Dog Trainer Foundation Exam

“A little learning is a dangerous thing.” ~Mark Twain

The search for knowledge is an endless quest in every profession. Dog training is no exception, and as dogs have become such a part of our lives, information about dog training and dog behavior is voluminous. But as with most everything else, there is foundation knowledge in this profession that must be learned by anyone who seeks to earn a living as a dog trainer.

For years, the IACP has been at the forefront of hands-on certification with our Certified Dog Trainer exam, which tests the hands-on skills of those members who meet the qualifications. Until now, IACP hasn’t had a test that measured the amount of “book knowledge” trainers have, especially new trainers to the field. And there are a lot of them, as dog training and its offshoots are attractive as second careers to many dog lovers.

But while it may seem simple to train a dog, mastering this profession takes long hours “in the trenches,” and despite a lack of national accreditation (at this time), requires more than just the ability to train one’s own pet.

It’s always best to begin at the beginning.  

The IACP recognizes that some members may be in the middle of studying for the exam.  The revised exam will have similar but not exactly the same content.  You will be able to use a lot of the same study material, but some may be different.  It is your choice to try to take the exam before October 15, 2020 or wait for the new list of study material.  We apologize for any inconvenience and will try our best to get the new exam released as soon as possible.  If you have any questions please email [email protected]

What is it?

The IACP has designed the Dog Trainer Foundation Exam, or DTFE, to test your knowledge of dog behavior concepts as explained in the Source materials (link below). It is designed for newer trainers, such as those fresh out of a dog training school such as Starmark Academy, and/or those who have been working with mentors or apprenticing in the dog training field for a short time. It is an online exam consisting of 80 multiple-choice questions and 5 essay questions. You will have 75 minutes to complete it once you begin.

You must be an IACP member in good standing to sign up and take this test. Individuals convicted of a felony who become Affiliate members of the IACP may pay for and take the Dog Trainer Foundation Exam (DTFE)

Not a member?  Click here to Join

The DTFE tests your core knowledge of the following subjects:

  • Husbandry (basic care)
  • Ethology (behavior)
  • Learning Theory
  • Training Methods
  • Training Tools
  • Instructional Skills (how you’d apply your knowledge)
  • IACP Knowledge and Business Ethics
  • Areas of Specialization (aggression rehab, socialization, dog sports, etc)\

How much does it cost?

The IACP DTFE costs $75.00 USD. Payment must be made with a major credit card or through Paypal. Once you have paid your test fee, you will receive a link to create a Test Username and Password to access your test. See the link at the bottom to get started.

Why should I take it?

  • Because you want to succeed in this business, and you understand how basic knowledge is an important first step
  • It will give you, a fledgling trainer without a lot of hands-on experience, more credibility with your clients if you can say you took the time to study for and pass a Basic Knowledge test
  • There is no national dog training certification, only certification through organizations like the IACP—at least for now
  • You want to support the IACP, a dog trainers’ organization that supports your choice of tools and methods in an industry where many perfectly humane tools are unfairly vilified

 What happens if I pass?

You will receive a Certificate of Completion in PDF format once your test has been scored and you’ve received a passing grade. You may print this and hang it proudly at your place of business. You may also use the certification credentials “DTFC” after your name.

 What happens if I fail?

You will be allowed to re-take the test as many times as you like, but you must wait at least 30 days to do so.  A $50.00 USD fee will apply to each retake.

 Who benefits?

You, your clients, their dogs, and the IACP. Everybody wins!

Get Started...

You must be an IACP member in good standing to sign up and take this test. Not a member?  Click here to Join Individuals convicted of a felony who become Affiliate members of IACP my pay for and take the Dog Trainer Foundation Exam (DTFE).

Already a member?  Please log in to access the Study Guide, Source Material List and to Register to take the Exam.