Certifications are a bit of a hot button topic in the dog training world. In the United States there is no official regulating body that requires certification to call yourself a dog trainer. There are places that will offer you a certification and some are very well worth the time and money and some are... not.
I am a huge advocate for education in the dog training world but I do recognize that, that education can take many different forms. The most powerful form of education in dog training is hours spent training different dogs under the guidance of a skilled trainer. No amount of learning from books can ever replace hours working with the real thing, in real time, in real life. That being said learning from books is also important as it gives us a foundation of knowledge that we can then apply to those real life situations. Knowledge gained from others that have spent years gaining hand on experience and knowledge from people we might not have access to in person.
With that in mind I am constantly seeking out educational opportunities that will broaden my skills and knowledge as a trainer. When another trainer friend of mine told me about the Control Unleashed Books I was eager to learn more about this program. As a long time student of Fenzi Dog Sports Academy I recognized Leslie McDevitt's name right away as an instructor at Fenzi and I had seen a webinar from her talking about the Control Unleashed Program. She has written several books on the subject which are all available online via Clean Run. It was designed specifically for dogs with anxiety or reactivity but the games in the program benefit even the most stable dog or puppy and using these games right from the start with your young puppy reduce the chances of them developing any type of reactivity in the first place. As the name implies it is also a great way to work towards your dog being off leash and yet still totally engaged and working with you a valuable skill for dogs of any age!
So why not just read the books and use the material? Why go the extra mile and get certified? Well for one I feel it is important to respect other trainers intellectual property, Leslie worked hard to create this program and after spending years developing it she continues to refine and add to the program as she continues to learn and grow herself. By going through her program and becoming a certified instructor I am not only respecting that effort but I am giving her credit in the proper way. The second reason is that I get to work with Leslie personally as she reviewed every single part of my certification process. Every video I submitted demonstrating techniques or working with clients she viewed and gave me feedback on. This is hugely beneficially to me and my clients because words on a page are not always interpreted correctly or put into practice in the way the writer hoped. So having Leslie there to guide me as I worked through the material meant that I knew I was executing her vision to the best of my ability which means the dogs and clients will get the most benefit out of their efforts.
I am proud to be a Control Unleashed Certified Instructor and I know the education I have received while earning this certification will continue to benefit my clients and their dogs. I am currently working on a virtual Control Unleashed based Reactivity Program hit that subscribe button to be the first to find out when it is released and claim your spot!