Truth-in-Training Ordinance

Registration Forms and License Registrations must be completed by July 1, 2018

Hillsborough County’s “Truth-in-Training” Ordinance oversees the regulation of the licensing for dog-training businesses and registration of dog trainers in Hillsborough County, as well as sets parameters for what is expected of the relationship between the trainer and customer.

The 'Truth-in-Training' ordinance is designed to eliminate unexpected events during dog training. All techniques and training styles will be discussed and agreed upon prior to the start of training so there are no surprises during the training process. Transparent operations are ideal for both the dog owner and the dog trainer/dog-training business. This will help customers better understand the qualifications and procedures of local dog trainers, as well as provide a minimal amount of oversight of dog-training practices. As part of the ordinance, dog-training customers must be provided a written dog-training plan that is agreed upon by both the dog’s trainer and owner.
All dog trainers that provide services in Hillsborough County are required to register with Pet Resources, as well as all dog-training businesses that conduct dog training are required to be licensed to perform dog-training activities.

Dog-Training Plan Requirements

  • All dog trainers and dog-training business owners must provide all customers with a written dog-training plan.
  • The training plan must be signed by both the dog trainer and the customer prior to the start of any dog training and a complete copy of the training plan must be provided to the customer.
  • All dog trainers and dog-training businesses must abide by the training plan or any written modifications.
  • Dog trainers and dog-training business owners must provide all customers with a County consumer acknowledgment form.
  • The County consumer acknowledgment form must be signed by both the dog trainer and customer prior to the start of any dog training and a complete copy of the County consumer acknowledgement form must be provided to the customer
  • The County consumer acknowledgment form must be maintained by the dog trainer or dog-training business for four years

Download the Dog Training Consumer Acknowledgment Form

Notes

  • The information provided by registrants and licensees will be handled by Pet Resources who will be responsible for any enforcement needs through the Animal Control Division.
  • Customer complaints, questions, and concerns should be addressed to Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Services.
  • Information provided is considered public record subject to disclosure as defined by Chapter 119 of Florida Statutes, and may be posted on the County's website.

FAQs

  1. Who qualifies to be a dog trainer in Hillsborough County? There is no mandatory certification process or educational requirement that must be completed before an individual can say he/she is a professional dog trainer. The Board of County Commissioners enacted the Truth-in-Training ordinance to assist with the regulation of the industry in Hillsborough County to ensure the safety of all residents. The ordinance oversees the regulation of the licensing for dog-training businesses and registration of dog trainers in Hillsborough County, and sets parameters for what is expected of the relationship between the trainer and customer. The Truth-in-Training ordinance is designed to eliminate unexpected events during dog training. All techniques and training styles are required to be discussed and agreed upon prior to the start of training so there are no surprises during the process.
  2. What types of professional certification should I look for in a dog trainer? Although there are no requirements to become a dog trainer, there are several programs that offer professional dog trainer certification and formal education. Many reputable trainers seek certification with one of the major organizations, and some are certified with multiple groups. Others train under well-known people or programs. The list of trainers and professional training businesses in Hillsborough County should help you decide what is right for your needs.
  3. Are dog trainers usually self-employed? Yes, most dog trainers are entrepreneurs and run their own independent businesses. There are dog-training businesses, but it is more common for dog trainers to be self-employed. No matter what type of trainer is hired, all dog trainers and dog-training business owners in Hillsborough County must provide every customer with a written dog-training plan and a consumer acknowledgment form to sign prior to the first session to ensure understanding of the methods that will be used during training.
  4. Does specialized training require different license or application with Hillsborough County? There are many types of training and methods for dogs - obedience, agility, service, and police work to name a few. Though there are many types, there isn't a different license or application outside of the Truth-in-Training requirements. No matter what type of training the trainer focuses on, all dog trainers and dog-training business owners in Hillsborough County must provide all customers with a written dog-training plan and a consumer acknowledgment form to sign prior to the first session to ensure understanding of the methods that will be used during training.
  5. What should I expect from my dog trainer? Every experience is unique because every dog responds differently. Dog trainers customize a plan based on the reason for training, so the length and focus of the sessions will be unique to the dog, as well as the dog owner. All techniques and training styles will be discussed and agreed upon prior to the start of training, so there are no surprises during the training process. The dog-training plan is to be shared with the owner and reviewed to ensure understanding of the methods that will be used during training. Remember, all dog trainers and dog-training business owners in Hillsborough County must provide all customers with a written dog-training plan and a consumer acknowledgment form to sign prior to the first training session.