HOW TO BECOME A DOG TRAINER
Are you passionate about dogs, working with dogs, and training them for their humans? Whilst being a great dog lover is important, being a dog trainer involves a lot of study and practice if you want to pursue it as a career. You would have to sign up for dog care certifications, online dog trainer courses, animal welfare courses, and more. If you’re interested in helping people live, connect and work with dogs every day, let us help you make the journey easier.
What does it mean to be a dog trainer?
Being a dog trainer isn’t just about playing with dogs – you’re the one people will go to when their dogs misbehave or need special training. Dog trainers teach dogs to perform actions and respond to their owners’ commands, and help address behaviours such as aggression, separation anxiety, fear, hyperactivity, destructive expressions, and more. They conduct obedience training, as well as specialised training for professional activities such as therapy, law enforcement, entertainment, and farm work.
Dog trainers aren’t just good with four-legged friends, they have to be good with people too as teaching people how to be good with their pets is also part of the job description. You’d have to understand their concerns, fears, motivations, commitment levels, and work around those to create a mutually beneficial relationship between dogs and humans.
Is there are differences between training dogs and other domesticated animals?
Dogs are some of the smartest domesticated animals alive, and because of they have evolved to be pack animals who follow an alpha or a master, they are willing to obey a leader figure. Cats, on the other hand, are very independent, and are not always interested to follow their owner’s commands. Dogs can be trained in groups, whilst cats can be trained individually in shorter sessions. Both dogs and cats, and other domesticated animals such as birds, pigs, and even fish respond well to treats as reward for good behaviour.
How to become a dog trainer
- Train your dog
The first step to your career in becoming a dog trainer is establishing a relationship with your dog. If you don’t have your own, offer to walk or sit a friend or neighbor’s dogs. Feed them, play with them, bathe them, establish a routine and gain their trust. Teach them the basics such as sit, stay, and later teach them more advanced ones wherein they have to wait and practice patience. You can also teach them tricks that involve play like catching frisbees, balls, and sticks. Training can be quite mechanical, but it is important to reinforce good habits and good behaviour.
- Volunteer at a dog shelter
Training dogs you know is a good foundation, but you have to test your mettle by training dogs you don’t know, and you can do this by training ones in your local dog shelters. This way, you’ll have access to a whole host of dogs of different breeds. You can correct any improper behaviour and increase their chances for their adoption.
If you are able to work with a professional dog trainer, this would be a great chance to get an in-depth experience working with dogs. They would be able to check your techniques, and help you develop into an effective and successful dog trainer.
- Work with dog owners
As mentioned earlier, being a good trainer isn’t just about working with dogs. They’re the ones who would have to live and work with these dogs every day. You have to teach them the right commands to motivate their dogs to perform and behave properly. You have to have people skills as well to be able to connect them the same way you connect with their pets. Understand that they might feel frustrated throughout the process, but you must assure that they and their dogs are equally working hard to meet each other’s expectations.
- Enroll in an online dog trainer course
Of course, this goes without saying that you should consume any and all online resources you can. This can be the foundation of your career as a dog trainer, and can complement your on-the-ground experiences with dogs you train and experts you work with. Make sure to sign up for online dog trainer courses and animal welfare courses that provide dog care certifications, to round out your training experience.
One step closer to becoming a dog trainer
Your passion and interest for dogs are admirable, and it would be great to complement them with further learning on what it takes to be a good dog trainer. Free to browse our roster of online courses and programs to begin your journey to becoming the best dog trainer you can be.