Who We Are

woman giving dog a treatThe Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) is a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education.

We were founded in 1993 by Ian Dunbar DVM, Ph.D. as a forum for trainers to associate with one another and to discuss topics of mutual interest. We have since become a member-driven organization producing educational conferences in locations throughout the United States. Our annual conference has grown from 250 participants a few years ago to 1500 participants.

Our membership has grown at a similar rate to over 5,000 members worldwide. Our organization is a voice for pet dog trainers. We offer a unique opportunity for professional networking and sharing of ideas through our conferences, membership directory, newsletter and seminars.

We refer, but do not endorse, members listed in our membership directory to clients who call or visit our webpage on a daily basis looking for a trainer in their area.

Our members include world renowned speakers and authors, veterinarians, dog trainers, dog club members, humane society personnel and service dog trainers.

The APDT offers individual pet dog trainers a respected and concerted voice in the dog world. We continue to promote professional trainers to the veterinary profession and to increase public awareness of dog friendly training techniques.

The APDT and its activities are governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees which is made up of five elected members from around the world. Its membership dues, educational conferences and sponsorships from industry-related businesses finance the organization.

International Members

Our membership consists of dog trainers throughout the United States and around the world. Our members include world renowned speakers and authors, veterinarians, dog trainers, dog club members, humane society personnel and service dog trainers. Our international members are from 26 different countries.


Our organization facilitates networking and sharing ideas with peers in a number of ways. Networking opportunities at our conferences are almost unlimited. There are numerous social events sponsored in the evenings, as well as a hospitality night on and free time to meet for informal discussions.

About Our Members

Please refer to our "How to Choose a Trainer"guidelines before selecting a dog trainer.

The APDT is dedicated to building better trainers through education, promoting dog-friendly methods and encouraging their use.  Our membership is composed of trainers from across the spectrum of training philosophies who have an interest in furthering their knowledge of positive training. Membership in the APDT does not necessarily ensure all members employ similar training methods, nor does the Association set standards of skill or competence. 

Membership in the Association is open to all who pay annual dues and includes individuals with a wide range of experience, knowledge, and skill. The APDT is primarily an educational organization and encourages its members to make use of training methods that use reinforcement and rewards, not punishment, to achieve desired behavior.