About PDTI

The first Greek accredited dog trainers’ Institute(Lifelong Training Center), officially certified by the National Organization for the Certification of Qualifications & Vocational Guidance (EOPPEP) and the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs (reference number 5502/2014).

Theo Koutsopoulos is the founder and head trainer of our school programs.

The idea of creating the institute came naturally as the next step of his involvement with dog training and educating children and adults in different areas having as a core subject the dogs.

Professional Dog Trainers Institute aims in educating and creating professional dog trainers, by training people on how to train dogs and their handlers.

For the first time in Greece, distinct dog trainers with different areas of expertise and years of experience were gathered in order to develop the most comprehensive study program in professional dog training.

The members of the team were wisely chosen in order to meet the demanding international standards mainly of Europe and the United States of America.

Our choices, in correlation with our knowledge and professionalism formulate our success.

Dogs do speak but only to those that know how to listen
- Orhan Pamuk -

Education

The course is delivered twice a year with starting periods on September and February. Applications and registration are applicable throughout the year until the period starts. 

The term of the program in professional dog training and psychology (Level 1)is 3months (156 educational hours)and for the Diploma in dog (Level2) is 2 months (100 educational hours). The classes take place every Monday and Friday from 17.00-21.00 and Saturday from 10.00-14.00 

(Prerequisite: High school Diploma) 

Students acquire theoretical and practical skills in order to work as professionals in the area of dog training and animal behavior. 

The team of distinct educators as well as the curriculum taught is designed to cover the multifaceted aspects of dog training. 

More specifically the topics covered in the curriculum of the Diploma in Professional Dog Training and psychology (Level 1) are the following: 

  • History and dog breeds
  • Dog temperament, character and behavior
  • Dog psychology and how it is formed
  • Dog evaluation techniques and the parameters to take into consideration
  • Obedience training, modern methods and techniques
  • Modification of unwanted dog behavior
  • Detection training
  • Introduction to Canine sports training (IPO, French Ring and Agility)
  • Presentation of dog training for Public and private sector
  • Human psychology and the importance of body kinesiology
  • Boarding Kennel Management
  • Basic knowledge of dog veterinary and grooming for the purpose of taking care of a dog
  • Learning about dog presentation procedures and methods followed in dog shows
  • Business Ethics and management skills for students to advertise their future career 

The topics covered in the curriculum of the Diploma in protection training (Level 2) are the following: 

  • Defense training (personal protection, protection of area and objects)
  • Myths about protection dogs
  • Breeds of protection dogs
  • Dog instincts and analysis of those instincts
  • Selection and evaluation of protection dogs
  • Ways of how to approach and plan your training in protection work, rules and basic principles
  • Important factors in protection training and different types of protection work
  • Levels of protection training and training techniques 

*In order for students to enroll in the Diploma of protection training (Level 2) they must have first acquired the Diploma in Professional Dog training and psychology (Level 1).

During the five month study period, a three day educational field trip is organized for the students in order to cover specific practical topics of the curriculum. 

Passing successfully the written, oral and practical exams, graduate students from the course will receive a diploma in Professional Dog Training from Pdti.

The course is a collaboration of Pdti with Animal Welfare organizations and consists of 80 hours of practice for 2, 5 months and the Head Trainer of the program is Theo Koutsopoulos.

Applicants should already have a certified diploma in dog training by a state institute in Greece or any other country who want to enrich their knowledge and distinguish themselves as professionals.

(Prerequisite: certified diploma in dog training by the Greek state or any other country) 

During the program, practice will take place using many different dogs from the Animal Welfare under the close supervision and continuous coaching of highly experienced dog instructors. Upon completion of the program, the participant trainers will be asked to submit a thorough written report of a dog assessment which should include the following information:

  • analysis of the dog’s behavior and psychological profile
  • proposed training techniques
  • profiling of the ideal adopter

The specific report will be submitted to the Animal Welfare and will act as an adoption guide in order to improve the prospects of the dog’s rehoming in the most suitable environment and to secure the use of the training techniques matching the dog’s behavior.

More specifically the trainers attending the program will acquire:

  • In depth knowledge of dog behavior and how dogs learn
  • Better understanding of dogs’ behavior problems so that they can improve their capability for better assessment and deployment of the appropriate training techniques
  • Intensive coaching in their training techniques for further improvement by highly experienced dog instructors
  • Practice in developing training plans using many different dogs to cover the needs of their future clients
  • Further development of their skills in counselling clients, passing on knowledge and techniques
  • Boosting in their self- confidence and competence to gain a significant credential and to inspire confidence to their clients

During the adoption of the specific dogs, the graduate trainers of the program, if they wish, can be present in order to advise the adopter accordingly and as a result to ensure smooth living with the dog and urge for the appropriate training method.

Graduates will be given a certificate of attendance.

K9 Dog Training Program (handler-service working dog) guarding, patrolling, searching, following human scent, biological scents, (E.D.D) searching for dangerous goods and illegal substances (N.D.D). This program is designed and developed upon basic principles, requirements and methods of foreign state services (Police Academies USA, German Police, etc).

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Trainers

  • Theo Koutsopoulos

    He is the founder of the Institute and is a professional dog trainer graduate of the West Virginia Canine College (accredit College USA) and the Canine Behavior Center London, Behavior modification for Professionals in animal Behavior.

    For the last 20 years, he has been working as a professional dog trainer in obedience and modification of problematic canine behavior and rehabilitation.

    He specializes in protection work and repression of civil disturbance. He has been trained also in creating suspect tracking (training for K9 units as well as security dog police handler training.

    He is a founding member of the first Schutzhund Club of Greece, (a Dog Sports Club for working dogs involving Tracking, Obedience, and Protection Work) and is the president of the Beauceron Club of Greece.

    He is the Head of the specially organized program “Dogs in Learning” of the Athens American Community Schools (ACS).

  • Vaggelis Michas

    He is a police dog trainer for explosive and narcotics detection dogs and has joined the Greek police since 1987.

    During the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens he worked as the head of on of the Hellenic Police K-9 group.

    Since 2015 he is the trainer for K-9 programs for explosive and narcotics dogs in KEMEA(Center of Security Studies) in the Hellenic Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection.

    He has participated in training seminars of the German police in Munchen as a trainer of police dogs patrolling, detecting explosives and narcotics as well as in seminar of the Hellenic Police in cooperation with representatives of police dog trainers of the Israeli Police, for the detection of improvised explosive devices and human bombs.

    Has also attended the state police training academy in Connecticut, USA, to detect explosives in a new system by A.T.F

    In 2013 he participated as a speaker at the first workshop in Parma Italy, of a European research program DOGGIES (Detection of Olfactory traces by orthoGonal Gas Identification technologies) and for the same project at the second workshop in Germany.

    In cooperation with Nikolas Kostoulas and George Pappas, he has written the booked titled “Police Dogs”, which is used as a guide by the K9 dog handlers of the Greek Police.

  • Vassilis Balakas

    He has been a professional dog trainer since 1989. He has trained and successfully presented more than 50 dogs of different breeds in all levels,

    He is the winner of the national working dog championship of 2011.

    At Pdti ,he teaches the subject of sports training for working dogs in IPO.

    He has participated in working dog championships around the world and he was won the 14th place in the German Shepherd world championship 2011, which took place in Kiev, Ukraine.

    In 2000, the German Working Dog Association (D.H.V) awarded him with a Certificate of Experience for race regulations teaching as a supervisor and a trainer.

    He is a member of the Greek Kennel Club since 1991, holding the position of Vice President of the Management Board and he is also a member of the work judges’ team of the club. In addition to that, he is a founding member of Greek German Shepherd Canine Association where has elected President from 2005 to 2013, a member of German Shepherd Association of Germany (SV) and Italy (SAS), an international German Shepherd morphology judge since 2004 and a work judge for FCI working races.

    He is the founder and owner of “Marathon Land”.

  • Nathanael Courcelle

    He specialized in dog training in the dog trainers unit (PCR4) of the French army in 1993. He has 20 years of experience in dog training, as well as dog area and personal protection in Greece and France.

    At our school he teaches the subject of French ring , a sport that is famous in France, his country of origin. 

    He is a basic member of the Pallini Kennels-Athens Pet Resort team, where he has been working over the last years.

  • Christos Priniotakis

    He is a dog trainer and has been  involved in competitive dog sports, since 1995.

    Recently, he won the first place in the Official Greek Agility Contest.

    Since 1994, he has been breeding Belgian Shepherd (Tervuren, Groenendael, Malinois) achieving many awards.

    In our school he teaches the theory and practice of the agility dog sport.

    He is the creator of the GL Team (Greek Legend) where he is the trainer for dog sports such as agility,flyball,trial,obedience-A.

  • Ksenia Vafopoulou

    She has graduated from the Professional Dog Trainers Institute, where she teaches the subject of business ethics.

    At the same time she is responsible of supporting the students in matters of adaptation, practice with dogs and other procedures during their studies.

    She studied Marketing Communications at the American College of Greece and has a Master’s Degree in Public Relations and Communication, from the University of Westminster.

    She has worked for two major educational institutions for years, until she finally decided to follow her dream and start working as a professional dog trainer.

    Working hard and showing real devotion, she became an integral part of the “Dogs in Learning” program, with Theo Koutsopoulos.

    She is the owner of two pit bulls Buddy and Karma, who she rescued.

  • Maria Liapi

    She has a degree in Psychology by the “The American College of Greece” and since 2000 she works in various educational and therapeutic institutions. She has acquired post-graduate training in Psycho-Educational approach and in Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Autism Center – University of Santa Barbara, California–USA).

    Being raised with a Hungarian shepherd Kuvasz made her adore dogs and always choose to live with them. She teaches the subject of human psychology and behavior. Her love and admiration of animals gave her the urge to study and get training in Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT). She is certified Specialist in Psycho-Educational therapy with Horses, by the German Federation of Therapeutic Riding (DKThR) and she takes part in various educational programs as a lecturer throughout Greece. 

    She works in Athens as a Psychologist and the last 7 years as a Supervisor of the Therapeutic Program in “Therapeutic Riding Association of Greece” (TRAG).

  • Bettina Makrygianni

    She was born in Germany where she grew up with two German Shepherds.  Her love for dogs and especially for Old British Shepherds (Bobtails) led her to study kynology and grooming in Germany.

    Her specialization in show dog grooming was acquired by certified breeding houses in England and she has participated in shows in Greece and abroad, next to distinguished morphology judges, for many years.

    She teaches the subject of basic principles and techniques of grooming and the preparation of dogs for morphology dog shows.

    In Germany, she attended a specialized seminar in hydrotherapy for dogs with disabilities.

  • Yiorgos Iliopoulos

    He has graduated from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is also a graduate of Athens University of Economics and Business (ASOEE).

    From 1993 to 1996, he was in charge of the Veterinary Sector of IAMS – EUKANUBA in Greece and has attended specialized seminars on dog and cat nutrition in Athens, Eindhoven – Netherlands, Milan, San Marino and Paris.

    He set up his own office in 1995 to care and provide help to pets and teaches the subject of preventive veterinary medicine and first aid in our school.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no age limit in order to attend, men and women can participate in the course if they are over 18 years old.

The participation of your own dog during your attendance is not necessary.

However, if you wish you can have your dog with you during your practical exercise.

In any case, students are able to practice with the dogs that have been assigned in the program by the Head trainer.

Yes. The attendance of all classes during your studies is necessary and the school does not offer an e-learning program.

You can contact the Institute’s secretariat for more information concerning nearby hotels, where you can stay during your study period.

This isn’t really dog training this is people training
- Keith Axsom -

Contact Us

Contact person: Xenia Vafopoulou
Address: Pallini Kennels – Athens Pet Resort
19th Km. Marathonos Ave. Athens 153 51, Greece
email: info@pdti.gr
mobile: +30 6944 42 05 95 (Monday - Saturday 09.00-21.00)
phone: +30 210 60 44 009
(Mon. - Fri. 09.00-13.30 & 17.30-19.30 Sat. 09.00-14.00)
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