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About DogPACT

Choosing a Trainer

The back story

Dog training has changed immensely over the last 20 to 30 years. It pays to know a bit about the history of dog training so that you can make the most informed decision about the training philosophies and techniques that will be used to train you and your dog.

In the “old days,” most trainers followed the military style of training, which resulted in a misguided belief in physically and emotionally intimidating dogs in the quest to teach them “obedience.” Equipment such as prong/pinch collars and choke chains are commonly used by trainers subscribing to the use of, at some time in their training, intimidation, compulsion, or force. Some trainers still use these techniques today, but call them “balanced” training, and some even call them positive reinforcement (yikes!).

Additionally, research with captive wolves erroneously led us to believe that domestic dogs’ behaviors were motivated by the desire to “be dominant.” These beliefs have been debunked. Whole Dog Journal - Alpha Dogs

There is also a confounding belief system that supports the notion that dogs act from some kind of inner “desire to please” us. If you think about it, it’s a pretty strange idea that a dog would to try to dominate someone and please them at the same time. APDT Dominance and Dog Training. Even on its own, a belief in dogs’ desire to please results in frustration by people who think their dog should be more compliant or “obedient” simply because dogs should have a desire to please us. 

At long last, in the 1970s lure-reward training was introduced, and we found that you did not need to physically push, prod, and “correct” your dog to train him. Training could now be fun and effective. Dog Star Daily - Lure Reward Training

Then, in the 1990s clicker training, in use by animal trainers of other species since the 1940s, finally successfully made its way to dog training. Clicker training is one of the most effective and fun ways to train a variety of behaviors and has been embraced by positive reinforcement trainers while being misunderstood and maligned by some trainers who don’t understand how it works. The history of clicker training is a fascinating story that has enriched many animals’ lives for over seven decades! Dr Sophiayin - The Best Animal Trainers in History - Interview with Bob and Marian Bailey.

Now, some of the most exciting changes in dog training come from the area of human behavior analysis. If you are interested in exploring how applied behavioral analysis is used across a broad spectrum of species, check out behaviorworks.org.  On that site, Dr. Susan Friedman’s Written Works pages are a great place to immerse yourself if you are a behavior junkie.

DogPACT is proud to actively participate in the continuing quest to make dog training force free and fun for both dogs and people. Our trainers earn continuing education units by attending industry conferences and workshops, and are excited to bring state-of-the-art dog training to our clients and dogs.

Make an educated decision

Be an informed consumer. Educate yourself about effective, positive reinforcement training and do your due diligence before choosing a trainer. Ask trainers to be specific about how they would address a particular problem you are encountering with your dog. For example, if your dog is barking at people walking past your home, what would the trainer recommend?

If the trainer asks questions first, and then talks about training “alternative behaviors” such as coming to you (come when called), or settling on a mat, or another behavior that is incompatible with barking, you are on the right track. If, however, the trainer doesn’t care about why your dog is barking (fear? boredom? separation anxiety?), and starts talking about all the ways you can punish your dog, thank them for their time, and keep looking.

All the trainers at DogPACT adhere to dog-friendly positive reinforcement training techniques. We do not use physical corrections or intimidation. Thousands of satisfied clients will tell you that these techniques work.

Educate yourself about the Humane Hierarchy.

ccpdt Code of Ethics

CCPDT Application of the Humane Hierarchy Position Statement

Educate yourself about the fallout of punishment, and beware of trainers or “boot camps” that use shock collars.

are electronic shock collars painful or just annoying to dogs

Educate yourself about trainer certification.

Not all “certifications” are created equally. Although there are some exceptions, certification that includes objective credentialing process is the professional standard. Certification assigned by a for-profit enterprise might have a conflict of interest. That is, is their interest to produce high-quality, experienced professionals, or to produce an additional revenue source for their enterprise? Due diligence is needed to answer that question for each kind of certification. For example, one for-profit training school (an online course for those aspiring to become professional trainers) is sponsored by a company that sells shock collars.

Buyer beware when choosing a trainer. Please educate yourself about certification.

www.ccpdt.org

www.apdt.com pet-owners choosing a trainer certifications

DogPACT Trainers

DogPACT is committed to the highest standards of professional training practices and methodologies. Our programs are based on solid science, the input of veterinary and applied animal [behaviorists], and hundreds of hours of continuing education. Each of our trainers is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and our interns are working toward meeting that certification’s standards. In addition to achieving this widely respected certification, each trainer has hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of hands-on experience in a broad spectrum of canine training from dog sports to behavior modification to building a strong foundation of pet manners in our family dogs.

Please contact us if you have questions about our methods, our philosophies, and our credentials. We invite scrutiny.

 

Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT®)

This information is taken verbatim from the Council’s web site pages, and is presented here for ease of access. You may also find this information by going to ccpdt.org; however, the information is located in a variety of different pages throughout their site.

What is Certification?

Certification is a form of credentialing. A credential is a designation which indicates competence in a subject or area. Certification is usually a voluntary process instituted by a nongovernmental agency in which individuals are recognized for advanced knowledge and skill. Certification requires assessment, including testing, and an evaluation of education and/or experience.

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers® (CCPDT®) exists to be the industry leader in defining and maintaining competency in the dog training and behavior profession

The CCPDT is a proud member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). ICE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing educational, networking and advocacy resources for the credentialing community. ICE's accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), evaluates certification organizations for compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. The CCPDT supports the mission of ICE and strives to meet or exceed the NCCA standards for its own credentialing processes and decisions.

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.

Mission Statement

The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers establishes and maintains humane standards of competence for animal training and behavior professionals through criteria based on experience, standardized testing, skills and continuing education, and identifies and markets those individuals to the public.
The CCPDT mission statement reflects the dual mission of The CCPDT:

  • To provide professional standards to support and promote the animal training and behavior professions
  • To provide a means for animal owners to identify professional certified trainers and behavior consultants.

Guiding Principles / Values

  • To develop a recognized standard of proficiency based on current scientific evidence for animal training and behavior professionals through an independent certification process of standardized testing.
  • To maintain empirically validated certification examinations that are psychometrically sound, based on current scientific evidence in the profession and independent of commercial influence.
  • To recognize documented training and behavior experience as valid, functional criteria relevant to the certification process.
  • To encourage growth in and fluency of knowledge in the profession, and thus foster a link in the community of trainers, behavior consultants, academics, veterinarians and veterinary staff, breeders, rescues, shelters, and other animal professionals.
  • To benefit animal and human welfare by promoting strategies and methods based on humane practices defined by The CCPDT Core Values.
  • To promote and protect The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainer designations as the publicly recognized credential of animal training and behavior professionals committed to education, experience, and professional excellence.

Who is a Behaviorist?

KiwiI am often referred to as a behaviorist since I work with dogs to resolve serious behavior problems such as fearfulness, aggression, and anxieties. When I tell people that I am not a “behaviorist,” they express either surprise or disinterest as I try and explain why I won’t call myself a behaviorist. After all, what matters to them is that I can help their dog, not what I call myself.

But it matters to me. Because, in brief, it is really buyer beware when one purchases dog training or behavior modification services. There is no regulatory body in my state (CA) that licenses trainers or helps the public become educated about who has the appropriate experience to work with their dog, whether that be Pansy the Puppy or Fang, the resource-guarding, child biting Man’s Best Friend. And if someone calls himself a behaviorist, and yet has no advanced education or training in behavior, someone could end up being very disappointed when that “behaviorist” can’t solve their dog’s problem—or worse, makes it worse—because they weren’t qualified. And that makes all trainers and real behaviorists look bad.

I call myself a “dog trainer who specializes in resolving serious behavior problems.”  I feel that the title “behaviorist” belongs to two groups of people: 1) a Board-certified veterinarian who has advanced education and experience in behavior in addition to their medical degree, and they have sat for and passed their Board exams in behavior (there are about 48 of these rare creatures in the U.S.; go to www.dacvb.org; and 2) a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) who is a PhD in psychology or animal behavior and recognized by the Animal Behavior Society.

Does this mean that anyone who isn’t one of these rare folks is incapable of helping people with their dogs? Of course not. The more than 100 hours of continuing education I devote every year in keeping abreast of my field, my CPDT-KA certification, and my more than 20 years’ direct experience make me good at what I do. But I still don’t try and impress people with a title that should be reserved for the folks who have advanced degrees and who should be respected for their contribution and commitment to the field.

There’s room for everyone when it comes to helping our dogs live happy, stress-free lives with their wacky humans—as long as we do no physical or emotional harm—and we respect and acknowledge the contributions each other has made.

Terry Long, CPDT-KA

  • Carolyn Frias

Terry Long, CPDT-KA

Terry Long, CPDT

Terry Long, CPDT-KA, founded DogPACT in 1996 turning a lifelong fascination with dogs and the study of their behavior into a new career. Terry's experience with dogs goes back to early childhood when she could be found training family and neighborhood dogs, and later evolved into working in veterinary hospitals in a variety of positions. Her keen understanding of dogs stems from hands-on experience with hundreds of dogs, as well as her skill in using operant conditioning to create new behaviors and to modify others. Her skills have brought her invitations to teach in the US, Canada , and Japan.

As a committed practitioner of positive training methods, Terry logs more than 100 hours of continuing education a year. Terry has studied operant conditioning and clicker training with Bob and Marian Bailey, PhD, and has also been the beneficiary of the teachings of Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Karen Overall, VMD, Pam Reid, PhD, Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson, and a host of other contemporaries.

In 2003 Terry became one of 635 trainers internationally to attain the CPDT-KA (Certified Pet Dog Trainer) designation, the first well-recognized certification program for professional trainers and behavior consultants.

Terry is the former managing editor of The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, a magazine for professional dog trainers around the world. In 2006 her article for The Chronicle,“Shape for Confidence,” won a coveted 1st-place Maxwell Award for Best Feature in a canine newspaper or newsletter from the Dog Writers Association of America. It told the story of how clicker training can be used to help dogs overcome fearfulness and to build confidence through trick training. Terry also authors Dog World magazine’s “About Agility” column, nominated for Best Magazine Column of 2006 by the DWAA.

Terry is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and holds a B.S. degree in business management and a certificate in public relations from UCLA. Terry's skills with clicker training are obvious when watching her dogs perform freestyle, tricks, and agility.

Moki Jo's Memorial | Kiwi | Pretzel | Buster's Memorial | Sandy Mae's Memorial

Nikki Myers, CPDT-KA

Nikki Myers, CPDT

Nikki Myers, CPDT-KA, has been involved in dogs for more than 30 years. In 1994 she was first introduced to clicker training. Since then she has used clicker training in agility, flyball, obedience, and tricks training. Nikki is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has been an instructor for DogPACT since 2001, teaching agility, private and group pet manners, and private behavior modification.

She is a founding member of the Woof Gang Flyball club of Orange County which celebrates its 20 years in Flyball in 2015! She has traveled across the country to teach Flyball at the Iron Dogs Sports Camps. Nikki specializes in motivating dogs and their owners, and in applying the lessons she teaches in her classes to real-life settings.

Living with terriers is both a joy and a challenge for Nikki. Charm, now a 10-year-old Silky Terrier has been having an amazing year competing in Flyball. He holds the highest point total and second fastest time for Silky Terriers in the United Flyball League International. He continues to train in agility and frequently helps out in the foundation skills class as a demo dog. And at 10 years young, he is competing in AKC agility and bringing home the ribbons! Charm is also only one qualifying leg away from his first AKC Earthdog title. This senior dog, after orthopedic setbacks, is feeling good and is in his prime.

Tobey is the complete opposite from his housemate. Shy and reserved, Nikki has worked extra hard to train activities and behaviors to increase his confidence. He has started Flyball. He trains in agility.

The youngest of her crew is Yosemite Sam who arrived in Nikki's house the spring of 2015. Another terrier of course! He is the youngster in training for all the fun sports and activities Nikki wants him to experience. Sam is taking it all in stride. He flips in training sessions as if to say "MORE MORE MORE."

The challenges she’s faced with her own dogs has given Nikki a greater empathy for clients who deal with highly aroused dogs, as well as those who have confidence issues that pop up seemingly out of the blue. She has worked through the same programs with her boys that DogPACT clients have with their dogs.

Ryan de la Vega, M.S. Ed., CPDT-KA


Ryan de la Vega, M.S. Ed., CPDT-KA, is an educator and teaches ESL to adult humans in Torrance. He brought that teaching experience to dog training by teaching group classes in Puppy Kindergarten, Pet Manners and Rally Obedience. Ryan now provides private training and behavior modification consulting to DogPACT clients, specializing in puppy manners, basic pet manners and impulse control training, as well as more serious behavior issues such as resource guarding and dog-dog reactivity.

After completing an internship with DogPACT's founder, Terry Long, Ryan took a position at the spcaLA in Long Beach where he worked with shelter animals as well as the public's pet dogs in group classes and in private sessions. While at the shelter, he became a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) evaluator and taught CGC prep classes. Ryan continues to support the shelter by volunteering as a trainer and foster home. 

Ryan has been involved in dog sports and activities with his own dogs, including BARK reading and The Pet Prescription Team therapy dogs, Rally Obedience, flyball, and agility.  Currently, he and his dogs are enjoying Nosework.

Jean Morris, CNWI


Jean Morris, CNWI
, teaches K9 Nosework for DogPact. Jean has a BS in Animal Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an MS in Oriental Medicine. She practices Acupuncture and Functional Nutritional Medicine in Redondo Beach, CA.

Jean has lived with a variety of animals all her life. In the late 1990's she began training her Bernese Mountain Dog, Niekko, in obedience. Growing frustrated with the traditional, rather old-school, training styles, she began learning clicker training and other positive motivational training techniques. These tools opened the door to the world of competitive dog sports. Over the years she has competed and earned advanced titles in conformation, Rally, obedience, herding, draft, agility, and K9 Nosework.

In 2009, she started her journey in K9 Nosework and quickly became impassioned with the training, the people, and the "culture" of Nosework. "It is a beautiful thing to catch a glimpse of how our dogs see the world."

Jean's dog Gremmie is the first Bernese Mountain Dog to achieve the coveted NW3 Elite title.

In May 2015 Jean and Gremmie had the honor and privilege of competing in the NACSW National Invitational Championships in Loveland, Colorado.

Earlene Winn

Earlene Verona Winn

Earlene Verona Winn, owner of Tailwagger's Massage™ is  certified in canine massage and canine water therapy. She has a degree in animal science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  In addition, she has studied nutrition, homeopathic remedies, and body dynamics. She has been in practice for almost 9 years and has helped hundreds of dogs feel better and improved their quality of life. Earlene is a member of the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork (IAAMB) and Association of Canine Water Therapy (ACWT).  She holds a special affinity for dogs.

Three years ago, she developed the concept of Pup Core Pro™, an exercise program to benefit active dogs in the prevention of injuries and for senior dogs to rebuild muscle, strength and coordination. The FitPAWS® equipment is used by canine physical therapists for rehabilitation after injury or surgery; Earlene's idea was to use the equipment to avoid injury in the first place by strengthening dogs' core muscles, balance, and body awareness. The Tailwagger's Pup Core Pro™ program exercises all major muscle groups in the dog's body using  lure reward training.  

Earlene offers canine massage and swim therapy in Torrance, CA. www.tailwaggersmassage.com.

Carolyn Frias, CPDT-KA

Carolyn Frias

Carolyn Frias, CPDT-KA, provides Smart Dog Walker services for DogPACT as well as private puppy, pet manners, and behavior modification training.

Carolyn’s love of animals started when she was a young child. When she was 5 years old she was introduced to horseback riding, which became a favorite hobby into her late teens. Her interest in dog training began when her grandparents brought home a standard poodle named Moolah. She was always with Moolah, trying to teach her new tricks.

In 2007 Carolyn started volunteering at spcaLA where she learned more about dog training and dog behavior. Volunteering through spcaLA allowed her to experience working with many different types of dogs on basic manners and even some behavior modification. In addition to volunteering, Carolyn worked in a grooming salon as a bather and groomer's assistant and also in a dog boarding facility as a kennel attendant and dog trainer.

In her free time, Carolyn enjoys taking classes, such as Obedience, Nose work, and Rally with her two dogs.

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