Were you wondering how to become a dog trainer?
It is typical for dog lovers who are looking for a career shift to consider being a dog trainer as a good choice. Being a dog trainer could be a wonderfully gratifying job. During your shift, you are surrounded by adorable dogs, and you get to help other people, and their canine buddies live together harmoniously and happily.
However, people usually seek a dog trainer’s help only when they’ve got a behavioral problem on their hands. This could mean working with aggressive and reactive dogs or those who suffer from separation anxiety, among other problems.
It could be stressful and tough trying to help pet owners work through those issues, and blissful endings could never be guaranteed. Hence, if you want to Become a Dog Trainer but your only qualifications and background experience are owning or training your own dog, know that you have work to do—a lot of work, that is.
Train Your Own Dog
Nevertheless, the initial step in your journey to become a dog trainer should be training your own pet dog. If you do not own a dog, look for one you could spend lots of time with so you could establish a regular training sequence.
Do not just teach the basics, such as “down” or “sit.” Train him with advanced skills as well, like staying still with the challenge of distractions and distance. The American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen assessment is a great goal to work towards.
You could also consider doing a canine sport with your dog so you could actually dig into the practical aspects of Become a Dog Trainer, namely the rate of reinforcement, timing, and reward placement. Lastly, aim to rectify any problematic behaviors as you see them.
Nevertheless, your pup does not have to be really perfect. However, your prospective future clients would need your help with all sorts of dog behaviors, so you would need hands-on training experience with whatever kind of dog you could be required to train.
Those experiences would improve your abilities and skills in dog training. Keep in mind that training is a mechanical ability, so before you show it to students, you have to acquire a high level of efficiency and proficiency by practicing your skills on your own pet dog, to Become a Dog Trainer.
Practicing With Other Dogs
Teaching your own dog is helpful but keep in mind that your dog adores you and would forgive your mistakes. Mishandling treats or accidentally giving a reward to the wrong behavior will not bother your canine pal. On the other hand, your potential clients may not be as patient.
An effective dog trainer also knows a lot more than a single method to deal with a dog’s behavioral issues. For instance, the attract-and-reward approach could have quickly helped your pet dog learn how to sit on command, but another dog might need a totally different method.
One of the best ways to hone your skills and practice other methods is by dealing with dogs who are not your own. You could ask family and friends if you could train their dogs. Alternatively, you could reach out to rescue organizations or local shelters about training their rescued dogs. A better approach is to apprentice with an established dog trainer.
It would not only offer you access to other different dogs, but you would likewise have someone supervising your techniques and managing your development. Reach out to dog trainers in your area to check if anybody is able to take you on as their assistant or apprentice.
Teach People to Teach Their Dogs
A trick about being a dog trainer is that a lot of dog trainers don’t actually train dogs. Instead, they train people. Your primary job as a dog trainer would be to teach your prospective clients how to do the dog training for their dogs. Suffice it to say, dog trainers also need people skills. Although if you would rather handle pets than people, you still need the skills to motivate your potential clients, hone their skills, and help them with their successes.
Hence, regardless of how many pups you have trained, you just have a part of the required package until you have actually worked with human clients. As we have mentioned before, you could work with family and friends and teach them how to train their dogs. Moreover, you could apply as an assistant to a professional dog trainer and acquire experience (and network) with their clients.
In reality, there are many myths surrounding dogs and their motivations, but contemporary dog training is grounded on the science of animal learning and behavior. Thus, a significant part of being a dog trainer is exerting effort in educating yourself well in those areas. For instance, it is vital to know and understand operant conditioning concepts or how positive reinforcement works.
You will not be able to solve your clients’ problems or adapt your techniques to a particular scenario if you could not grasp the principles and ideologies behind your methods and approaches.
There are a lot of excellent resources regarding dog training that could help you understand dog behavior and guide you in crafting your own method in dealing with dogs. For instance, training institutions, like the Karen Pryor Academy, provide a range of dog training webinars and courses, both online and in-person.
Nevertheless, take note to verify the companies’ credentials offering the courses to ensure that their teachings are legitimate and scientifically sound.
Becoming A Certified Dog Trainer
Now that you have actually worked with people and dogs and taken the necessary courses, you are ready to become a dog trainer. The first step is to join an organization like the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Being a member of organizations like this would show your prospective clients that you’re serious and determined to pursue your new career.
Your membership would also give you access to courses and data that would keep you updated on the latest dog training technologies and advancements.
Lastly, don’t you ever stop learning! The dog training industry is ever-evolving, so it is vital to stay on top of the latest advancements and techniques to make sure that you are successful in becoming the best dog trainer you could possibly be.