Questions to ask when looking at different course options

Are you looking for a course to become a Dog Training Instructor, or brush up the skills you already have?

There are lots of courses, workshops and seminars on offer to people who are interested in becoming a Dog Training Instructor (someone who teaches owners how to train their dogs). They vary in length, content, quality and cost and it is difficult for people to decide which one to choose. Below are some things you might like to think about.

Do you attend/assist dog training classes?

Talk to the instructors. Ask if they can recommend a route.

Look at the website of the organisation that is offering the course.

What do they stand for?

What are their guiding principles?

Do they have a code of practice/conduct which suits the type of training you believe in? Even in the 21st century there are organisations that teach about ‘Dominance’ in pet dogs – an idea which has been identified as flawed many years ago.

If it is not obvious from the website (look for references to ‘pack leaders’, being the alpha and similar) then e-mail them, ask if they support the ‘dominance’ theory.

There are some courses that will teach you to set the dogs up to fail, and then punish them when they go wrong. They will also probably show you how to reward them when they eventually get it right, but this is not the sort of training Association of Pet Dog Trainers believes in.

We believe that dogs should be set up to succeed. To be taught in small increments at the speed that the dog (and owner) can cope with.

How do you know you are taking in the information correctly?

Some courses require you to attend the lectures but don’t follow up on whether you have understood the concepts taught. Association of Pet Dog Trainers course requires you to do a total of eight homework assignments. This takes time, and needs to be factored in when considering whether the course is for you or not.

The assignments may require extra research away from the classroom, but this is a great way to check that you are understanding the basics.

We also believe in a lot of interaction during most of the sessions – we won’t just tell you the answers to everything, we encourage you – working in small groups – to think of some of the challenges you might come across, how you might sort out a problem, etc.

Of course the tutor will have their own solutions, but by involving the whole class in identifying some of the issues it encourages you to think about what might happen.

You will have an ‘ongoing assessment’ (we keep an eye on everyone) during the course – to make sure you are keeping up with everything being taught. If a tutor feels you are struggling with a subject, they will talk to you.  Likewise, if you feel you are struggling or not understanding something please let a tutor know.  Some of the subjects take a little extra time to understand.  If you are having difficulty, then some of your colleagues probably are as well.  One of the benefits of having residential weekends is that we can make time to talk to you, away from the classroom sessions.

We teach our students with the same ethos as we teach owners and dogs – setting them up for success, sorting out minor problems before they become major ones and sorting out any questions or concerns along the way.

Does the course have a required reading list?

We all benefit from reading around a subject, but again it is often difficult to know which books are the most useful/relevant. Ask your course provider what books they would suggest you read to help you with your learning.

Do you get support during and after the course?

Association of Pet Dog Trainers have found it very useful for students to have Facebook groups. Each year-group has one for the duration of the course. On completion they are invited to join another group for people who have attended our courses and are given support and advice (by both tutors and former students) via these groups for as long as they need it.

There is no charge for this support.  Check what support you will get during and after any course you are thinking about attending.

Does the course fee include accommodation and/or food?

When comparing prices for courses, check whether food or accomodation is included.

APDT runs two sets of courses – online courses are cheaper as you are working from home, so no fees for accomodation/catering are necessary.  We also run residential courses at Moulton College in Northamptonshire. We include the cost of an en suite room in the Halls of Residence, plus all meals and tea and coffee whilst on those courses.



APDT Courses


Our Foundation Course is for people who have little or no experience of dog training instructing.


Our Part Two course is for people who have successfully completed the Foundation course.


Our Advanced course is for instructors with at least one year’s experience of teaching classes.


FAQ's and Information to help you make an informed decision about which course is right for you.