Becoming A Dog Trainer?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by Dlilly, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Dlilly Honored Member

    Are there any dog trainers on here who can tell me how you got started in becoming a dog trainer? When did you start training other people's dogs, and where? (Like at a pet store, or at a training center)

    My friend and I are both want to buy some land and start an Equine/Canine training center. She will train horses, and I will train dogs. She is a great horse trainer, and she already has a few clients!

    I haven't started my business yet because I want more experience, and I don't want to train other people and their dogs before I'm a professional. (Which will take years probably. :p)

    I am the volunteer dog trainer for my local Beagle rescue, so I am learning a ton from training my foster dogs.

    There are dog trainer schools I could go to, but I think I will learn more from just working with different dogs. I'm not opposed to the idea of going to a training school, but most of them look like they aren't really teaching you anything major.

    I looked online to see if there were any websites with some different ideas on how to become a dog trainer, but they are all the same and they aren't really that helpful to me.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

  2. fickla Experienced Member

    Here is the standard advice I give out to to people wanting to become a dog trainer:

    1. Train your own dogs and prove your training skills by getting obedience titles and/or other sport titles. Titles can show that you not only know how to teach skills but that you can successfully move past the learning phase to the testing phase where the dogs can perform without rewards or punishments present. If you don't have your own dog, borrow a friends dog to train!

    Being comfortable shaping a variety of tricks and behaviors is also important to show that you can problem solve and figure out a way to teach a dog any physically possible trick.

    2. Train other peoples dogs. Borrow neighbor's dogs, go to the humane society to volunteer to train adoptees. Work with a wide variety of breeds to make sure you just as comfortable training a high drive border collie as a gentle and lazy newfoundland or a sniffy hound. Learn that while one method might work for one dog you might need an entirely different approach with another.

    3. Find someone knowledgeable to study under in any dog sport discipline. Read every book you can on dog training and behavior. Familiarize yourself with all different styles of dog training even if you disagree with the methods used. You can still learn from very traditional trainers even if you decide that your are more comfortable with clicker training or vice versa.

    Be weary of colleges that promise to turn you into a super dog trainer in X number of weeks. While dog training is based on scientific principles, it is more of an art than a science. It can take years to turn your book knowledge into good training actions. Most places looking to hire a dog trainer will put little emphasis on what formal training you have received and prefer to look at hands on experience and in how you actually train dogs and work with people.

    4. Pursue a job as an assistant or trainer, teaching classes to the general public. Learn that dog training is really more about people training!
  3. Dlilly Honored Member

    Thank you! That's exactly what I needed to know. :)
  4. bekah1001 Honored Member

    I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do in life! Awesome information
  5. Dlilly Honored Member

    I just decided I wanted to become a dog trainer. I wanted to work with animals, but I had no interest in becoming a vet or a groomer. I didn't think I would be a good dog trainer, but I've recently noticed that I'm not that bad!

    My friend just went to vet camp today. It is at a university, and he gets to stay in a dorm! :O If you want to work with animals, you should look for something like that in your area. It really sounds like fun.

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