What the letters mean and why they are important:

Dog training has a bit of a secret: it is not a regulated field. Some letters are just organization memberships. An actual certification means your trainer has made the investment in formal education and has been tested on abilities and knowledge. The world of behavior is dynamic with new information and studies giving us better insight all the time. A Dog's Life trainers are committed to providing you with informed, current and proven training methods and information. Here is what some of our letters stand for:


Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed


The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), is the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession. The CCPDT is the leader in the development of rigorous exams to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices. Thousands of dog training professionals worldwide maintain the CCPDT’s certifications, such as CPDT-KA, as a mark of high professional distinction.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner


As a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, Every Certified Training Partner (CTP) is skilled in positive teaching and training techniques to help you and your pet make training fun. They’re educated about using science and behavior-based methods to make training more efficient. They can customize a training program specifically designed to help you and your pet communicate and succeed together; and each CTP participates in programs for continuing education to ensure that the training you receive is based on modern research and technology.

A Dog’s Life is now home to three of only four active certified clicker trainers in West Michigan!

Licensed Family Paws Parent Educator


These are pet professionals who understand the transition to parenthood will cause some major adjustments within your household and with your dog. Preparing with your dog for the new arrival and for life with a new baby is vital. Family Paws Parent Educators will help ease your transition from pet-parent to baby-parent with pet. Their two international parent education programs specialize in both dog and baby / dog and toddler dynamics, and include ongoing support and programs that grow with your baby.

A Dog’s Life is proud to have the only licensed parent eduactor in West Mi on our team!

Victoria Stilwell Academy Certified Dog Trainer


Founded, developed and taught by world-renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell (from It’s Me or the Dog), the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior is the premier choice in dog trainer education. Their goal is to educate, engage, and empower training professionals to change the lives of people and dogs through positive training. While it is important for students to be aware of and understand all arguments regarding dog training and behavior, the Academy is committed to ensuring that it’s graduates employ and endorse only positive training and avoid the use of pain, fear, and intimidation in all practices.

A Dog’s Life is lucky to have both a VSA Dog Training Mentor and a VSA Certified Dog Trainer on our team. Both are the only associates of VSA in West Mi!