The Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) professional dog training certification is coming to New Zealand! And when this was mentioned at a four day Ken Ramirez workshop I was attending, I very excitedly ran around telling everyone I was already registered to do it and had paid my deposit!
People were excited for me, but what really surprised me was how many people wanted to know why?
* “You’re already a trainer, recognised in our industry, why would you want to become certified?”
* “You’re are an exotic animal trainer, why would you want to do a professional dog training certification?”
As a behavior nerd who goes around with an obsession of behavior geekiness all of the time – I will be honest – I was a bit taken aback by this. I thought “hang on – isn’t everyone a massive behavior nerd that just wants to do all of the behavior things all of the time? Isn’t it obvious why I would want to it?”
Apparently not! Consequently, I thought I would write this blog post outlining the three main reasons why I want to (and additionally think it’s very important that I do) do my KPA certification.
1) Sharpening my saw! I have always been someone who just loves learning! Pure and simple! And I want to know the best way to do the things that I love to do! Could I continue on with my career and be successful with Animal Training Academy without doing this certification? Certainly, but that’s not the point.
I’m reminded of when I was just beginning to work in zoo’s and I was doing my certificate in captive animal management! This was a certificate that was required in Australia (where I was living at the time) to get a job in a zoo.
At the same time to do the certificate, you needed to be working full time in a zoo keeper position! lol, it totally didn’t make sense! I however managed to get a full time job and yet I still chose to do the certificate – and was a better keeper because of it!
In a similar vein – currently, I run what I’m going to label as a successful animal training business, yet I still want to get certified. And I think I will be a better animal trainer because of it.
2) I want to stay up to date with the tribe (i.e. Animal Training Academy members)
One thing we like to do within the Animal Training Academy is toot our own horn and celebrate any/all approximations towards our animal training goals! In fact I give a free ATA membership to someone just for managing what we call the “toot your own horn” thread in the ATA members only facebook group!
Because of this I am very aware of what ATA members are doing and what learning opportunities are most popular!
The certification that I feel I see the most ATA members doing is KPA! Hence to stay updated and relevant I want to know what this is all about! Hence I’m doing the certification myself.
3) I believe regulation and certification will help more animals and people.
From my understanding, the sad reality is that in many places just about anyone can call themselves an animal trainer. That means anyone can grab an electric shock collar and/or a choke chain and charge someone money to tell them to use it on their dogs! I am not okay with this.
I am lucky that ATA has grown over the years and has an audience of beautiful like-minded people from around the globe! As someone who has the privilege of creating content that reaches an audience of 15-20,000 hungry behaviour nerds on a monthly basis I want to share my story with the ATA audience (with you) to discuss something I think is really important! This is Certification!
This is something that is highlighted by the Animal Training Academy podcast show! Watch the video below to see a 12 minute mash-up highlighting the podcast guests’ visions for the future (which includes the need for certification and regulation).
And that’s it. This is what I told people at the Ken Ramirez workshops why I am doing this! And it made me realise you might be interested in why I’m doing it too.! Hence this blog post.
What about you? Have you done certification? Do you think it’s important? Why? (Leave your comments in the comments section below)
Animal Training Academy
Ellen C Naumann says
Hi Ryan! I have done certification (CCPDT and CBATI) and couldn’t imagine calling myself a dog trainer without a certification of some sort. I’ll be teaching a BAT Instructor Certification Course at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab UT USA Sept 2019 so I clearly think certification in dog training is really important, and in a particular method if the trainer is offering that service. I think certification in Behavior Adjustment Training is really important because it confirms one knows the method well and can teach it well. Since we focus on preventing and/or reducing over-reactivity, I’d say it’s extra important.
Susan Chappell says
One big YES, I agree with you Ryan. I am in the process of getting organized to write my exam for my CPDT-KA in Sept 2020. While my business is pretty small, Lone Wolf Dog Training, I am hoping to start working with more clients in the near future. I always recommend to clients that I can’t work with right when they need me that they should look for a certified trainer and then go from there. Unfortunately I feel like a hypocrite when I am not certified. So, planning to fix that. PS I love ATA. Susan