCPDT administered its first test September 28, 2001, during the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Annual Educational Conference in Ellenville, NY.

Since then, CCPDT has expanded to offer knowledge and skills based examinations covering animal training and behavior.

Candidates who pass the CCPDT's examinations earn specific designations which may be used after their names. All certificants must earn continuing education units to maintain their designations. They must also adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in their practices.

We are excited to announce that the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers has earned accreditation by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) through their National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for both its Certified Professional Dog Trainers - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and Certified Behavior Consultant Canine - Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) certifications. This is something that you can boast about because we are the only dog trainer and canine behavior certification program to earn accreditation by NCCA.


In order to achieve this milestone, CCPDT had to demonstrate compliance with the strict standards set by NCCA.   This evaluation examined all aspects of our program including administrative procedures, role delineation studies, test development, test security, standard setting, policies, board responsibilities, eligibility criteria, recertification practices, psychometric reviews, and verification of reliability and validity of the credentials.


"It was a rigorous process that took many months, but CCPDT now has the satisfaction of knowing that we meet the highest standards within the credentialing industry" stated Bradley Phifer, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA, President of CCPDT.


- The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
December 2014


Not all certifications are the same.
Some trainers are "certified" by the school that they took their educational program through whereas others are certified through independent certifying bodies that are not affiliated with any particular school or program. So a "certified trainer" could be someone who simply took a two-week course on training or someone who has studied dog training and behavior extensively for years and was independently tested on their knowledge and skills. The term "certification" is widely used incorrectly in the field and most certifications are in fact certificate programs. This does not mean that certificate programs are bad and many of them are quite good, but the dog owner should be aware that the term means many different things in this field.  Click here for more info and explanations of degrees and designations.

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