Dog Training Course


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Dog Training Program


The Animal Behavior College (ABC) dog training course is offered online at a reasonable cost. In addition, you have the added benefit of working one-on-one with a professional dog trainer in your local area.

ABC's comprehensive curriculum focuses on positive reinforcement dog training that is science-based. Our curriculum is 11 stages long, expands over 950 pages and includes 18 instructional videos. The first stages of the curriculum give you a strong foundation of academic and theoretical knowledge about dogs and how to train them using positive dog training methods.

Once a strong foundation has been successfully established, you then get to observe and participate in professional dog training sessions taught by ABC Mentor Trainers. The hands-on portion of your training is an important component of our Dog Trainer Program, as you have the opportunity to see professionals in action.

Dog Training Program Curriculum Description By Stage

ABC’s Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program is designed to provide you with the knowledge to teach dog owners the skills to humanely and effectively train their own dogs.

Our dog training course emphasizes the need to understand dog behavior problems as well as provide solutions using dog training techniques based on decades of experience. This same experience has taught us that while it’s important to understand the motivations behind a dog's behavior, dog obedience instructors must have a myriad of behavioral solutions at their disposal. Finally, we’ve endeavored to provide you with the tools to become an effective communicator and teacher.

Stage 1 - A BASIC STUDY OF CANINES - 21 Days

Stage 1 of our online dog training course will provide you with basic knowledge about canines. It’s important as a professional dog trainer to have an understanding of dog breed characteristics, developmental periods, proper dog socialization, basic health routines, disease prevention and canine communication. This will serve as a foundation of knowledge about normal dog behavior and ideal canine husbandry you can refer to as you counsel your clients.

Having a clear understanding of dog behavior can help you clarify to your clients the difference between normal dog behavior occurring at inconvenient or inappropriate times and abnormal dog behavior. Being able to educate your clients on ideal canine husbandry can even help them prevent potential behavioral and health problems from developing later on.

Stage 2 - LEARNING THEORY - 21 Days 

Stage 2 of our dog training course provides you with a strong understanding of the scientific principles of how animals learn. You’ll learn that animal training can be successful if it follows the basic principles of behavioral theory. This stage is designed to teach you these principles along with many specific dog training strategies, including classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Included in this stage are step-by-step instructions on how to train a dog with a clicker—a popular training technique used to communicate positively with pets and other animals.

Stage 3 - A TRAINER'S TOOLBOX - 14 Days

In this stage, you’ll be introduced to many types of dog training tools. These include: clickers, collars, leashes, housetraining aids, chewing deterrents, interactive toys and safety equipment. You’ll learn that although a key component to a successful dog training program is a mutually committed relationship between a dog and dog owner, training tools will often expedite the dog training process.

Therapy Dog TrainingStage 4 - TRAINING FUNDAMENTALS - 14 Days 

This stage begins by reviewing the history of dog training and the differences between dog obedience training, behavior modification and problem solving. This stage is packed with information that is designed to help you identify specific genetic behaviors and characteristics in dogs. This knowledge will be a valuable tool when you begin training dogs on your own.

Also included is an introduction to working dogs, service dogs, emotional support dogs and therapy dogs. You’ll learn the differences between these dogs and the roles they play in the lives of the people who need them.


In stage 5 of our online dog training course, you’ll be given written and illustrated step-by-step instruction on how to teach basic obedience cues. These instructions can help you better serve your future clients—both two-legged and four-legged. The dog obedience cues covered include: sit, stay, down, come, heel, loose leash walking, leave it and fetch.

A multitude of different dog training techniques are included. This stage also provides solutions to the most common challenges that you’ll encounter while training dogs and dog owners.


This dog training stage is designed to teach you how to effectively treat the most common behavioral issues in dogs, e.g. housebreaking, house manners, puppy nipping, chewing, digging, jumping, excessive barking and begging.

This stage further explains how to set up a treatment plan using positive reinforcement of alternate behaviors and management. When you become an ABC Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT), your clients may ask you for solutions to a wide variety of dog behavior problems. This stage will give you a variety of solutions to offer them along with the ability to convey these solutions in an effective and clear manner.

Stage 7 - SAFETY - 7 Days 

Stage 7 teaches you how to recognize the precursors of dog aggression, how to avoid them and how to handle such aggression. It’ll also discuss the indicators of stress in both dogs and owner. You’ll not only learn how to recognize these signs of stress, but also be taught how to address them.

You’ll also learn how to properly introduce dogs to children and what safety precautions should be taken. A professional dog trainer knowledgeable on how to take proper precautions will be able to conduct safe and stress-free lessons with their clients. This goes a long way in creating a positive learning environment for all involved.


During the first portion of this stage, you’ll be given information regarding public speaking and methods to use for conveying dog training lessons clearly and effectively to dog owners. During the second portion, you’ll be given information on how to conduct group dog training classes. It’s important as a dog obedience trainer to be able to effectively speak and motivate people.

Since you’re studying to become a dog trainer, the manner in which you speak and how you organize your instruction is crucial. This stage includes a variety of techniques used for communicating effectively to both individuals and groups along with methods of improving basic people skills.

Stage 9 - BUSINESS BUILDING - 21 Days 

Stage 9 of our dog training course was written by our Founder Steven Appelbaum. Mr. Appelbaum is the President of Animal Behavior College, Inc. (ABC) and was the owner and builder of the nation's largest independent dog training company Animal Behavior & Training Associates, Inc. (ABTA) for more than 10 years. Mr. Appelbaum shares his journey and business building secrets—from hanging flyers up in grocery stores to procuring an exclusive agreement with Petco Animal Supplies to provide dog training classes for more than 500 Petco stores nationwide.

Included in this stage is step-by-step instruction on how to create a business plan, how to create a budget and how to market a pet training business. Sample proposals, contracts and miscellaneous forms are also included. This stage will also provide you with the skills and information that is beneficial to work as an employee in the pet industry, including resume writing, job searching skills and interviewing techniques.

How to Train DogsStage 10 - SHELTER PRACTICUM & EXTERNSHIP – Varies in length 

As you enter this stage of the program, you’ll become part of ABC’s international campaign to improve shelter dog rehabilitation and adoption. The campaign is called “Students Saving Lives” and was actualized from the personal quest of our Vice President Debbie Kendrick.

As an ABC dog training student, you’ll be asked to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours at a local animal shelter, humane society or rescue organization of your choice. This will give you a chance to practice some of the techniques you’ve learned thus far and prepare you for the upcoming hands-on training with your Mentor Trainer.

You’ll be practicing basic dog training techniques and be given an opportunity to start building a relationship with the organization of your choice. This portion of the program can be rewarding for you, as you’re able to practice what you’ve learned while helping shelter dogs become better candidates for adoption.

The second portion of this stage is your externship. During this portion, you’ll work with an ABC Mentor Trainer, observing and participating in the instruction of basic obedience cues, such as: sit, stay, come, down, heel and loose leash walking. You’ll have a chance to work with individual dogs under the guidance and supervision of your Mentor Trainer.

You’ll be applying the various dog training techniques just observed as well as the ones learned in the previous stages. Your Mentor Trainer will evaluate you on your teaching performance and provide suggestions, guidance and constructive critique of your skills. Your hands-on training can vary in length, depending on your Mentor’s schedule.

Pet CPR and First Aid Certification

Being a professional in any animal care career is accompanied by the responsibility of being able to react calmly and safely in the event of an emergency. Animal Behavior College’s Pet First Aid and CPR Certification will give you the knowledge needed to respond safely and effectively to medical emergencies like choking, heat stroke, bleeding injuries and poisonous bites from insects and snakes.

You’ll also learn how to artificially keep a pet’s heart and lungs working until you can seek veterinary help along with many other vital life-saving skills. By learning what can happen and how to respond appropriately, you may prevent many pet emergencies from ever happening and thereby help ensure the safety of not only your own pets, but also any pets in your care.

Stage 11 - Graduation - 14 Days 

Stage 11 is graduation. During this stage, you’ll be given a final exam to measure your overall performance. Once passed, you’ll become an ABC Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT) and be invited to join the ABC Dog Trainer Alumni Group.

Benefits of the ABC Dog Training Program

Study From the Privacy of Your Own Home

By choosing ABC, you can keep your present job while you enroll in our school for dog trainers. The ABC online portion of the program brings the classroom to your living room and neighborhood, which means no added expenses will be incurred for housing at a remote location and no time will be wasted by driving back and forth to a classroom-based dog training school.

Flexible Hours

You can study around your current work or school schedule, making this program a custom fit. With this flexibility, the normal completion time is 52 weeks.

Personal Program Manager

Although the first portion of the program is done in the privacy of your home, you won’t be alone. An ABC Program Manager will be appointed to you upon enrollment. They will be there to guide you through the entire dog trainer program, counsel you, answer your questions and grade your exams. Your personal Program Manager will contact you shortly after enrollment to get acquainted and welcome you into the program. At that time, you’ll be given the Program Manager's contact information for all future interactions as you journey through the program.

To speak with an Admissions Counselor, call  800-795-3294

Short Term Programs

ABC offers Short Term Programs to those individuals interested in continuing their education. Although you may sign up for any of the Short Term Programs upon enrollment, you will only be granted access once you have successfully completed stage 9. This is done to ensure you have the knowledge necessary to maximize your learning experience.

Training Shelter Dogs

(available for Dog Obedience Instructor program students and alumni only, or students with sufficient previous dog training education)

As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, you may encounter dogs temporarily residing in shelters and rescues due to owner relinquishment. This devastating situation calls for immediate attention. This program consists of 250+ pages of material authored by Teoti Anderson, former president of the APDT, with contributions from Kelly Gorman-Dunbar and numerous members of the ABC staff. The wealth of information provided discuss understanding the different kinds of shelters, how to approach them, identifying dogs for adoption and defensive handling, as well as temperament assessments, including some excellent information from the ASPCA MYM Safer Program.

Upon completion of this program, you’ll have a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the training and treatment of shelter dogs with specific attention to re-homing. You’ll also learn the skills that could help launch an animal shelter or dog rescue training program. You may hold classes for dog owners and/or seminars to improve the knowledge of people in your community. As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, you may have the opportunity to not only train shelter dogs, but to place them in permanent, loving homes as well. Every hour spent with a shelter dog makes a world of difference and, upon completion of the Training Shelter Dog Program, you’ll have the knowledge to positively transform the lives of shelter dogs.

Furthermore, Training Shelter Dogs is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits. In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2).

The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons 

(available for Dog Obedience Instructor program students and alumni only, or students with sufficient previous dog training education)

Understanding how to conduct private dog training sessions is a crucial component of a professional dog trainer’s career. There are several reasons why learning how to offer quality private lessons is greatly beneficial to your training repertoire. Some clients are better served by one-on-one, individualized, personalized training rather than a group class atmosphere— perhaps the client’s schedule is especially hectic, her puppy is not of age to attend group classes or her older dog’s shyness renders him uncomfortable when forced to interact with other dogs. Regardless of the particular client’s reason, the demand for private-lesson training can be a wonderful opportunity for the professional dog trainer.

The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons is comprised of approximately 300 pages of highly-detailed information on conducting private lessons. Authored by Teoti Anderson, former president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), this Short Term Program will bolster your knowledge of proper private-lesson training and will instruct you on such imperative topics as sales techniques and tips, understanding communication styles, the different types of private training, developing effective training plans, how to teach off-leash behaviors, and how to achieve client compliance in order to maximize your training. Additionally, this program covers advanced tips for marketing yourself and your business and includes information on liability protection.

Upon completion of this program, you’ll have the knowledge to offer and conduct private lessons within a client’s home, at a local park or at your own facility. Your knowledge of how to obtain clientele and conduct efficient private lessons may assist you in growing your business and maximizing its potential.

The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits. In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). 

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking 

This program provides detailed information on the proper care of and interaction with a variety of pets—dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, fish and reptiles. Subjects include understanding animal communication, such as body language and vocalization, basic nutrition and hygiene, and first aid and safety. You’ll also learn how to: build relationships with clients and their pets, ensure personal and homeowner safety, create and maintain schedules, build clientele, and much more—everything you need to know to start your own pet sitting and/or dog walking business.

Upon completion of this course, you’ll have a new and highly sought after service to provide to existing and future clients and their pets. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has been approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits. In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2).

Pet Nutrition and Diet

The Pet Nutrition and Diet Short Term Program discusses basic pet nutrition, the regulations governing commercial pet foods, and the nutritional needs for both cats and dogs. In this course, you’ll learn how to read pet food labels, including the importance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and protective nutrients. You’ll also learn about the different types of diets (i.e. dry food, canned food, raw food, supplements, etc.) and how food can play a huge role in a pet's behavior. After the completion of this program, you’ll have the knowledge to educate your clients on how to provide their animals with proper nutrition based on their pet's individual age, weight and health condition.

Pet Nutrition and Diet is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits. In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2).

Pet Massage

The Pet Massage Short Term Program gives pet groomers, dog trainers and veterinary staff the knowledge on how to calm each pet they interact with. The ability to soothe and calm dogs through touch improves the human-animal relationship and promotes trust and bonding. This comprehensive course includes step-by-step instructions that guide you through the details of the choreography of a massage for different sizes and types of pets. Topics include: general anatomy and physiology, principles and concepts for different types of massage, creating your workspace, preparing yourself, details for how to develop a pet massage business, and much more!*

Pet Massage is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits. In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2).

*State and federal laws regarding the practice of Pet Massage vary widely and are subject to change. Since ABC has no jurisdiction regarding state and federal laws revolving around the practice of Pet Massage, ABC highly recommends that potential students educate themselves on the state and federal laws and regulations and how that may affect their practice of Pet Massage before purchasing the ABC Pet Massage Short Term Program. It’s the responsibility of potential students to determine what laws and regulations their state has adopted to govern the practice of Pet Massage. ABC doesn’t assume any responsibility for state or federal regulations that prohibit or limit the practice of pet massage by the student.

For more information about our online dog training program call us at 800-795-3294 today. Your dog training career awaits you.
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