The CCPDT's certification program was the first national certification for dog trainers. Until the creation of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2001, there was no nationally available certification process for dog trainers. Many schools teach dog trainers and offer certification for their specific programs. These certificates, therefore, reflect the teachings and quality of a specific school. Other organizations offer take-home tests for "certification". These tests are not monitored, nor are the testing processes standardized, or checked by a psychometrician. The CCPDT administered its first test September 28, 2001, during the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Annual Educational Conference in Ellenville, NY.
Since then, CCPDT has expanded to offer knowledge and skills based examinations covering animal training and behavior.
Candidates who pass the CCPDT's examinations earn specific designations which may be used after their names. All certificants must earn continuing education units to maintain their designations. They must also adhere to a strict Code of Ethics in their practices.