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A bill placing numerous new overreaching requirements on all dog trainers in California is scheduled for a committee hearing on April 19.

It is important that all dog trainers and responsible dog owners in the state use the information below to contact the author’s office and committee members TODAY.  Respectfully let them know you oppose Assembly Bill 1901 and ask them to not support the bill as currently written.


Assembly Bill 1901 equates all training facilities in the state to boarding kennels and, as stated in the digest at the beginning of the bill, “would establish parallel requirements for dog trainers, dog training facilities, and dog training facility operators…”  This would apply to anyone in the state who trains a dog in exchange for compensation provided by the dog’s owner at any premises or location in the state.

The definition of dog training is very broad and must be assumed to encompass every type of training,  including drop-in classes, public and private training, Canine Good Citizen classes, obedience training, handling classes, performance and sporting training, or any dog training in the state for which the instructor/trainer may receive any type of compensation.

The bill establishes the following legal mandates of dog trainers:

  • Provide many of the same elements required of boarding kennels. This would include:
    • Providing every dog with a floormat, rest board or similar device
    • If enclosures are used, ensuring that the animals have free body movement and the head does not hit the top of the cage. This includes temporary crating.
    • Provide food and water at intervals suitable for the dog. AKC believes this should be clarified regarding whether food and water should be offered to dogs at brief training classes when dogs are not kept overnight.
  • Provide each dog daily with “enrichment sufficient to maintain the behavioral health of the dog.” Again it is unclear how this applies to a 60-minute weekly training class, and whether this means toys and other enrichment items must be provided at every class, regardless of the length of time or the purpose of the training.
  • Provide a written disclosure to anyone “purchasing” dog training services – This disclosure would include whether the trainer is licensed or certified by any animal training organization and a list of the trainer’s training techniques, including whether they use “negative reinforcement”. AKC does not support inhumane or dangerous training.  However, this term is not defined, so it is unclear if it would also include a firm verbal command or action to correct an action or prevent a dog from harming itself.
  • Provide the same written information to owners that are provided by boarding kennels. This would include the days and times dogs may be picked up and dropped off, days and times personnel are on site, and the training facility’s “customary daily activity schedule”.  It is unclear how this will be enforced when classes are not at a permanent facility and are not offered every day.
  • Keep written records for a year on the “health, status, and disposition” of each dog trained.

In addition, violations will be noted by an animal control officer during an inspection. It is unclear if this means all locations used for training must be inspected, or whether this is complaint-driven.

Dog trainers and those that participate in training classes in the state are encouraged to review Assembly Bill 1901 to see how this would impact you.

Talking Points:

This bill seems to make the inaccurate assumption that all trainings involve overnight boarding and take place in designated training facilities.  When contacting the author and committee, consider the following talking points:

  • Explain that training classes do not always include overnight boarding in a facility. Classes take place throughout the state at community centers, public parks, and local dog clubs – just to name a few.
  • Explain that there are many different types of training classes and they last for varying lengths of time (some are weekly or a couple times a week for 30 minutes, one hour, etc.). Training can be for basic obedience, service or therapy dogs, participation in AKC events, etc.  The regulations in AB 1901 are not appropriate for every type of training and class.
  • Express your concern that the vague and extensive requirements in AB 1901 will be virtually impossible for many dog trainers to comply with. If this passes, it could result in fewer dog training classes in the state, leading to a potential public safety concern.
  • If you are a dog trainer, provide details of your experience and your class. How long have you been a trainer?  What are the nature of your classes and what type of facility is used?  How do you ensure the safety of dogs in your class?

Take the following actions TODAY:

It is imperative that you take the following actions TODAY.