Dog Training Courses
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 a positive reinforcement dog training philosophy 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 train their own dogs humanely and effectively.
Our dog training course emphasizes the need to understand dog behavior problems, as well as provide solutions using training techniques based on scientific research and experience. In addition to understanding the reasons underlying a dog’s behavior, dog obedience instructors must have a range of behavioral solutions at their disposal. We also provide you with the tools to become an effective communicator and teacher.
Stage 1 – A BASIC OVERVIEW OF CANINES – 21 Days
Stage 1 of our online dog training course provides you with basic knowledge about canines. As a professional dog trainer, you need to understand dog breed characteristics, social developmental periods and proper socialization techniques, basic nutrition, disease prevention and canine communication. This stage provides foundational information about normal dog behavior and ideal canine husbandry practices that you can refer back to when you are working with 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 basic dog care 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 dogs learn. Knowing the basic principles of behavioral theory—classical conditioning, the four quadrants of operant conditioning and the four stages of learning—will help you train dogs successfully. Understanding how to use conditioned reinforcers (e.g., a clicker, spoken word, hand signal) and unconditioned reinforcers (e.g., treats, praise, pets) is equally essential.
This stage also discusses specific dog training philosophies, including the LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) approach and the Humane Hierarchy, as training- and behavior-modification techniques, such as luring, capturing and shaping, as well as desensitization and counter-conditioning.
Stage 3 – A DOG TRAINER’S TOOLBOX – 14 Days
In this stage, we introduce you to a variety of dog training tools and products, and their proper usage. These include, but are not limited to, clickers, treats, collars and harnesses, leashes, housetraining aids, crates, behavior deterrents, toys and safety equipment. You will learn that although a key component to a successful dog training program is a mutually committed relationship between dogs and their owners, proper training tools can help expedite the process.
Stage 4 – DOG TRAINING FUNDAMENTALS – 14 Days
This stage provides you with a history and evolution of dog training principles and techniques. It explains the differences between obedience training, behavior modification and problem-solving and discusses the various types of training programs.
It also delves into the distinctions between temperament and personality, and how to identify innate canine behaviors and characteristics. This knowledge will be a valuable tool when you begin training clients’ dogs.
This stage also introduces you to working dogs: service, emotional support and therapy. You will learn the differences between these dogs and the roles they play in the lives of the people who need them.
Stage 5 – BASIC OBEDIENCE DOG TRAINING CUES – 28 Days
Stage 5 of our dog training course contains step-by-step instructions on how to teach basic obedience cues by following the LIMA approach and the Humane Hierarchy, and adhering to the four stages of learning. These detailed instructions will help you better serve your future clients—both two-legged and four-legged. The dog obedience behaviors and cues covered include Release, Focus, Sit and Sit-Stay, Down and Down-Stay, Come, Loose-leash Walking, Heel, Leave-it, Take-it, Stand and Fetch.
This stage also provides solutions to the most common training challenges you will likely encounter while working with clients.
Stage 6 – EFFECTIVE PROBLEM SOLVING – 28 Days
This dog training stage teaches you how to resolve the most common behavioral issues owners have with their dogs, including housetraining problems, excessive barking, inappropriate chewing and jumping, puppy nipping, digging, begging, stealing food and bolting out of doors.
This stage explains how to address these behavioral issues by creating effective treatment plans that follow the Humane Hierarchy and adhere to the LIMA approach. As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT), you will likely encounter a wide variety of dog behavior problems. This stage gives you a variety of solutions to offer your clients.
Stage 7 – DOG TRAINING SAFETY – 7 Days
Stage 7 teaches you how to conduct safe and stress-free dog training sessions. You will learn how to recognize stress signals that could lead to dog aggression, how to reduce and/or prevent them, and what to do if a dog becomes aggressive. It also discusses how to recognize signs of stress in clients and how to address them.
This stage also discusses the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety (including your own) in group classes and private lessons, and how to create a stress-free, positive learning environment for clients and their dogs.
Stage 8 – PUBLIC SPEAKING & CONDUCTING TRAINING LESSONS – 7 Days
Stage 8 introduces you to public speaking best practices and how to interact with clients. As a dog trainer, you will need to be able to speak to and motivate people. We provide you with a variety of techniques you can use to communicate clearly and effectively.
In addition, the manner in which you speak and how you organize your instruction is crucial to being a successful dog trainer. As such, this stage also discusses how to convey dog training information to clients, and how to create comprehensive lesson plans and homework assignments for group classes and private lessons. It also provides details on how to set-up and conduct remote dog training sessions.
Stage 9 – BUILDING A DOG TRAINING BUSINESS – 21 Days
This dog training stage provides you with everything you need to know in order to launch your dog training business. Starting with choosing a business name and type, and creating a business plan, this stage goes into detail on how to market your business through networking online and with other pet professionals; how to create a compelling website through SEO best practices; how to use social media and traditional media to expand your customer reach; and how to market to specific demographics
This stage also explains how to run your business, including developing and adhering to a budget; creating contracts and forms; and delivering quality customer service. If you prefer to work for someone else instead of starting your own business, we also discuss how to write an effective résumé and cover letter; and how to have a successful interview.
Stage 10 – HANDS-ON EXTERNSHIP AND VOLUNTEER SHELTER HOURS – 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 will 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 have learned thus far and prepare you for the upcoming hands-on training with your Mentor Trainer.
You will 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 are able to practice what you have learned while helping shelter dogs become better candidates for adoption.
The second portion of this stage is your externship. During this portion, you will 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 will have a chance to work with individual dogs under the guidance and supervision of your Mentor Trainer.
You will 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 – FINAL EXAM AND 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.
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.
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.
Training Shelter Dogs is approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
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 for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
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 for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
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 for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by theCertification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI)for CEU credits.
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 for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
*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.
Dog daycare service is rapidly expanding; it has grown by more than 12 percentage points over the past 10 years and will continue to do so. Done correctly, doggie daycare service can be incredibly lucrative. Learn how to do it right and reap the benefits of this growing market by enrolling in ABC’s Doggie Daycare Short Term Program.
In this course you will find everything you need to know to start and run a successful doggie daycare. This program contains over 400 pages of detailed material, covering facility considerations, insurance, licensing and permit requirements, equipment needs, marketing and promotional advice, daily care and activities for dogs, and working with owners. Doggie Daycare is approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) for CEU credits.
The Pet Fostering Short Term Program instructs you on how to work with an animal shelter or rescue to set up a pet fostering program. You will learn how to select and retain volunteers as well as match foster animals with volunteers, along with other skills essential to maintaining a pet fostering program. Pet Fostering is approved for CEU credits toward the Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer Level 2 Certification (ABCDT-L2). In addition, this Short Term Program is also approved by the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) and for CEU credits.