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Want to Become a Certified Dog Trainer? The Easiest Way to Get Started!

Do you love dogs? Are you tired of your old and boring desk job and looking for something exciting to do with your time? If your response to both questions was a big “YES,” then you should consider becoming a dog trainer. Have any idea about how to become a dog trainer? Dog trainer jobs sound like pretty good job. You are surrounded by amazing good boys and girls, and it does sound like heaven. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, either.

It also involves working with hyperactive dogs, as well as those suffering from loneliness or other concerns. This could easily become a very stressful job. So, do weigh the pros and cons and then make your decision. If you have made up your mind, then let us see how to become a dog trainer.

Requirements to Become a Dog Trainer

There are no official requirements or certifications for becoming a dog trainer. Most dog trainers still get some form of certification before getting started. Certification will help you become a legitimate dog trainer in the eyes of your customers, which will further your career as a dog trainer. However, before applying for certification, there are some things you can do on your own.

#1 Start by Training your Own Dog

By training, we do not just mean basic commands like sit or handshake, but also advanced skills. One of the most useful advanced skills to teach your dog is “stay” when there is some form of distraction or disturbance.  Consider participating in dog sports with your dog as well. It will give you a better understanding of the technical components of training, such as timing, rate of reinforcement, and reward placement. Dog sport with your dog will help you figure out the problematic behavior of your dog and then you can work towards solving it and give your dog obedience training.

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The purpose of this exercise is not to make a perfect specimen out of your dog. However, your future clients will require assistance with all kinds of behavior and problems. As a result, training your own dog will provide you with the practical expertise that you will need to face every problem that might appear. As training is a mechanical skill, all this experience will help you become a good dog behaviorist.

#2 Train with Other Dogs

Training with your dog is one thing, and working with a client is a completely different thing. Additionally, you should be aware of more than one technique for training a dog. Each dog is distinct, with its own personality and quirks. Accordingly, their training requirements are also going to be different. Training with different dogs, other than your own, is an excellent way to polish your skills and learn new techniques.

You could ask your friends and relatives whether you could train their pets. Or better yet, get some more professional dog training experience. Entry-level trainer roles, working with shelter/rescue dogs, apprenticeships, and aiding seasoned trainers with dog training programs are all excellent options.

#3 Learn the Secret

When you start working with experienced dog trainers, you will quickly realize that most of them don’t actually train dogs. They train individuals. Your primary responsibility as a trainer will be to educate your customers on how to train their dogs by themselves. That implies dog trainers must be people-oriented. Even if you prefer working with animals to working with people, you must be able to drive your customers, develop their talents, and reinforce their triumphs.

#4 Dog Training Courses

There are no particular dog trainer education requirements to make your dog socialize. The dog training is based on the science of animal behavior. But if you are not science-oriented, then that is still OK. In general, people working as dog trainers are generally “self-educated,” according to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. This indicates that they’ve conducted extensive research on behavior adjustment and canine psychology, attended seminars, dog training courses, and meetings, and maybe collaborate with other trainers.

The disadvantage of this method is that if you’re new to dog training, there may be subtle strategies, body language, and indications that a new trainer may not be aware of if they’re learning on their own. If you’re self-taught, it’s preferable to locate competent trainers to practice with. It’s also a good idea to attend a lot of workshops and seminars where you can practise your talents with the help of others.

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If a dog training apprenticeship is not your cup of tea then a dog trainer school can be an excellent alternative. Dog trainer schools provide a more formal sort of education with more structure and a supervised curriculum. For individuals interested in becoming a dog trainer, there are several dog trainer schools to choose from. For example, the Animal Behavior College and Karen Pryor Academy provide a variety of qualifications for people interested in working in the pet market.

How To Become a Dog Trainer?

Once you have educated yourself, trained your dog, done some apprenticeship, or maybe joined a formal dog training schools, it is time to get yourself a certificate and kick start your career as a certified dog trainer.

  • The first step is to join a professional organisation like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers or the International Association for canine professionals. 
  • This is where you start looking into certification. Although dog training certification is not necessary for calling yourself a professional dog trainer, it provides you with credibility and helps you garner the trust of your customers.
  • Multiple organisations provide you with credible certificates and prove that you are a capable and hardworking dog trainer. Some of the organisations are-
    • The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers 
    • International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants
    • Association of Animal Behaviour Professionals
    • Certified Behaviour Adjustment Training Instructor
    • International Association of Canine Professionals
    • The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors
  • However, these certifications are not easy to get. You have to undergo 300+ hours of dog training and clear multiple MCQ-based CPDT tests. Accreditation guarantees that your prospective customers have faith in your talents and are comfortable choosing you over other dog trainers because of the high standards.
  • The last step is getting clients. Networking is the most effective way to do this. According to Bark Magazine, it is a fantastic idea to get out there and meet other dog trainers. Seminars and conferences are also excellent tools for getting your career or business off to a good start.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a professional dog trainer is challenging as well as rewarding. If you are passionate about dogs and training them is something that professionally interests you, don’t hesitate and take the first step. Read a book, join dog training classes, talk to an expert, or watch a YouTube video and begin on this amazing journey. And whatever you do, always remember to never stop learning.