How Can I Become a Dog Trainer?

There is a lot of interest in learning how to become a professional dog trainer, so I field a lot of questions about that. Because there are many facets to this industry and many ways to become educated in the field, I thought I would write a little bit about what I have learned and things that could have assisted me better in my own personal training. There are many ways to become educated in this field.

What are the requirements for a person to be able to say that they are a professional trainer? To tell you the truth, any person is capable of making such a claim. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves trainers but have very little experience. The proof will be in how well he or she manages different dogs with different behavioral issues, as well as how well they are able to recognize and treat problems of this nature.

You can become a member of any one of several reputable dog training organizations currently operating in the world today. These types of organizations can lend a hand in promoting your company, grant permission to use the organization’s initials after your name, provide opportunities to attend seminars, and encourage you to become certified in their respective educational programs.

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as an official “certification” for professional trainers; however, some of these organizations do promote their very own certifications, in which candidates are required to take exams and, once they have successfully completed the exams, they are awarded specific entitlements and initials that can be used after their names. These organizations also provide continuing education courses, which can contribute to your overall education and development. Some of these organizations also provide mentoring programs, through which participants can collaborate with an experienced trainer, ask for advice, and discuss appropriate business practices, as well as questions regarding insurance and liability concerns.

One disadvantage of some of these companies is that you can pay an annual fee to join and then just use the company’s name without having to do anything else. Even though some of these organizations require letters of reference from other training professionals along with videotapes of you teaching classes and handling untrained dogs in addition to being referred to the organization by another established member, this does not prove that you should be considered a professional. In addition, there are specialized schools located in a number of states that provide training in addition to a variety of courses in the canine industry.

There are a lot of questions you need to ask before committing to any of these educational paths, in the event that you decide to pursue any of them.

Some schools have been around for quite some time, but unfortunately, their instructional methods and course offerings are just as dated. Others have very cutting-edge teaching styles, but they only present a single training method to their students. There are a lot of schools out there, and many of them lack resources, have textbooks that are out of date, teach using methods that aren’t up to date, and some of them even have signs that say “train our way or the highway.” We are all aware that dogs are unique individuals; they acquire new information at varying rates of speed, and they mature at varying rates. If you want to be successful in this line of work, you will need to be able to work effectively with the wide variety of dogs and owners that are out there. What works for one person might not always work for another, so it’s important to develop strong people skills if you want to be successful in this field.

If the educational institution provides a variety of classes, you should inquire about the percentage of those classes that are still in session and have produced recent graduates. You will want to make sure that the school can provide the level of instruction that is necessary for the classes that they transport. Be wary of schools that claim to be “state-accredited,” as there are currently no such schools for dog training that have earned this distinction.

One can further their education by enrolling in one of the many online classes that are currently available. It is highly recommended that you look into the many different classes that are offered. However, not all of these courses come from “accredited” universities, which is defined as “recognition or approval of an educational institution by an official agency, association, or ministry of education as maintaining satisfactory standards.” Some of these courses do not come from “accredited” universities. The ability of the institution’s qualifications to be transferred into further study or employment is impacted by the institution’s accreditation. Some of these organizations do, in fact, provide college-level classes that are comprehensive and are taught by professionals with advanced degrees in fields such as psychology, nutrition, behaviorism, ethology, and athletics.

The learning is extremely comprehensive, offering excellent modern and current teaching practices, as well as standards that are significantly higher than those required by the majority of accredited universities. The course work is organized into semesters, and the learning is very comprehensive.

In my opinion, one of the most important things that one can do is gain practical experience working alongside another professional. Reading about something and gaining knowledge from it is one thing, but actually observing behaviors “live” and figuring out how to deal with them is the best way to educate yourself. It is strongly recommended that you seek guidance from someone who is already well-known in the field of professional training. You will have the opportunity to observe the trainer in a variety of settings and will also be taught techniques that are not described in any one book but are frequently applied in the real world. You will be pointed in the direction of a trainer to mentor under depending on the type of training that you are interested in pursuing. The most important thing is to question everything. There is no such thing as a stupid or insignificant question, and your mentor will only admire your eagerness to improve your knowledge.

In addition, there are a great deal of online groups and chat lists available, both for professionals and for individuals who are not professionals. These groups and chat lists provide both professionals and individuals who are not professionals with guidance and best business practices, as well as the opportunity to learn from other professionals who make their living through training. You should also consider joining a dog club or obedience club so that you can participate in meetings and expand your professional network.

By LynnWhittaker
Bow Wow U

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