The Cooperative Paws SDC® program was designed for experienced professional dog trainers who are committed to a positive (force free) training approach. Prerequisite information is provided as a guideline below. Meeting prerequisites does not guarantee admission. See application for additional information.
Education, knowledge and skills in positive training including clicker training and lure reward techniques to train basic and intermediate level behaviors.
Some of the ways you can demonstrate your education, knowledge and skills may include:
- Industry credentials* such as the CPDT-KA, CDBC, PPAB credentials and/or certificates from professional dog trainer programs that we recognize including CATCH Academy (CCDT), The Academy for Dog Trainers, Peaceable Paws, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA-CTP), Victoria Stilwell Academy and the Institute for Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT).
- Certificates from continuing education programs that use positive, reward-based (force free) methods such as Dognostics, Fear Free, CSAT (separation anxiety certified trainer), Certified Trick Dog Instructor, Family Paws, Fit Paws and others.
- Continuing education such as attendance at webinars, conferences such as Clicker Expo, Aggression in Dogs, Fenzi Academy.
- Education in fields that relate to dog training such as degrees or certificates in veterinary medicine, education, rehabilitation, psychology or zoology from accredited colleges or universities.
*Credentials have been listed as examples, but please note that we do not require specific credentials. Instead, we review an individual’s application in its entirety, taking into account various factors.
Professional dog training experience: Hands-on experience offering professional training for dogs and owners. In most cases 1 or 2 years is required, however, we may make exceptions for applicants who can demonstrate other directly relevant experience.
Accomplishments in dog activities can be used to support experience. For example: trick training, therapy dog training, AKC CGC, Rally, Freestyle, Agility, or scent work.
Commitment to reward-based (positive training/force-free) methods and tools exclusively for all dogs. No use of electronic collars, prong collars or choke chains for any dogs in your work.
Experience evaluating dog behavior. This may be informal, in the context of offering private training lessons or behavior consultations with dog training clients or it may be formal such as evaluating shelter dogs, rescue dogs, or assessing therapy dogs or service dogs.
Additionally to be successful in the course you will need
To be comfortable using technology for an online course – using email, file sharing (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive), downloading/opening/closing files, online forms, and recording/sharing video using a smart phone.
Access to an appropriate dog for the course – an “easy to train” food motivated, healthy dog that you have daily access to is recommended. You will need to submit video of your work training the dog to complete the course. The dog does not need to be appropriate for service work, all of the training can occur in your home or in a training facility. However, you will be training advanced, complex behavior chains, so the dog should enjoy frequent training sessions. Read more about the dog needed.