Portfolio Pathway: An Education Model to License Dog Trainers

Background

The PACTA Education Committee set as a priority a new project to design and implement a process for practicing dog trainers and apprentices to gain provincial recognition for their knowledge and skills. This “pathway” to licensing relies on collaboration and peer support and is a unique and flexible alternative to what currently exists in the dog training industry, namely examinations outside of Canada, and educational programmes that are sometimes financially and geographically prohibitive.

What is a portfolio?

Most are familiar with the term portfolio. It can be a showcase of your finest work (common for artists), a tool for a job application or promotion, or a personal approach to tracking your own progress and accomplishments. 

However, in an educational context, a portfolio is a more robust learning and assessment tool. This is how we envision the use of portfolios in our licensing model. Here are some key elements:

  • Purposeful collection of artefacts that evidences skills, abilities, and knowledge, and  demonstrates development.
  • Documents what you learned and how you learned it.
  • Has a continuous reflective component.
  • Evidences a thoughtful process, usually through a synthesis of ideas, reflection on achievements, and self-awareness.
  • Contains both direct evidence (products the individual has produced, e.g. work samples) and indirect evidence (details of achievements prepared by another person e.g. awards, certificates of completion, performance appraisals) 
  • Includes future plans by identifying gaps in learning and ambitions.
  • Designed for the purpose of both self and external assessment.

In a nutshell, a portfolio is an undertaking that all professionals should consider. It's important to be aware of what you need to learn! 

What does this Pathway look like? 

Let's look at what this process is like for Stewart.

We are excited about the Portfolio Pathway Project!

 The PACTA Education Committee aims to have a comprehensive series of documents ready to share with PACTA members in the first quarter of 2022. We extend an invitation to PACTA members who wish to be involved in this project, keeping in mind that this same model can ultimately be applied to other areas of animal care such as groomers, dog walkers, daycare operators, pet sitters, other animal trainers, and so on.