I was jarred over the weekend to discover the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers had lately revised its 2009 policy statement on training practices.

Back in December, I’d written a letter to the CCPDT’s Board of Directors protesting the inclusion in that statement of language banning certificants from using electronic collars on any dog under one year of age. The letter had accompanied my application to re-certify as a CPDT-KA, and explained why I could not sign on to the new policy.

My check was ultimately returned and my certification allowed to expire. But that decision was not made hastily. The CCPDT Board took two weeks to consider my case, a fact that was communicated through official channels and leads me to believe that everyone serving on the CCPDT Board at that time would have read my letter.

And despite the scant response I got at the time, it appears the CCPDT Board may have taken my concerns (or similar concerns voiced by others) to heart.

As of August 4, 2011, the CCPDT’s Policy on Training and Behavior Intervention Practices no longer includes the following within its list of disallowed practices:

Applying a collar that delivers an electrical stimulation to a dog under the age of one year, with the exception of a vibration collar that does not have an electronic shock component.

In its place, a new and unrelated restriction has been added:

Purposely lifting a dog by the collar, leash, or scruff such that two or fewer of the dog’s legs remain on the ground.

Go figure.

Or, follow this link to view the revised policy statement in its entirety.

By the way, it’s unclear to me whether the CCPDT has actually shared the fact of these changes with current certificants, apart from editing the document as it appears on the CCPDT site. You would think they’d be obliged to, kinda-sorta, considering a new restriction was introduced. But the person who brought these changes to my attention said she’d only happened upon them by accident while reviewing the policy online. And it was definitely not mentioned in the most recent news update posted to their site.

A fact I can confirm unilaterally is that they did not inform me. But that’s not so shocking.

© Ruth Crisler and Spot Check, 2011.