Are you someone who adores dogs? Are you also great at working with people? If the answer to both questions is yes, then becoming a dog trainer is the perfect choice for you. This profession involves helping your canine students improve their behavior, adjust better to their environment, and sometimes even teaching them specific activities and tasks.
At this point, you must be wondering about the education requirements for this career path. Surprisingly, there aren’t any. However, before we get into the details of dog training education, let me enlighten you with the basics of the profession. What does the work consist of? And what are the qualities of a great dog trainer? You’ll discover everything soon.
What Is Dog Training?
As a dog trainer, you have two types of students – canines and their owners. That’s why one of the basic requirements is to be good with people, more specifically, dog owners. The majority of dog training consists of teaching people about their dogs and how owners can employ specific training methods. Training dogs is a simple portion of the job. However, teaching dog owners to apply training methods reliably might not be as straightforward. Ultimately, all your work comes down to helping the dogs and their owners.
If you’re planning on becoming a dog trainer, you can expect your tasks to vary. But on average, you’ll start by hosting workshops and classes to share your expertise with dog owners. Later, you might work with dogs one-to-one by visiting the owners’ homes. Essentially, throughout your entire career, you’ll be applying detailed knowledge of various dog breeds along with the fundamentals of dog psychology to teach dogs and their owners.
What new things can you teach a dog? Here are some of the most common lessons:
Good Manners and Obedience
One of the most popular lessons amongst dog owners is good manners and basic obedience. It includes teaching basic exercises such as Sit, Down, Stand, Recall, Walk nicely, Pay attention, Leave food, etc. You’ll also help dog caretakers understand bite inhibition, dog socialization, dog needs, and what falls under “natural” dog behaviors. Owners need to recognize how their pet dog grasps these concepts, so eventually, they can teach him or her anything else they’d like.
Individualized Training for Behavior
Some dogs may have issues such as hyperactivity, excessive barking, fear, insecurity, aggression, inappropriate elimination, separation anxiety, biting, and destructive behaviors. As a dog trainer, you will be able to use individualized training to solve such unique behavioral problems.
Dogs can also learn a wide range of specialized activities, from safeguarding humans to competitive sports. For example, canines can work with livestock, especially the border collies, which are great for sheep herding. Moreover, pet dogs can learn sports such as Flyball, Ringcraft, and even water sports. You can also teach these fascinating pets, several other activities such as search and rescue, law enforcement, hunting, therapy, and entertainment.
Methods of Dog Training
Currently, there is an abundance of dog training techniques, each with its pros and cons. Some of the most popular training methods include dominance-based training, clicker exercise, the Koehler method, and relationship-based training among a few others. What’s common in all the successful dog training methods is that they require knowledge about various dog attributes and personalities combined with consistent, effective communication.
The Common Traits of a Dog Trainer
Becoming a dog trainer is a highly rewarding job, but it might not be as simple as it seems. Of course, you’d like to become the best dog trainer possible, but do you know the traits you need? As a dog trainer, you must have:
- Great empathy and love for dogs
- Outstanding interpersonal skills
- Excellent customer service skills
Now that you have grasped the basic job description and important qualities of a dog trainer, let’s move on to the fundamental steps required for entering the profession.
Steps For Becoming A Dog Trainer
Just like any other career choice, to become a dog trainer, you need to be ready to work very hard. It’s common to start out with low income in the first few years. Nevertheless, if you love your job and you remain persistent, you don’t have to worry. Here’s how you can follow your dreams:
1. Starting Out
You’re prepared to embark on the journey, but knowing where to start can be challenging. Although there’s no formal education requirement for becoming a dog trainer, the best way to begin is by researching and studying. Start learning about dog training by taking courses or reading books. Attending workshops and seminars is also a great way to gain knowledge.
2. Gaining Experience
Once you feel like you have sufficient information, it’s time to get out there and gain hands-on experience. Some excellent possibilities include apprenticeships, helping at a dog training school, or working with shelter dogs. Either way, you’ll get experience by working with a variety of dog breeds.
3. Completing Certifications
Albeit there are no definite qualifications or level of experience you need to become a dog trainer, it’s a huge advantage to getting certified. When you hold credible certifications, it assures dog owners that you’re both competent and experienced. Your clients will know there has been an official assessment of your skills, and you’ve passed strict criteria.
Once you feel comfortable, you can find multiple platforms that offer courses or exams for becoming a certified dog trainer. It’s not uncommon for people to opt for more than one certification. If you choose to do so, it’ll allow you to develop more credibility. Wondering if a certain program is a right pick? Simply make sure that the program:
– Practices fair, kind, and effective methods for training.
– Promotes techniques based on modern, up to date methods.
– Uses affiliations with other organizations to enhance the learning experience.
After passing a certification, you can choose from one of two ways to start working. Joining a big charity or organization is a great option because you’ll get to train different types of dogs or work with service dogs. On the other hand, you can offer residential training. This path entails training dogs at your home or client’s homes, and comes with many advantages:
- You are self-employed, so you have complete freedom in your work.
- You get to set your own timings.
- The work is very flexible – you can choose to have more or less work in a day.
- You get to work more closely with people and their dogs.
However, as with everything, there are some downsides:
- You can end up working on weekends or evenings.
- You’ll require considerate self-discipline.
- It can become lonely and frustrating work.
If self-employment seems more attractive to you, go for it. Alternatively, if working for an organization seems more like your thing, try that instead. Some dog trainers even work both ways; I mean they not only join an organization but also work independently whenever it is possible.
Useful Tips Before Working With Clients
You’ve decided on starting your own dog trainer service – that’s great. But before you jump into dog training with individual clients, it is crucial that you know a few valuable tips.
- It’s always better if the dog you will be training has pet insurance, so in case of an injury or accident during training, the liabilities are covered.
- For a potential client, it’s vital you explain how many dogs you’ve previously worked with, their breeds, genders, etc. instead of focusing on illustrating your certifications or qualifications.
- Polish your presentation and communication skills and make sure you learn about planning classes and teaching people.
- Never stop learning – always remain up-to-date with modern research and techniques.
Lavanya is the author and blogger at Compare Market Insurance Company, which affords comparison for all sectors & helps the customers to get tailored quotes from the top leading insurance providers. She loves to surf the internet for new updations in her field. She is gaining experience out of curiosity