The Scoop 
Official Newsletter of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

"The CCPDT exists to be the industry leader in defining and maintaining competency in the dog training and behavior profession."

November/December 2013
In this issue
Certificants Bark Back
Message From the President
Barks from the Board - Cissy Sumner, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA
Committee Call: The Write-On Committee
Networking News
Behavior Study Analysis: Assessing Impulsivity
Trainer Spotlight: Bruce Caplin, CPDT-KA
Call For Case Studies
Call for Legal Beagles
Contest! Contest! Contest!
Humane Hierarchy
Industry News
Certificants in the News

Dear Certificant,
Funny thing about human nature... as much as we may try to be positive in our lives as well as our training, it just seems so easy to focus on the negative. I know this about myself. When I am coaching, I first see what someone is doing wrong, then have to make a deliberate effort to reframe my comments to address what they are doing well - and finally add a suggestion for how to do better. Even after all these years, my brain wants me to blurt out, "Don't keep repeating the cue!" or "You fed him the treat before you clicked!" instead of "Perfect timing on that click - nice job! Now let's do it again, and this time be sure to..." Does this ever happen to you? 
We see it a lot on the yahoogroups lists, too. A new book or DVD comes out, and we swarm all over it with comments about what it got wrong. Or someone posts about a behavior challenge or personal experience of some sort, and gets jumped on for doing (or not doing) thus-and-such. (I am on a couple of lists where list members don't do this, and it is soooo refreshing - and reinforcing!)

I am making it one of my New Years Goals to do an even better job of integrating positive reinforcement into all aspects of my life. I do goals, not resolutions - and since goals are supposed to be quantifiable, I'll say it this way: I will deliver at least 28 positive reinforcers per week in addition to my regular teaching/coaching - 14 online, 14 in person. That's four per day - should be quite do-able.  
Anyone care to join me?

If you do, send us some examples to We'll pick some to print in the Scoop.
Warm Woofs,   
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Scoop Editor

Certificants Bark Back
I saw your whimpering and whining about no responses to the last Scoop!  I wanted to let you know that I enjoy the e-newsletter and look forward to seeing some of you at the APDT conference next month.  I particularly enjoy the case studies and find them interesting and insightful.
I also appreciated hearing the results from the Role Delineation Survey.  The results correspond with those that I read in the Chronicle of the Dog regarding the type of training most trainers spend their time doing - puppy basics and manners for adult dogs!  This is exactly what I spend much of my time doing as well.  I too am interested in more complex behavior problems but most dog owners (and thankfully most dogs) need only manners to become happy, well adjusted members of their human families.  I will be thinking about this as I choose sessions at the upcoming conference!
Thanks for a great newsletter.
Pat Cutler

Thanks, Pat - we love hearing from our certificants - and thanks especially for forgiving our whining, and for the R+!!!
Message From the President

by Bradley Phifer CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA

President, CCPDT


President's letter - September 2013


You cannot know where you are going, unless you know where you have been....


This is a phrase I have read many times, and one that a good friend of mine recites to me on a regular basis. The CCPDT is continuously evolving. In order for you, certificants of this organization, to understand where we are going, you have to understand where we have been, and what role a credentialing organization plays within the profession.


The History of the CCPDT

In 1999, a liaison for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Education Committee called for a roundtable discussion regarding dog-training certifications. The goal was to create a certification exam to evaluate the skills and knowledge of pet dog trainers. The long-term goal was to have a self-supporting certification program meaningful to trainers, to other related professions, and to the public. The certification program was to have three levels: Certified Humane Dog Trainer, Certified Advanced Trainer, and Certified Behavior Specialist.  

In 2000, the APDT received a grant to fund the credentialing program. At this time, members from the APDT met in Montreal to develop the first certification examination.

In 2001, the APDT developed the "Certification Council" comprised of volunteers from the APDT Education Committee. Later that year, discussions began about separating the APDT from the Certification Council to form what was to become the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. That same year, the APDT signed a contract with Professional Testing Corporation to develop, administer, score, and distribute test results to candidates. The first exam was given on September 28, 2001, at the APDT Conference.

In 2002, the Articles of Incorporation were filed in the state of Utah, and the first meeting of the corporate board of directors was held. This meeting marks the birth of today's CCPDT as an independent credentialing organization for professional dog trainers and behavior consultants.

Since 2002, the CCPDT has maintained the original dog-training exam (CPDT-KA). We developed the skills-based exam (CPDT-KSA), released the behavior exam (CBCC-KA), and published the CPDT-KA in Japanese. We currently have 2200 certificants representing professional dog trainers and behavior consultants from 14 countries around the world. 


In 2013, the CCPDT partnered with Dog*Tec to enrich our online presence. In the coming months our new website will be released, including a new logo which will be unveiled as part of the website. The new website will be easier to navigate. It is being designed to bring increased recognition of the organization, and our certificants, to the public.  And, it will begin to create a recognizable brand for the CCPDT.


In coming issues of the Scoop I will discuss the future goals of the CCPDT, and compare the role that a credentialing organization plays within a profession to that of an educational/membership organization.




Bradley Phifer CBCC-KA, CPDT-K SA 







Bradley Phifer CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA

President, CCPDT



Barks From the Board
by Cissy Sumner, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

While I achieved my CPDT-KA certification in 2003, I was apprehensive about joining the CCPDT Board of Directors (BOD) in 2009. Even after six years as a certified professional dog trainer, I felt like a fledgling in the world of published professionals, well known speakers and behaviorists.

Cissy and friends 


When I joined the CCPDT Yahoo group in 2003, I'll admit I was naive. I expected to get help and support from my fellow trainers. What I found was a lot of difference of opinion. And, much to my surprise, there were frequent calls for candidates to fill positions on the BOD that went unanswered. Rather than be part of the problem, I chose to be part of the solution and submitted my application to join the board.  


This is a decision I never regretted. I enjoy being a member of the BOD and helping shape the future of dog training. I have used my position, not only to shape policies within CCPDT, but to influence trainers and training where I live.


As a member of the board, I have witnessed the development of the CPDT-KSA and the CBCC-KA. The skills evaluation challenges dog trainers to refine their hands-on training skills and demonstrate their ability not just to train dogs, but also to teach dog owners how to train their canine companions. The behavior exam shows candidates must have an understanding of learning theory as well as principals of behavior modification. Both of these exams are challenging, and raise the bar of qualifications and competency for dog trainers.


On a more personal level, my qualifications as a dog trainer have challenged other trainers in my area to become CCPDT certificants. Again, this raises the quality of trainers and creates confidence in the public. It encourages people to seek out certified trainers and consider CCPDTs as the norm rather than the exception.


Another personal goal has been to help shelter dogs find and be successful in new homes. Just this year, I was contacted by the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County to begin a training and behavior modification program to achieve this very ideal. The program, based on Sue Sternberg's Train to Adopt program is too new to have data. However, shelter staff have mentioned more dogs are being adopted. The kennels are quieter, and dogs as well as staff are considerably less stressed.


Not every one is as fortunate as I am to be able to have a job they love, be part of an organization they admire and reach the goals they dream of. I attribute much of my success to being a part of the Board of Directors for Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. My fellow board members and the people I have met through the CCPDT have inspired and continue to inspire me to reach for and achieve my ideals.

Write-On Committee
by Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Write-On Committee Chair

The Write-On Committee is the part of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers charged with creating and overseeing a Board-approved Communications Plan.  That plan includes (but is not limited to):
a.  creating brochures for the CCPDT and its certificants to use in the advancement of professionalism in our industry, as well as for use by certificants in the promotion of their own businesses and services,
b. writing articles for other publications to raise awareness of our professional certification programs and the benefits of utilizing the services of CCPDT certificants, and
b. creating and distributing the Scoop newsletter that you see in front of you. 


The Write-On Committee functions are supported by several hard-working committee members, all bearers of one or more CCPDT certifications. We are: 
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Committee Chair
Terry Cuyler, CPDT-KA
Nikki Tudge, CPDT-KA
Sarah Villareal, CPDT-KSA
Monique Williams, CPDT-KA




If you have a talent for writing and would like to volunteer to do more to help CCPDT do more for you, contact Committee Chair Pat Miller at:

Networking News 

The Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin Network

 by Terry Cuyler, CPDT-KA  


Holly Lewis wrote to tell me of her networking group:  Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin.


The group got started in March of 2013 and has grown to include 29 members representing about 25 different companies.The group got its start when a few members talked about banding together to support each other. Invitations were sent out to hand-picked trainers who embraced force-free techniques and a private Facebook page was started. The FB page remains the main source of communication between members many miles apart as they cover the entire state of Wisconsin. Through Facebook they refer clients and brainstorm training and behavior questions and answers.  Marketing materials are in the works at this time. 


There is also a public Facebook page which has the following goals, according to Holly:

"We all have a strong dedication to educating the public about force-free training and how to be successful with their animals.  Many people still use force as they don't know there is another option. Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin also has a public Facebook page where information of all kinds is shared and everyone is invited to discuss. Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin also has a public Facebook page where information of all kinds is shared and everyone is invited to discuss."

I found it to be a great resource!  Perhaps more of us could collaborate on similar pages as a way to begin networking. 


Not all members are CPDT'S at this time, but all are trainers.  No dog walkers or veterinarians as yet.


According to Holly, the main advantage to forming a network is:  

"The group has been invaluable for networking, idea sharing and outreach. A series of seminars are being developed that will be shared with shelters and rescues. We support each other with no competition. It's wonderful!!!"


For more information email Holly at  Holly Lewis:



We are looking for more trainer networking groups that our certificants are members of to highlight in this column each issue of Scoop. If you are a member of a trainer networking group and would like to be included in Scoop, please let us know at:
Behavior Study Analysis
"Development and Validation of a Psychometric Tool for Assessing Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog (Canis Familiaris)"
 Submitted by

Jolanta, Benal, CPDT-KA


Probably, everybody who works with dogs thinks of them as having personalities or temperaments: this dog is shy, that dog is bold; this dog is skittish, that one is laid-back. And mostly, we form our opinions on the basis of personal impressions and observations. This poses two problems. First, as we know, labels don't tell us much about what behavior we're actually seeing. (Does that skittish dog jump backward at the sound of a truck backing up? Does he cower when he hears a loud voice? Does he do neither of those things, but something else altogether?) Second, we can't be confident that when our colleagues use the same label, they mean the same thing by it. (I might call a dog skittish only if it takes her a long time to look relaxed again after she hears that car backfire; you might call her skittish even if she bounces back quickly. And, by the way, what is "a long time," and what do we mean by "look relaxed"?)


Hannah F. Wright, Daniel S. Mills, and Petra M. J. Pollux, the authors of "Development and Validation of a Psychometric Tool for Assessing Impulsivity in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris)" (International Journal of Comparative Psychology, vol. 24, pp. 210-225 [2011]), point out that although researchers often speak of "impulsivity" or "impulse control" problems in aggressive behavior by dogs, they've extrapolated from research on impulsivity in people without first establishing that impulsivity is a trait of dogs or that it manifests the same way in both species. And, say the authors, researchers "fail to consider impulsivity in ... non-aggressive contexts." (We trainers, of course, are likely to see impulse control as key to mannerly behaviors such as not barging out the front door every time it opens!) 


In this paper, Wright and her colleagues describe a first shot at creating a questionnaire, based on well-thought-out criteria, that would help owners, trainers, and behavior specialists assess dogs' impulsivity in consistent ways. The researchers asked recognized experts - veterinary behaviorists and behavior researchers - how they'd distinguish dogs with low impulse control from dogs who were less impulsive. They used the answers to develop a 28-item survey, and added five random questions as "distracters," to disguise the real subject. (The idea is that if respondents know what the survey's "really" about, they may unconsciously change their answers somehow.)


After trying out the survey on ten dog owners, the researchers clarified some of the language, especially technical terms, and then distributed the resulting "Dog Personality Questionnaire." They didn't attempt to generate a random sample of respondents, but instead just cast the widest net they possibly could, handing it out on the street and at training classes, dog shows, and vets' offices all over the UK. The DPQ was also available via a well-publicized link on the University of Lincoln website. Given that it's impossible to identify and recruit a random sample of dogs and their owners, getting as many responses as you can is the best way to get solid data.


Next (whew!), a portion of the people who'd answered the DPQ were asked to redo it. The researchers made sure that at least six weeks had gone by between the first test and the request to do the DPQ again. They also asked that though the same person fill out the DPQ, he or she do so without reference to the answers they gave the first time. The goal was to learn whether the DPQ was "reliable" - that is, if you apply it twice to the same dog, who presumably is showing the same behaviors, will you get a similar result? Obviously, for a good assessment tool, the answer has to be yes. For example, if a behavior assessment is intended for use at shelters, any trained person who uses that assessment on a given dog should assess the dog in the same way, and draw the same conclusions, as any other trained person who uses it.


I can't think of a better way for Wright's team to have checked the DPQ for reliability. Unlike observers using a set assessment protocol at a shelter, the people who live with a dog may have very different interactions with her, under different circumstances, and thus see different behavior. So if another household member filled out the form and gave different answers, that wouldn't necessarily reflect on the test itself. And the 6-week gap between responses seems like enough time for respondents to have forgotten their earlier answers, so that the researchers could judge whether perceptions themselves were stable over time. Still, it seems possible that the answers given in the first round might have inflected the answers given in the second. We can't know. 


Also, it's easy to see why people might be stymied by some of the questions. One example: "My dog doesn't like to be approached" - does that mean "approached by people" or "approached by dogs"? No clarification is given.


Another puzzling item on the DPQ: "I would consider my dog to be very impulsive (i.e., ... acts without considering effects of actions)."

Really? "Considering effects of actions" is not a mental process I would associate with any dog; human teenagers notoriously are still developing this cognitive skill. The dictionary definition of 'consider' describes careful thought and reflection, which to me implies reasoning about the future in words --  more than a nonverbal awareness of immediate consequences. Here and in a couple of other places, the DPQ uses vocabulary that, at least for some readers, may attribute to dogs more sophisticated cognition than we think they really have.

(Editor's note: On the other hand, some may feel it is quite reasonable to perceive dogs as capable of "considering effects of actions.") 


In addition, some of the supposed distracter items seem easily relatable to impulsivity: "My dog often steals objects [such as shoes and remotes]"; "My dog is very friendly towards strangers" (does this mean he sits with wagging tail and squinty eyes while petting, or that he rushes up, jumps, and licks their faces?).


So the original questionnaire seems imperfect. Here, though, are some of its results:


There were significant breed differences. The 12 Jack Russells in the sample got the highest "Overall Questionnaire Score" (OQS), with the ten Staffordshire Bull Terriers coming in a close second. As the researchers point out, the breeds that scored highest were indeed those "bred for more impulsive behavior." The lowest-scoring (least impulsive) breed was the Standard Poodle (14 dogs). These results, of course, fit pretty well with received wisdom about breed-typical behavior, but bear in mind that the size of the sample for each individual breed was quite small.


There was no significant difference between mixed-breed dogs and pedigreed dogs as a group. "No evidence was found for the idea that impulsivity is related to sex of the dog." Neutering status also made no significant difference. Nor did the source of the dog (breeder versus shelter or rescue). The researchers found this result surprising and suggest that perhaps extremely impulsive dogs are euthanized at the shelter as being unadoptable. Those of us familiar with the sloppy assessments and placements done by many rescue groups, as well as with the behavior problems common among pet-store puppies, might not be astonished that the two groups don't differ in impulsivity overall.


Size did matter: Small dogs tested as most impulsive, giant breeds as least impulsive. Perhaps surprisingly, toy dogs were the second-least impulsive, but as only 11 toy dogs were included, we shouldn't set that result in stone.  


Finally, and not surprisingly, dogs with reported behavior problems scored higher for impulsivity.


Once they had the DPQ results, the researchers took out the distracter questions, plus any that more than 10% of respondents didn't answer. They also tossed entire questionnaires that had four or more unanswered questions. Then they mathematically analyzed the rest. The upshot was that the 18 remaining items, which the researchers call the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale, clustered into three "factors": (1) "behavioral regulation"; (2) "aggression/response to novelty"; and (3) "responsiveness."


Factor 1, behavioral regulation, included examples like "[Dog shows] extreme physical signs when excited" and "Dog can be very persistent." It also included some items that counted in reverse - for instance, a negative answer to the statement "Dog calms down very quickly after being excited" would point to an easily arousable dog.  


Factor 2, aggression/response to novelty, included items like "Dog doesn't like to be approached or hugged" and "Dog may become aggressive if frustrated," as well as questions related to the dog's response to novelty: "Dog is not keen to go into new situations."


Factor 3, "responsiveness," was more general: "Dog takes a long time to lose interest in new things," "Dog reacts very quickly" (note that there's a difference between quick response and the intense reactions looked for in Factor 1).  


Because some of the items in the underlying DPQ seem problematic, I don't think the DIAS is a finished tool. But, as the researchers point out, it can help us judge a dog's overall impulse control more exactly than a general impression can do. A better sense of how impulsive a dog is, and what relationship that trait may have to any behavior problems, can guide our training and behavior modification plans. (Maybe a program like Grisha Stewart's Behavior Adjustment Training can be seen as partly a way of improving a dog's impulse control.) Shelter staff could apply the DIAS to help them match dogs and homes - a dog who scores high on impulsivity would probably do best with an adopter who's proactive, for instance.


The DIAS is a welcome addition to the tools we use as training, behavior, and shelter professionals.   


Trainer Spotlight:
Bruce Caplin, CPDT-KA, CDBC
Monique Williams, CPDT-KA, NADOI, OSCT 

After fourteen years practicing animal law with an emphasis on aggression and animal negligence cases, Bruce Caplin left the practice and created 10 Minute Dog, a dog training and behavior consulting business located in Ridgefield Connecticut. Bruce works with private clients, several rescue organizations and is the in-house behavior professional for several local veterinarians. Bruce is a CPDT-KA and CDBC.

Bruce Caplin and friends
 What was the first animal you remember training?

When I was about 11 or 12, we had a toy Poodle who developed Diabetes and related illnesses that required daily applications of medications and Insulin injections. She would not take the pills or liquid medications very easily. Giving her a daily shot of insulin was a battle. My parents said to hold her down and force the medicine down her throat and pin her to take the shot. I remember thinking she was already incredibly stressed and I didn't want to make it worse.


I began  experimenting with giving her small treats as I gave her the insulin injection and other medications. Over a short period of time, not only did she tolerate the shot and medications, but she would wag her tail and approach me every morning just about the time I'd administer them. I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt right. It was only years later I realized I was using classical conditioning principles to accomplish a goal and teach an alternate behavior.


What factors most influenced your decision to become a professional dog trainer?

 I had an interest in and love of animals since I was a small child. While in college, I majored in Philosophy and Behaviorism. Many of the course were based on early animal studies. I continued this work during graduate studies with a focus on animal behavior. After attending law school, I focused on animal law litigation which included representing clients during dog aggression litigation, equine negligence and contract issues as well as municipal health laws relating to animals.


During the past 20-plus years, I've been training and running Labrador Retrievers in Hunt  Tests and Field Tests as well as enjoying the joy of a well-trained hunting retriever during my own days afield.  I'd attend dog training seminars when I could and would work with friends' and family member dogs. About eight years ago, I decided I wanted to focus on the aspect of my work I enjoyed the most: dog training and behavior modification. I quit the practice of full time law and started 10 Minute Dog, LLC.


What influenced you to become a CPDT-KA? Do you plan to maintain your certification when it is time to renew? Why?

Two reason: First, I wanted to test my knowledge and have the proof of competency for both myself and my clients. Second, I feel very strongly that a high standard of care in the treatment and training of dogs as well as a strong ethical standard is the only path to professionalism and consistency in the field. Requiring a trainer to pass a rigorous test and maintain certification through continuing education will make this profession stronger and more successful.  I plan on maintaining my CPDT-KA and CDBC certifications for the reasons above.


What are the most common behavior issues you resolve for your clients?

Most of my practice is driven by veterinarian referrals. I also am the in-house behavior consultant for three area veterinary hospitals. As a result, I tend to focus on both dog-on-dog and dog-on-human aggression. This includes resource guarding, leash aggression, territorial aggression and general fear aggressive behaviors. Additionally, I focus a great deal of time on early canine development. I strongly feel that if proper training and socialization is done early, many, if not all of the behaviors I deal with would not develop.


What mistakes do you think are most common for dog owners to make?

Treating their dogs like "fur children" and not understanding they are canines and we are primates. We approach the world and interact socially very differently than canines. Getting a client to understand how the dog perceives various stimuli, helps them understand the problem and solution much better.


What is your favorite tool in your training toolbox?

My ability to break down the scientific methods and criteria we use into everyday  language, so the client can easily grasp the behavior, method of training and reasons behind it. Most clients do not want to hear the detailed theory behind what we do, but prefer an easy explanation so they can be successful.


Is there a different animal you would like to train?  Or a training specialty you would like to learn?

I spent some time working with primates while in college. I'd love to explore that aspect of behavior. Also, I'd like to begin learning Search & Rescue training.


What activities do you enjoy with your own dogs?

I'm an avid bird hunter and spend about 50-plus days hunting with my dogs. I also campaign them in AKC, HRC and NAHRA hunt tests. I've had some master Hunter dogs and am currently bringing up a young female Lab. She just received  her Junior Hunter  and Started Hunter titles.


Call For Case Study Submissions 
We are seeking case studies from certificants to publish in alternate issues of Scoop.  Authors of cases selected for publication will be paid 15 cents per word. You can refer back to the January/February issue for details on how to present your case study. Here are some brief tips:

1. Respect client confidentiality. Do not include client or dog names. You may "change the names to protect the innocent" if you would like to be able to refer to client or dog throughout the article.

2. Article should be 1,000 to 1,500 words.

3. Protocols utilized for training or behavior modification should follow the Humane Hierarchy as described elsewhere in this newsletter.

4. Article should include an outcome - at least far enough into the modification program to describe the effect of the intervention/protocol.

5. Submitted articles will be peer reviewed and may or may not be selected for publication. 

6. Submit to:

7. Authors of articles selected for publication will be paid at a rate of $.15 per word. Payment will be made following actual publication.

8. Deadline for submission for Jan/Feb issue is December 1, 2013. 


 The Legislative Committee:
Call for Legal Beagles


The Legislative Committee is looking for volunteers who are willing to track legislation in their states that are relevant to the dog training and behavior profession. We would like to have at least one volunteer in every state - and as of this writing we have none. You could be the first! 


If you have any questions about the Legislative Committee, are interested in being on the committee, or are interested in/would like more information about being a Legal Beagle for your state, please contact the Legislative Committee Chair (that's me!):


Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Chair, Legislative Committee



Contest! Contest! Contest! Contest! Contest! 


Welcome to our Scoop contest - a word-find puzzle. Last issue's challenge was to find  30 words printed in purple and make them into the *correct* sentence. We had 26 entries last month - 23 correct ones. The winner of last issue's contest and recipient of a $25 Dogwise gift certificate is: Sarah Spencer Hall, CPDT-KA of Sit Happens Dog Training Center  in Missoula, Montana.  Congratulations, Sarah! 


 The correct sentence was:


"We humans may be brilliant and we may be special, but we are still connected to the rest of life.  No one reminds us of this better than our dogs." 

Sarah also identified the author correctly as Patricia McConnell.


In this issue there are 16 words in purple (not counting the words in this box). Same challenge, different sentence.  Send your entry to: Entry deadline is December 15, 2013. One entry per person. Contest open to CCPDT certificants only.

Winner of the November/December contest will receive a $25 gift certificate to DogWise (WooHoo!!)

The Humane Hierarchy


Here is the oft-referred to Humane Hierarchy (from our website - ) to which our certificants are expected to adhere:

Purpose: This position statement serves to guide certificants of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) in the decision making process during dog training and behavior modification. Additionally, it will assist dog owners and dog care professionals in understanding the standard of care to be applied in the dog training industry in determining training practices and methodologies and the order of implementation for applying those training practices and methodologies.


Position of the CCPDT: The standard of care for CCPDT certificants is that the Humane Hierarchy be used when making decisions regarding training protocols and behavior interventions. This use should occur regardless of whether the certificant is performing the training or setting up a protocol for the dog owner or another professional to implement.


The Humane Hierarchy, as adopted by the CCPDT, is as follows:


Hierarchy of Procedures for Humane and Effective Practices


1. Health, Nutritional, and Physical Factors:
The certificant should ensure that any indicators for possible medical, nutritional, or health factors are addressed by a licensed veterinarian. The certificant should also ensure that potential factors in the physical environment are addressed. 


2. Antecedents:  

The certificant should redesign setting events, change motivations, and add or remove discriminative stimuli (cues) for the problem behavior.


3. Positive Reinforcement:  

The certificant should employ approaches that contingently deliver a consequence to increase the probability that the right behavior will occur, which is more reinforcing than the problem behavior.


4. Differential Reinforcement of Alternate Behavior:  

The certificant should reinforce an acceptable replacement behavior and remove the maintaining reinforcer for the problem behavior.


5. Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Extinction

(these are not listed in any order of preference):

a. Negative Punishment - The certificant should contingently withdraw a positive reinforcer to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.

b. Negative Reinforcement - The certificant should contingently withdraw an aversive antecedent stimulus to increase the probability that the right behavior will occur.


c. Extinction - The certificant should permanently remove the maintaining reinforcer to suppress the behavior or reduce it to baseline levels.


6. Positive Punishment: The certificant should contingently deliver an aversive consequence to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.


Please direct any questions regarding this standard of care to our administrator at



Industry News 


Alabama Dog Trainer Charged With Felony Theft 


Five felony theft charges were recently filed against a Dothan, Alabama man for allegedly not performing services agreed to as part of a business called Wiregrass K-9.


David Andrew Bynum was arrested in mid-October on four felony second-degree theft charges, and then later added an additional fifth felony charge. Bynum, 26, of Orchard Circle, faces four counts of second-degree theft of property, and a single second-degree theft by deception charge. Bynum is accused of recruiting dog training customers through his website and then not providing the services paid for. He allegedly returned the dogs untrained and with health issues. Bynum also contends to have a training facility, but the Sheriff's Department has yet to find that one actually exists. Officials also said some additional charges of animal cruelty could come after evidence is presented to a Houston County grand jury.

One client reportedly lined up a meeting to get her dog trained. Under Bynum's direction she drove up to Alabama thinking she was meeting him at his kennel, only to be redirected to Westgate Park where he gave her a demonstration with another dog. She turned over her dog, a 9-month-old Corgi puppy, and $700 for obedience training. She was told her puppy would be ready in a month.


As the time for the puppy's training to be completed passed the woman reportedly received several phone calls from Bynum telling her why her dog wasn't ready yet. Bynum eventually agreed to meet her at a rest stop near the Florida state line where he returned her dog, after she told him she reported him to the authorities. The Corgi owner stated that her dog was thin, had become terrified of the leash, and walked with a limp.


Link to Bynum news article


Virginia Trainer Convicted of Animal Cruelty  


Russell L. Ebersole, owner of Aberdeen Acres Pet Care Center in Winchester, Virginia,, stipulated in a late-October plea agreement (sometimes known as an "Alford plea") that while he does not admit guilt, the prosecution had sufficient evidence to find him guilty of four counts of animal cruelty. 

Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Clifford "Clay" Athey then found Ebersole guilty of the four counts. Two charges were dismissed by the judge, and an additional seven charges were dropped by the prosecutor. Ebersole will be sentenced at 11 a.m. on December 6thof this year.

Cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor in Virginia that carries a maximum sentence on each count of twelve months in jail and a $2,500 fine.


Ebersole has a prior record stemming from his previously-owned dog training business known as "Detector Dogs Against Drugs and Explosives." He had been paid more than $700,000 to train 23 explosive detection dogs for the Federal Government following the 9/11 terrorist attack. He was arrested after being indicted on 26 counts of fraud and falsely filing records.  


In June of 2003, Ebersole was convicted of fraud for telling federal agencies, including the State Department, that his dogs could detect bombs. According to trial testimony, his dogs and handlers could not find 50 pounds of dynamite and 15 pounds of plastic explosives hidden in vehicles in a Washington D.C. parking garage. Ebersole was sentenced to 18 years in jail and ordered to repay $700,000 to the Federal Government.


During the October 2013 trial, witnessed reported seeing Ebersole "Punch, kick, choke, throw, and shock dogs until the dog either went limp or urinated or defecated itself during training sessions." Other testimony included an employee eyewitness account that "Mr. Ebersole picked Achilles up so that he was completely off the floor, by the choke collar/leash. After Achilles went limp, Mr. Ebersole put him on the floor and continued to choke Achilles for around another 20 seconds." Another dog, Flash, was also mentioned in the search warrant. A groomer who worked during the summer told officers, that she watched Russell continually kick Flash in the stomach from one side of the kennel to the other, a distance of approximately ten feet."


Link  to Ebersole article


Four Alabama Trainers Charged with Animal Cruelty  


The owner and three employees of the Tuscaloosa K9 Camp in Berry, Alabama, arrested in late October and charged with drug-related offenses, were also charged with animal cruelty. Heather Litz, Bryan McQueen, Charles Vance and Nancy Vance have been charged with twenty counts of animal cruelty, second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.


On the camp's website Litz is listed as the owner and head trainer, McQueen as kennel manager and construction foreman and the Vances as kennel assistants and canine companions. The camp, which opened in 2007, allegedly takes in animals that other people see as lost causes, especially those that have been deemed unsafe. Law enforcement officials found more than 100 dogs at the camp when it was raided.


Link to Litz article 


 Tragedy at Biscuits and Bath Day Care for Dogs


A tiny Yorkshire terrier strangled in mid-October in the back of a van operated by Biscuits and Bath. According to the company's web site, all the dogs there are in double choke collars as a security precaution.


Apparently the Yorkie and another dog belonging to the same family were being brought back to TriBeCa from the Biscuits and Bath place on West 13th Street, where they had spent the night. The dogs were reportedly leashed by choke collars, and their leashes were hooked onto the walls of the van. Other dogs were picked up.  


According to a report from Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists, some of the other dogs were anxious and active in the back, and managed to get tangled with the patient. When the driver turned around, he saw the Yorkie hanging by his choke collar. The pet was noted to not be breathing. The driver said he attempted chest compressions and nose to mouth breathing. At the veterinary clinic, the Yorkie was intubated and given medicine to try restarting her heart, to no avail.



Certificants in the News 




Penny Diloreto, CPDT-KA, K9 Dog Park's "Magic Wand" Residential Training Program

Certificant Penny Diloreto, CPDT-KA, was recently featured in an article highlighting the programs she offers at her K9 Dog Park training facility in Escondido, California.

DiLoreto has created "The Magic Wand," a program that brings unruly animals to K9 Dog Park and returns them home in a week or more.

"The Magic Wand is our name for hassle-free and hands-off dog training created to benefit busy dog owners," says DiLoreto, who has heard owners' yearning for such a miracle for years.  


The "magic" is the transformation that happens with no hassle to the owner. The "wand" is DiLoreto's expertise and more than 20 years' experience. She graduated from the Animal Behavior College and earned certifications from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and Do More with Your Dog! that focuses on teaching tricks. She authored Gonna Buy Me a Dog and The Potty Training Answer Book.  


K9 Dog Park, owned by DiLoreto and her husband David, offers a range of dog-training classes, Therapy Dog, Service Dog, Behavior Adjustment Training, Problem Solving, Agility, Rally, AKC-STAR Puppy, AKC-Canine Good Citizen, Shock-Free Snake Avoidance, Trick and others in its indoor facility.




Jake Guell, CPDT-KA, Tails for Life


Jake Guell, CPDT-KA has drawn national attention with Charlie, a Golden Retriever he is training as an assistance dog for a special teen through his non-profit organization, Tails for Life.


The dog is named after actor Charlie Sheen, who donated $10,000 toward Charlie's training and upkeep. When her training is completed next spring, Charlie will become a companion for Teagan Marti, the Florida teen who suffered spinal and other injuries when she fell from a thrill ride at Wisconsin Dells in 2010.  


Dogs interested Guell enough to change his college major three times. After graduating from Fond du Lac High School, he majored in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. When he discovered that career path involved heavy math,  he switched to clinical psychology. Halfway through the year he left college to study with Animal Behavior College. After he finished the online coursework, Guell served a one-year internship at the Green Bay Humane Society. Dog training, Guell says, involves a great deal of human psychology.


Funding for the service dogs and their training will come from donations and Guell's dog-training business. Dogs will be provided at no cost to families who cannot afford to pay.


Tails for Life -|mostpopular|text|FRONTPAGE&nclick_check=1








Bradley Phifer, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Indianapolis, IN 46205

Vice President

Shawn Smith, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
Whitewater, WI


Lisa McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Bowie, MD


Starr Ladehoff, CPDT-KA

Prescott Valley, AZ



James E. Akenhead, CPDT-KA

Alliance, Ohio

Julia Buesser, CPDT-KA

Forest Park, Illinois

Nicole Larocco, CDPT-KA

Morrisville; PA

Ruth LaRocque, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Seattle, Washington

Louis Mande, CPDT-KA

Elkins Park, PA

Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Fairplay, MD 21733

Cecilia Sumner, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Vero Beach, FL 32966

Jan Wyatt, Public Member 


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Non-voting: Joan Campbell, CAE

New York, NY 10018-0903

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Pat Miller,  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA







Shawn Smith, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, CHAIR  

Amy Blum, CPDT-KSA  

Sally Bushwaller, CPDT-KSA, CNWI

Cathy Cobb. CPDT-KSA


Gina B. Kaiser, CPDT-KSA

Vivian Leven Shoemaker, CPDT-KSA  

Lorraine Martinez, Ph.D., CPDT-KA

Stephen McKay, CPDT-KSA

Lisa R. McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Penelope Milne, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Daniel Spangler, CPDT-KA

Cecilia Sumner, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA




Doug Duncan, MA, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA


Beth Mattei-Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Lisa R. McCluskey, BS, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Audrey A. Tucker, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA, CMT



Louis Mande, CPDT-KA, CHAIR

Star Ladehoff, CPDT-KA

Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA 

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James Aikenhead, CPDT-KA

Ruth LaRocque, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA



Nicole Larocco, CPDT-KA, CHAIR
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Terry Cuyler, CPDT-KA

Niki Tudge, CPDT-KA

Sarah Villarreal, CPDT-KSA                       

Monique A Williams, CPDT-KA

Marilyn Wolf, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA