How to Become a Dog Trainer
Earn Your Certification Online
Learning dog training online can make your dream of working with animals a reality. If you want to learn how to become a dog trainer, Animal Behavior College is an accessible, flexible, and affordable way to enter this rewarding profession. Becoming a dog obedience trainer lets you earn a living by making a difference in both human and canine lives.
We have all seen unruly, out of control dogs that create havoc wherever they go, frustrating their owners and constantly staying “in the doghouse.” By training a dog to walk on a leash and to follow basic commands such as sit, stay, heel, down, and come you help him or her become a good citizen. A well-trained dog knows what is expected and delights in pleasing people. Dog trainers play a huge role in turning around the lives of canines and their owners.
Certified trainers enjoy a variety of career options. They can start their own business, work for an established company, or work in an animal shelter or pet store.
We provide you the education, practical skills and hands-on experience needed to start your professional obedience training career.
As a student, you have the opportunity to study from home and get real work experience within your area.
New and Improved LIMA Compliant Dog School Curriculum
In support of ABC’s strategic alliance with The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and our commitment to keeping dogs safe from injurious training methods, our updated curriculum will continue to advocate science-based, positive reinforcement training philosophies, including using the least invasive minimally aversive (LIMA) training techniques.
This enhanced curriculum now includes an additional 300 pages of information and features a beautiful, sleek graphic design and enhanced training videos with the goal of providing students an improved learning experience.
The improved curriculum also includes content on conducting remote training lessons; up-to-date information on how to get the most out of using both current and traditional marketing tools such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media, email and print media; and an expanded appendix of various training and business forms. Take a sneak peek at our new curriculum here.
Online Dog Obedience School Overview
- Take your dog training course online
- Get invaluable hands-on training
- Receive Pet CPR and First Aid Certification
- Experience what it’s like to work with dogs
- Receive ongoing student support
- Invest in a rewarding career with animals
- Become an ABC Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT)
Comprehensive Certified Dog Training School
The curriculum for the Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program is broken down into 11 stages that cover topics ranging from basic study of canines to business building tips. Each stage equips you with the knowledge and dog training skills necessary to advance to the externship portion of the dog training program. In stage 10, you can apply everything you’ve learned throughout your dog training course in a real-life setting.
Approved by Dog Training Leaders
Our Dog Trainer Program is approved for continuing education units (CEUs) by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI).
Tuition & FinancingTuition for our Training Program ranges from $3,499 USD to $5,647 USD, depending on your payment arrangement.* This cost covers your textbooks, merchandise and externship. Our Admissions Counselors can help you choose a payment plan that’s right for you. *Ask about our discount for Active Military and Veterans who enroll in our distance learning courses
Hands-On Training & Mentorship
Hands-on experience is one of the most important factors in getting hired, which is why we include an externship portion in our dog trainer program. During the hands-on portion, you work with a Mentor Trainer who gives you the invaluable real work experience needed to become a professional dog trainer.
Flexible Hours, Online & In-Home Classroom Experience
The flexibility of our dog training school allows you to study from home at your own pace. Our program is perfect for those leading busy lives since you can take your dog training course online at your convenience. We have an amazing staff of Program Managers who help guide you along in the program. They’re dedicated to helping you succeed in each stage and answering your questions.
Dog Training School Locations Near YouOur dog training certification program is available in all 50 U.S. states and every Canadian province. We’re able to offer students in these locations hands-on training due to our growing network of pet industry professionals.
Staff of Expert Trainers
You can rest assured you’re learning from experts when you enroll in Animal Behavior College. Founded and operated by award-winning professional trainers Steven Appelbaum and Debbie Kendrick, our school is designed to help you succeed.
In addition to enrolling in a school built by dog trainers for dog trainers, you’re receiving quality education and support from our Program Managers. Each and every one of our Program Managers has graduated from our school, some of who still pursue continuing education and train dogs in their local communities. If you want to learn more about us, check out our staff.
Dog Obedience Training Career Resources
Career Information and Advice for Dog Trainers from the professionals at Animal Behavior College
- How to approach marketing in the digital age including social media marketing
- How to begin networking for your business
- How to promote your business using your certification and credentials, and why certification matters
- How to attract and keep clients
- How does adding other skills, like cat training, to your trainer’s toolbox can help you build your business
- Billing, how to create a system to properly bill for my hours.
Become a Certified Dog Trainer Online
Once you complete your training course online, you receive your ABC dog trainer certification as well as the title of Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT). From there, you may choose to apply for the Alumni Association, which has many perks, including updates on the latest pet industry news and discounts. With an ABCDT certification, you can take your pet training career virtually everywhere. Whether you want to work for an animal shelter organization, train dogs at your local pet store or start your own business, there could be many career opportunities available to you as a certified trainer from ABC.
Program CurriculumOur curriculum is designed to teach you everything from positive reinforcement philosophies to business building. We bring more than 100 years of professional dog training experience to our program with the goal of helping you succeed. You will also become certified in Pet CPR and First Aid.
- Stage 1 – Basic Overview of Canines: Introduces you to the world of dogs, including: breeds and groups; behavioral development periods; nutrition basics; health; anatomy & physiology; and communication.
- Stage 2 – Learning Theory: Discusses dog training principles, including the LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) approach and the Humane Hierarchy; scientific principles, such as classical and operant conditioning and the four stages of learning; and numerous behavior-modification techniques.
- Stage 3 – A Dog Trainer’s Toolbox: Discusses the myriad training tools you and your clients can use need to teach dogs new behaviors and polite manner, as well as help provide them with sufficient mental and physical enrichment.
- Stage 4 – Training Fundamentals: Covers the history and evolution of training principles and techniques; the various types of training programs; and how to distinguish between temperament and personality traits. It also introduces you to working dogs, including therapy, service and emotional support.
- Stage 5 – Basic Obedience Cues: Provides step-by-step instructions on how to train dogs to perform basic obedience cues by using the LIMA approach; following the Humane Hierarchy; and adhering to the four stages of learning.
- Stage 6 – Effective Problem-Behavior Solving: Discusses how to address common behavior problems by creating effective treatment plans that follow the Humane Hierarchy and adhere to the LIMA approach.
- Stage 7 – Dog Training Safety: Explains how to conduct safe and stress-free training sessions—both group and private.
- Stage 8 – Public Speaking & Conducting Training Lessons: Introduces you to public-speaking best practices and how to interact with clients. Discusses how to conduct group classes and private lessons, including creating lesson plans and homework assignments. Also explains how to setup and conduct remote training classes.
- Stage 9 – Building a Training Business: Provides you with everything you need to know to launch your training business, from creating a business plan to developing marketing strategies and establishing budgets. Also discusses working for others, including how to write effective résumes and cover letters; and successful interview practices.
- Stage 10 – Hands-On Externship & Shelter Volunteer: Gives you hands-on training by working under a Mentor Trainer. It also offers you animal shelter volunteer experience.
- Stage 11 – Final Exam & Graduation
Why Earn Your Training Certification?
Dog trainers can benefit from the fact their job has potential. With more than 70 million dogs in the U.S., there is an undeniable demand for dog trainers. You can stand out from the competition by getting your dog training certification from Animal Behavior College. By graduating from our program, you’ll have extensive knowledge and hands-on training. This is an important point. Is it possible to learn to become a dog trainer without attending a school like Animal Behavior College? Yes, it is. However, without the structure or knowledge it becomes more difficult, more time-consuming and far less efficient to choose and read the literally tens of thousands of books and online materials available. Additionally, you won’t get the supervised externship from a pre-screened professional. All of these reasons are why we’ve trained more than 17,000 dog trainers over the last 18 years.
This program’s officially approved title is Dog Obedience Instructor. However for grammatical reasons and purposes of clarity it is sometimes referred to as the Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program and Dog Trainer Program.
Please note: Animal Behavior College does not guarantee employment after graduation.
*Additional shipping and handling charges may apply.
For this holiday season, give the gift of helping animals to someone you love. Click below for our program gift certificates.