Requirements for Eligibility

1. A high school diploma or equivalent.

2. At least 275 hours of dog training experience within the last five years. Eighty percent of those hours (220) must be as a Lead Instructor.             

A Lead Instructor is defined as one who has the majority of responsibility for running a class or private instruction. Responsibilities include:  

  • Conducting classes for people and their dogs. Hours when you work directly with a dog do not count as Lead Instructor hours.
  • Organizing overall structure of classes — what exercises are covered, the order in which they are taught, etc.
  • Preparing instructor guides for instructors and assistants (if used).
  • Preparing lesson plans for students.
  • Preparing student homework assignments.
  • Preparing class handouts.
  • Determining what kinds of equipment are used for instruction.
  • Planning and implementing the schedule and locations for classes.
  • Class safety of people, dogs and assistants.
  • Interviewing, hiring and firing of assistants (if used).

The other 20 percent of experience (55 hours) must be spent in other related areas of the canine industry. This can include:    

  • Volunteering at a shelter — training dogs, serving as a volunteer assistant in shelter training classes, etc.
  • Assisting in dog training classes.
  • Working as a groomer.
  • Working as a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant.
  • Working as a pet sitter.          
  • Working as a dog walker
  • Working  or volunteering your time with assistance/therapy/service dogs (i.e. puppy raiser for Guide Dogs of the Blind, etc)

Please note that ABC reserves the right to verify your experience. Please keep documentation of your hours and roles and be ready to present it to ABC if necessary. You should keep this documentation as long as you apply for and retain the ABCDT-L2 designation.

3. At least 28 units of continuing education in the dog training field within the last five years. Continuing Educations Units (CEUs) must be from ABC-approved educational programs. (Important Note: ABC will provisionally accept CEUs pre-approved by other educational organizations. ABC reserves the right to review all CEU submissions and decline credit if they do not meet our qualifications.)

4. Signature and submission of the ABC Code of Ethics.

5. Four reference letters, one each from a:

  • Dog training client
  • Colleague in the canine training and behavior profession
  • Veterinarian
  • Representative from a shelter or rescue group with whom you have worked or assisted.

**All letters must relate to the reference’s experience with your training within the last five years.

6. Submission of the application and application fee of $300.00.