The Academy for Dog Trainers

Advanced Education in Every Aspect of Dog Training and Behavior

The Academy for Dog Trainers

A Comprehensive Course of Study, Designed by Jean Donaldson, one of the World-leading Experts in Dog Training and Behavior

The Academy for Dog Trainers

Learn Grow and Exchange Ideas with a Community of Professionals Worldwide

The Academy for Dog Trainers

A Comprehensive, Theoretical and Practical Education for those who Aspire to Excellence in Dog Training

How it Works

The Academy is a virtual university for dog trainers. It’s a two-year, part-time online course that offers a comprehensive education in all aspects of dog training, dog behavior, behavior modification, client counseling, teaching classes and thriving in your work. If you are accepted into the Academy, you will become part of our renowned lifelong, supportive and sophisticated community. You will have access to guest experts via webinars, and Academy staff will hone your practical technique through our detailed, personalized, pioneering method of video coaching.  Your access does not change once you graduate: you will continue to receive case support from Jean, Academy staff and your peers, participate in discussion forums and attend webinars featuring guest speakers and all the latest relevant research.  We are unique in our post-graduate support and we do not charge additional fees to our graduates.


Standard of Excellence

The Academy has a higher entrance bar than other programs, as well as a broader, more in-depth and more difficult curriculum. It is not for everyone. Please study the curriculum , requirements and code of conduct before applying. Most students complete the course in two years. Our program is divided into four levels, each to be completed in six months and you’ll be tested for knowledge and technique at the end of each level. At the end of the two years, you’ll take a final exam to become a fully-qualified graduate CTC.


A Comprehensive Program

The Academy for Dog Trainers is widely regarded as the Harvard University of dog training schools for those wishing to become professional dog trainers.  It was formed by Jean Donaldson in 1999 to address the need for more comprehensive dog trainer education. Since its formation The Academy has trained and certified more than 800 trainers in evidence-based dog behavior, training, and private behavior counseling.

Jean Donaldson, Founder and Principal Instructor, The Academy for Dog Trainers

Jean is one of the top dog trainers in the world and has lectured extensively in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. She is a four-time winner of The Dog Writers’ Association of America’s Maxwell Award, and her seminal book The Culture Clash was named the number one training and behavior book by The Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Her other titles are Mine! A Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs, Fight! A Guide to Dog-Dog Aggression, Dogs Are From Neptune, and Oh Behave! Dogs From Pavlov to Premack to Pinker.

Her most recent book, Train Like a Pro, was her first written training guide for a lay audience.  In 2018, Jean authored and instructed Dog Training 101 for The Great Courses, another resource for dog guardians.

Before transitioning full-time to pet dog training, Jean competed in dog sports with dogs of various breeds, earning numerous titles and wins including OTCh, HIT, TDX, and FDCh, as well as a CGC. She ran a successful training school for fifteen years, and spent six years doing primarily referral aggression cases. She holds a degree in comparative psychology and is a keen student of evolutionary biology.

I’ve had the opportunity to review Jean Donaldson’s new Academy For Dog Trainers and was very impressed with its quality, breadth, detail, and organization, but mostly with Jean’s fierce commitment to sound science. This is particularly needed in the field of dog training and behavior, where fads abound, sometimes with dangerous results. Thank you, Jean, and I highly recommend your new Academy.


DVM, MPH, DACVB, DACVPM, revolutionary behaviorist and inventor of Gentle Leader

Educational opportunities for dog trainers abound. Few, though, are on par with Jean Donaldson’s Academy. Jean is an undisputed leader in our profession, and has a rare combination of academic smarts, hands-on training “chops,” eloquence and incisive wit. I’m certainly indebted to Jean for the heaps of dog-training know-how I’ve learned from her. Students of her Academy are lucky indeed.


Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Bright Spot Dog Training

The Academy for Dog Trainers was perhaps the single best educational experience I have had, that perfect mix of interesting and entertaining material, lecture and hands-on assignments, and a challenging yet supportive learning environment. Even now, 9 years later, I can say with certainty that the Academy did more to make me into a successful dog trainer and teacher-of-dog-trainers than anything else I did before or have done since. Jean is brilliant and funny and I could listen to her endlessly. What impressed me the most though was the extent to which she stopped talking and got us (the students) to start doing so. I found my teaching voice and my timing and my training chops at The Academy and for that I will be forever grateful.


Chief of Education & Training, Richmond SPCA

Train your dog to enjoy veterinary procedures.

After years of production, testing and refining of training plans aimed at improving dogs’ comfort level during routine veterinary procedures, The Academy is pleased to release the final product. Complete the form below to download the complete Husbandry Project booklet. 

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