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Kennel Club launches accreditation scheme
for instructors in dog training and behaviour


Over the past few years the Kennel Club has been developing an accreditation scheme for anyone training dogs or teaching people to train dogs in any dog-related activity and this new accreditation scheme provides a network of instructors, trainers and advisors to help in many ways.

The scheme is voluntary and aims to give a worthwhile qualification, in which scheme members and the public can have confidence. The scheme will help to ensure that the general public and training enthusiasts are provided with the appropriate service to meet their needs; that the membership work together to provide that help, promote responsible ownership, share ideas and encourage continued learning.

The new Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme for Instructors in Dog Training and Canine Behaviour hopes to meet all expectations. It is open to all and primarily promotes education.

The scheme outlines the essential skills, knowledge and hands-on dog experience instructors and advisors should have in order to be proficient and competent. The scheme is membership based with grades and awards. Full ‘Accreditation’ may be applied for by members who have a minimum of five years instructing experience, and have reached the required levels throughout the scheme. Accreditation is only conferred following an on-site evaluation of both the individual’s skills in actual instructing and advising (a class and/or an individual) and a verbal appraisal. Applicants must also show evidence of responsible dog ownership and that they have hands on experience with dogs, as these elements are seen to be essential to underpin the members’ knowledge, experience and credibility.

Modules

The Scheme is divided into three complementary sections, which are divided into modules.
Section A – This looks at ‘applied knowledge of theories’. It aims to ensure that sufficient knowledge is acquired for specific roles undertaken, it covers all aspects of dog ownership and teaching, including responsibilities, human and dog psychology and behaviour, care, welfare, law and safety. It also emphasises the importance of networking with other professionals in the best interest of the dog and owner, recognising personal limitation of experience and advice (including veterinary and legal).

Section B – Aims to ensure that adequate ‘background experience’ with dogs and related activities is gained. This section encourages a general appreciation of the range of skills in the world of dogs and the work of other instructors and enthusiasts.

Section C - Looks at coaching (practical instructing) skills. It covers the who, what, why and how of teaching based on members’ own area(s) of expertise, although most aspects are common to all. It includes teaching methods, equipment, managing resources and safety, self-evaluation, provision of a good service, planning and running training sessions etc. and forms the main practical assessment base for accreditation.

Standards

The knowledge and experience required for the scheme is extensive and is overseen by a Board. The Board is responsible for setting and maintaining the standards for accreditation and for ensuring that the assessments are open, transparent and applied consistently and fairly by the appointed Assessors across all aspects of the scheme.

Said Caroline Kisko, Secretary to the Kennel Club; "During our preliminary research, it became apparent that there is currently no standard or bench mark offered for dog trainers. This can cause confusion for any dog owner in deciding who to approach for advice. Following discussions with the Veterinary profession, it was also highlighted to the Kennel Club that other professional bodies could benefit from a scheme that provides a reassurance for referrals."

The Scheme officially launches at Crufts. Visitors to the show can find out further information on the Dogs Days Out Stand in Hall 3/3a. For further information on the scheme please contact Sue Evans, 020 7518 1039 or email: saevans@the-kennel-club.org.uk