How to Become a Dog Trainer - 3 Easy Steps to Get You Started
No animal has ever been close to man like a dog.
The real reason for that is unknown, but I think it has to do with man and dog having an uncanny understanding of each other and both craving for the same thing – loyalty.
But even though man and canine have an uncanny understanding of each other, the relationship can only go to the next level when you take the time to train yourself to understand and work with your furry four-legged friends properly.
Yes, I mean learning to become a dog trainer.
If you are interested in learning how to become a dog trainer, you’ve come to the right place as I will set you on the path you seek.
But before we go down that path, what exactly is a dog trainer.
Dog Trainer – What it Really Means
A dog trainer, contrary to popular belief does not solely work with dogs but works more with people.
Yes, a dog trainer should actually be called a dog handler trainer as they work more with the guardians of canines to show them how to teach their canine pal to obey instructions and perform certain tasks.
So what exactly does a dog trainer do?
Although many people become dog trainers because of the passion and love they have for their pets, dog training quickly outgrows your passion for your pet and spills over into wanting to help other pet owners acquire the skills you have – relating their dogs on a grander scale.
This means that as a dog trainer, your duties will entail working alongside dog owners to teach and train their canine companions’ basic obedience. A dog trainer also provides specialized training for service dogs, such as search and rescue, hunting, law enforcement and many other specialized fields.
Another critical component of dog training involves working with dogs that have unique training problems such as aggression, hyperactivity, trauma, separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructive behaviors, biting, and many other psychological problems.
This is why a dog trainer needs to get specialized training in order to be able to handle all these complicated situations.
As a dog trainer, you will have the opportunity to work with individual dogs and their handlers or conduct classes where you walk dog handlers through the steps to becoming effective in handling and training their dogs.
That is why I want to show you how to become a dog trainer. So that you can follow your passion and even turn it into a profitable profession.
So let’s get to it a look at the 3 steps to becoming a dog trainer, and a good one at that.
How to Become a Dog Trainer in 3 Easy Steps
One thing you need to know right off the bat is that becoming a dog trainer needs more than just passion. It takes high levels of commitment, dedication, and patience.
So if you think you have these qualities, let’s get you turned into a brilliant dog trainer.
1. It’s all in the Mind
Yes, becoming a great dog trainer is all in the mind – yours and the dogs you will train.
And no, I’m not talking about willpower, although that helps.
The first part in becoming a good dog trainer starts by educating yourself to understand the psychology of dogs.
Understanding why dogs behave the way they do is crucial in helping you harness their intelligence and channel it in a powerful and positive way. That is why the best dog trainers understand that different dog breeds excel at certain tasks than others due to their general psychological strengths.
But becoming a dog trainer is not all about understanding the psychology of dogs. It’s also about understanding the psychology of the people who handle them as well.
Just like some dogs can be difficult, the same goes for some dog handlers as well.
By understanding basic human behavior, you are better equipped to work with different kinds of handlers and thereby effectively help their dogs become the best they can be.
Don’t be intimidated by this need to learn animal and human behavior, it’s easier than it sounds.
Actually, if you’ve ever kept a dog, you’re probably halfway through with this part as your dog has already taught you a lot about general dog behavior.
Digging deeper by reading books and getting a few courses will enhance your ability to read and understand animal behavior and the why behind that behavior.
Another great way to learn animal behavior is to volunteer to help a professional dog trainer as they go about their duties.
This will give you first-hand knowledge of the industry and insight from a professional for the reasons behind some common practices in dog training.
2. Get Certification
If you are serious about learning how to be a dog trainer and using that knowledge professionally, you have to look for opportunities to become certified.
Certification shows potential clients and employers that you are serious about dog training and that you have what it takes.
There are a few ways of going around this.
The first way is to enroll in a 4-year college or university program that majors in animal behavior. This route is the most intensive and will give you a very thorough foundation and is the easiest way to be recognized as a professional who has invested time and money into their profession.
The only downside is that it does take time and money.
If time and money are an issue, there are alternative ways of getting certification.
One of those ways is to enroll in a trade school. You will need to know, however, that if you want to take your dog training as a professional career, trade schools are not accredited in the same way as colleges so you will have to do some thorough research before you settle on one.
Another avenue that will get you certified if you can prove your dog training competence is to contact organizations like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). You will have to prove your experience as a dog trainer, be willing to pay about $400.00 for certification.
After you receive your certification, you will have to commit to participating in continuing education. This means that you’ll need to take certain classes and seminars each year.
One thing you will have to keep in mind is that, as with all professions that are hands-on, an apprenticeship is an important process of the journey to being qualified and certified for the profession.
Make sure that whichever route you take to get certified, you find an apprenticeship where you will have the opportunity, not only to work with different dogs and handlers but to ask questions and get proper direction as well.
3. Choose Your Dog Training Path
Once you get your certification and gain a better understanding of the opportunities available to you. It will be time to decide what kind of a dog trainer you want to be.
Especially if you want to use your training professionally, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.
Questions such as:
- Would you rather work with dog owners who want to have a more obedient canine companion? Then perhaps you can consider getting a job with a business that focuses on that type of obedience training or even launch out on your own.
- If, however, you are more interested in a more specialized training career, then consider if you are willing to move to the cities where such opportunities are available. For example, service dogs are only trained in certain cities. If you are not in or near that city, are you willing to relocate?
Becoming a certified dog trainer opens up a whole new world for you. The opportunities it presents are so many and so fulfilling the time, effort, and finances you invest in getting certified.
How to Become a Dog Trainer – Turning Passion into Profession
So you see friend, the question of how to become a dog trainer is not as simple as it looks taken at face value. It is more complex than that and requires that you consider not only how to become a dog trainer but why you want to become a dog trainer and where you want to practice your passion and profession.
So what are you waiting for?
There’s no better time than now to start walking the path to becoming a dog trainer. And with your passion, you definitely will make a good one.
So go ahead. Turn your passion into your profession!