Dog lovers now have the option to turn their love into their profession. If you love pets and they bring you joy then you can take up dog training as your profession. In this profession, you have the luxury to choose your own hours.
Although there are no specific requirements to become a dog trainer as this job doesn’t require any specific education, having a significant bond with animals is not the only thing you need to become a dog trainer.
This article will show you everything that will come with the job of a dog trainer, from the required dog training education to the skills you will require for becoming a successful dog trainer.
Dog Trainer Job Description
Dog trainers teach dogs the skills to obey basic commands of the dog owner. These include keeping the dog’s temperament in check by teaching them to behave politely, be kid-friendly, and obedient enough to be taken out in public.
You will also be responsible for providing support to the owners so that they feel comfortable in giving commands to their dogs. You need to show them the kind of leadership and confidence that their dog will respond to.
On the level of your expertise, you may be employed to train normal house pets to emotional support animals or seeing dogs, etc. You can also find opportunities for training dogs who participate in dog shows.
Following are some of the duties you might be entrusted with as a dog trainer:
- Teach dogs basic commands.
- Make the owners comfortable and give them the confidence to command their dogs.
- Make a reward and punishment course suitable for the dog.
- Train dogs according to the specific needs of the owner. For example teach them the skills for hunting, emotional support, etc.
- Give owners a part in the training program so they don’t feel lost when your time of training the dog comes to an end.
Dog Trainer Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal trainers are paid an average of $35,260/year.
This, however, is the average salary of all animal trainers. Specific salaries for dog trainers can differ according to their geographical location, the organization they are associated with, years of experience, and how well they can train the dogs.
Steps to becoming a dog trainer
- Familiarize yourself with dog behavior
Although becoming a dog trainer doesn’t require any specific education, course, or exam, if you are not an expert on dog behavior you are not going to get hired.
You can take it upon yourself to be educated in this field by reading books on animal behavior. There is a multitude of courses available on dog-obedience courses that you can take to gain expertise and increase your chances of being hired.
You can also consider researching the behavior of different dog species so you can work with different types of dogs
2. Gain experience
The best way of gaining experience for someone only starting out is by becoming an apprentice to a dog trainer. Choose someone who has extensive experience in training dogs. Closely observe and learn to develop your training methods.
You can start by searching for an apprenticeship in the pet stores near you.
3. Develop your skills
Before you decide to venture out on your own as a dog trainer, be sure that you have the required skills as word of mouth is a huge way dog trainers get their opportunities. So, if you bungle on your first training assignment, your reputation may be compromised as a dog trainer.
Keep undergoing your own training unless you become confident in your abilities. Start gathering certifications alongside real-world training to build an impressive resume.
4. Be patient while starting your professional journey
You may be hoping to own your dog training enterprise but as it is said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Start small by working in local pet stores, or with training companies that have a big enough client base for you to get the word around for your own training expertise.
Get into the business only if you are genuinely willing to help people and their pets and you are drawn towards the job because of your immense love for animals.
5. Associate yourself with reputed organizations
Only working with animals can develop your skills and make you a better dog trainer, however, you must look like a good dog trainer on paper as well.
Certification courses from established organizations look excellent on paper. There are several institutes that you can enroll in alongside working as a dog trainer like Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), etc.
Dog Training Education
As we have said before, there is no particular dog training education that can lead you towards having a career in dog training but there are a lot of things that you can do to educate yourself.
Experience and certifications will get you furthest in your career.
You can start by gaining information about the courses and classes you can take from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and the Association of Pet Trainers. They will not only provide you with certifications but also show you how you can start gaining experience and become a professional dog trainer.
You can parallelly work and gain certifications to advance your career. The more certifications you get, the higher your chances are of earning good pay.
Certifications for Dog Trainers
Anyone can start practicing dog training but having certifications in your arsenal increase your chances of being hired as well as of obtaining better pay.
Following are some of the best dog training certifications:
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
CCPDT provides excellent programs for dog trainers and offers two certification levels: CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA.
Eligibility for CPDT-KA (Knowledge Assessed) requires a minimum of 300 hours of dog training in the last three years. To obtain the certification you have to pass a 250-question multiple-choice exam.
Along with this, you are also required to submit an attested statement from a CPDT member or veterinarian and sign a code of ethics.
Once you pass this certification level, you become eligible to pursue the CPDT-KSA (Knowledge and Skills Assessed) level.
It requires you to upload certain documents like a passport photo, a video of you giving designated training exercises to four different and unfamiliar dogs, and a video of you coaching three different clients with their dogs.
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Dog trainers can gain one of the following two certifications from IAABC:
- Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC): You need to complete 300 hours of on the job animal behavior consulting, 2 case studies, 150 completed hours of education, assessment skills, species-specific education, and letters of recommendation to be eligible.
- Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC): You need to complete 500 hours of on the job animal behavior consulting, 3 written case studies, 400 completed hours of education, and letters of recommendation to be eligible. The certification will require you to answer species-specific questions, both knowledge, and assessment skills-based and you will also need to discuss 4 case scenarios.
Being a dog trainer is a pressure-free job and can bring you a great deal of job satisfaction. The faster than the average growth rate in employment is 16% as shown by BLS which is a testament to the growth in this career.
This article shows you everything you need to know about dog training education and how to become a dog trainer so apply this knowledge to become an incredible dog trainer.
A tech enthusiast with an interest in helping job-seekers land their dream job in today’s highly treacherous job market; Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — a startup and AI-powered online resume builder to help professionals curate job-winning resumes.