CAN YOU NAME THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINER ORGANIZATION TO GIVE CERTIFICATIONS (post 1960’s that is…)
The Society of North American Dog Trainers (SNADT). Have you heard of it? Probably not. Steve Diller, the wonderful trainer whom I studied with, told me about it as he had been its President in 1991. Many of the members were pet dog trainers but they also competed in competition obedience, agility and Schutzhund.
I don’t think much has been written about the history of SNADT and I think it’s important for dog trainers to know about our past professional organizations, the history of them and the dog trainers that came before us.
I found out from speaking with several past members and trainer Babette Haggerty that the organization’s goal was to “elevate and set ethical standards for dog trainers, and act as a voice in dog related legislative issues.” Most of the members were from the New York City Tri-state area.
And fight legislative issues they did!! NYC dog trainer and author Carol Lea Benjamin told me that in her recollection, the group was originally started as a reaction to New York City legislation that would have banned pit bulls. Trainers went down to City Hall to testify and the bill was defeated!
Babette told me that she thinks SNADT was founded before 1990 but it was no longer in existence when APDT held its first conference in Orlando, FL in ‘94.
To get a SNADT Certification there was a rigorous system of testing.
The testing was done At the ASPCA on 92nd Street in Manhattan.
Here’s what I learned from dog trainer Brenda “Sue” Clauss of Paw Paw’s Canine College & Kennel, LLC in West Virginia who received a Level 2 Certification from SNADT.
There were three levels of Certification. At the time Sue was certified at Level 2 only 8 people had that certification – 7 from the US and 1 from England
There was a written test which included breed temperament and history
There was an oral defense in front of the testing panel
For the hands-on portion the trainer had to work 3 different shelter dogs on the spot never having seen or met any of the dogs. Sue said in 5 minutes she had to teach each dog something. She remembers being handed an “extremely vicious” bull dog and was told to “work the dog”
As Carol told me, the testing was done with no special training equipment because the ASPCA wouldn’t allow it
Here’s a list of some of the members of SNADT – if anyone knows of any others – please let me know!
Google them – and please don’t get hung up on methods and techniques when you read about them. I indicated that SNADT founder Robin Kovary was also a Charter Member of APDT for a reason. This is about our history and it’s good for us to know who came before us.
Capt. Arthur Haggerty
Carol Lea Benjamin
Brenda “Sue” Clauss
Job Michael Evans
Robin Kovary (Charter member of APDT)
Karen Reardon Taylor, CPDT-KA