If you enjoy working with animals in general and canines in particular, becoming a dog trainer is an attractive career option. However, becoming a dog trainer requires much more than just a knack for working with canines. There’s much you can do to prepare yourself for this rewarding career.
First, learn all you can about the profession. Read books, watch videos and explore online information, starting with tips on dog training for pet owners. Observe dog training in action at a local training center or pet store. Contact local dog trainers to see if they would let you watch them on the job.
As with all careers, becoming a dog trainer requires networking. Explore professional organizations such as The National Association of Canine Professionals and The Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Such organizations can help you connect with other dog trainers. They can also keep you current with trends in dog training and provide information regarding legal or other professional issues.
Getting trained yourself may help you advance in your career as a dog trainer. There are a variety of options for training and certification. Choose a program that is nationally recognized in the profession. The professional organizations mentioned above can help you determine if the classes or certification you are considering are legitimate.
Working with an experienced professional can help you meet your goal of becoming a dog trainer. You may even choose to volunteer some of your time to gain experience working alongside a knowledgeable dog trainer. Other experience working with dogs is also valuable. Volunteer or work at a rescue or shelter, a pet store, a kennel, a veterinarian’s office, or a dog walking service.
As you work towards becoming a dog trainer, think about where you’d like to work and what kind of specialization you want to have. Will you help pet owners by providing basic obedience training or become a dog handler for a K-9 unit? Maybe you’d like to work with canines who are being trained as assistance dogs, preparing them to provide support and companionship to people with physical challenges.
Another question is whether your ultimate goal is to be in business for yourself or to work for someone else. If you hope to work independently, you’ll need to learn about more than just becoming a dog trainer. You’ll need to understand business laws and regulations and develop marketing strategies to grow your dog training service.
Although it is canines you will be training, people will provide your paychecks. Becoming a dog trainer requires interpersonal skills. Whether you are working for an employer or on your own, you’ll need customer service skills and a grip on human as well as canine nature to be successful.
Becoming a dog trainer can be a rewarding goal for someone who enjoys working with canines. By doing research, networking, joining professional associations, gaining experience, keeping up with trends in the profession and honing your skills working with people as well as with animals, you can build a successful career as a dog trainer.