Are you interested in becoming a professional dog trainer? Firstly, anyone can call him/herself a dog trainer. There are no laws governing who can and can’t carry this title. However, becoming a successful, respected and confident professional canine educator takes commitment, diligence, knowledge and hands-on experience. But where does one go to gain this knowledge and experience? In our search for qualified canine educators to join our team, we’ve found there is a real need for trainers who possess the knowledge, experience and positive, humane training philosophies we demand at Pup ‘N Iron™. In response to that need we’ve developed the Pup ‘N Iron™ Canine Educator Apprentice Program. This comprehensive, structured program combines the necessary knowledge and hands-on experience we feel truly prepares one for the demanding, yet exciting and rewarding world of dog obedience training and behavior modification consulting. Upon successful completion, the participant will be able to confidently instruct a variety of group classes from basic puppy and family dog manners to beginning dog sports. Additionally, the participant will be fully prepared to sit for the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers’ certification exam, the first national certification for dog trainers.

Our theoretical and practical program consists of independent study, classroom lecture, class/private consultation observation, and assistant teaching. The course is presented as follows:
Educational Tracks:
        Canine Behavior
  • 20 hrs. of classroom lecture, (2) book reports; written exam 
  • Learning Theory
    • 20 hrs. of classroom lecture, (2) book reports; written exam
    • Common Behavior Problems
      • 20 hrs. classroom lecture; (2) book reports; written exam
      • Basic Dog Care
        • 10 hrs of classroom lecture; written exam
        • Interpersonal Communication
          • 10 hrs of classroom lecture; written and practical exam
          • Teaching Skills
            • 10 hrs of classroom lecture; written and practical exam
            Dog Handling
            • 10 hrs of classroom lecture; written and practical exam
Class Observation/Participation:
Puppy and Family Dog Group Class Instruction
  • 20 hrs of group class observation/participation
Canine Good Citizen Group Class Instruction
  • 10 hrs of group class observation/participation
Introduction to Dog Sports (Agility, Rally, Freestyle, Flyball, etc)
  • 20 hrs of group class observation/participation


Student Assistant Teaching:
Ultimate Puppy Program - 16 hrs.
Novice Obedience and Manners Program - 16 hrs.
Canine Good Citizen Program - 16 hrs.
Dog Sports (May be any combination of disciplines) - 16 hrs.

Additional Program Requirements:
  • 10 hrs of observation and “ride along” on private behavior modification consultations
  • 20 hrs of doggie day care observation and assisting
  • 10 hrs of stewarding at a competitive agility, rally or obedience event
  • Written Thesis or Completion of an Agility, Rally and/or Obedience Title
  • Completion of Provisional Instructor Status – 8 weeks as primary instructor for an Ultimate Puppy, Novice Manners and Beyond Basic/Canine Good Citizen Program (Paid positions)
Program Prerequisites:
  • Completion of apprentice application and pre-acceptance interview
  • Over 18 years of age
  • Minimum education of a high school diploma or G.E.D.
  • Access to a working/demo dog or be willingness to accept a re-homed dog placed in your care throughout the entire apprenticeship

Tuition - $2500.00 - Includes full V.I.P. membership privileges at Pup ‘N Iron™ for up to 4 dogs while actively participating in the apprentice program; all course outlines, handouts and workbooks. Books on reading list are additional but can be purchased as wholesale price. All participants receive compensation during Provisional Instructor assignments.

All classroom lecture conducted by Laurie C. Williams B.A. CPDT-KA, owner and director of training and behavior counseling at Pup ‘N Iron™ Canine Fitness & Learning Center. Laurie, an experienced educator and lecturer, served as an adjunct faculty member for Northern Virginia Community College from 1996 through 2003 and has been a professional canine obedience educator since 1986.  She is a former Vice President and member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and is currently a member of the Pet Professional Guild.

If you are interested in learning more about the Pup ‘N Iron™ Canine Educator Apprentice Program, please download and fill out an Apprentice Application. Applicants are reviewed throughout the year with apprenticeships offered on a rolling basis.  Upon receipt of your application you will be contacted regarding an interview appointment.