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So You Want A Career In Dog Training - Family - Pets

So You Want A Career In Dog Training   by James Lee

in Family / Pets    (submitted 2006-10-25)

If you have an affinity for dogs and are able to work with people with dogs, a career in dog training can be a delightful, rewarding and tremendously enjoyable profession for you.

To begin a career in dog training however requires general skills such as good communications and social relations as most part of your time will be spent teaching the owner how to train his/her dogs.

The key to a successful career in dog training is to be "competent." If your dog training experience and skills, like millions of other dog owners, are picked up from books, then you might be ineffective in preparation, correcting and solving certain dog behavior problems. This might result in your clients complaining and been unsatisfied with your service which might ruin your reputation within the neighborhood where you base your dog training business.

However, if you are passionately committed to make handling dogs a career, then you will need to be a capable, knowledgeable and proficient dog trainer who understands different canine behavior and how to train to breed with the right techniques.

A career in dog training can begin in two ways:


Professional dog training schools are a good way to begin with as they offer step-by-step set of courses planned to coach the students in the shortest amount of time the skills needed to become a professional dog trainer.

Check with your local pet stores or veterinary hospitals for reference and recommendations. (This is important if you want to find a good training school as there are many complaints of rough handling, abusive and physical corrections being use in certain schools despite promotional claims of positive and humane training methods.)

The fees usually can start from $3,000 up to $18,000 for a credible training program.


However, if you want something inexpensive, you can start out as an apprentice by volunteering with your local dog shelters, rescue groups or guide dogs training centers.

Your course and experience will be dictated by the center where you volunteered. Your apprenticeship training will also be subjected to the variety of dogs coming in. In others, you might be given a dog to train and guide till it finally pass out as a certified guide or service dog.

The only big drawback for apprenticeship programs is that you must be prepared to work long hours, performing routine or physical tasks before you will get an opportunity to work with dogs.

If this kind of program fits you, be ready to spend a minimum average of 3 years with the center before you will qualify as a professional dog trainer or instructor.

A Word of Advice:

Avoid mail or internet training courses that claim that you can become a skilled dog trainer.

While inexpensive, you will never be an effective or credible dog trainer. These correspondence courses at most can only offer you the basic information on a career in dog training and elementary levels of dog trainer skills. Imagine who would be there to supervise or correct you when you make a mistake. You might actually pass on the mistakes to your clients when you start to train dogs professionally.


There are many dog training programs however you will learn the usual subjects cover solving basic dog behavioral problems and obedience training.

Aside from the basics, to become a qualified and professional trainer, you will also need to know:

* the history and background of every dog breed,

* how to communicate effectively with different breeds,

* how to treat more complex behavioral problems such as phobias and aggression,

* elementary to advanced dog tricks and commands,

* how to prepare and train dogs for different competitions, as well as,

* proper dog hygiene, nutrition and grooming so that you can guide and present training advice to your clients to bring up healthy, well groomed and well behaved dogs.


You can begin your career in dog training handling dogs full or part time. An average working week is about 30 - 35 hours and that includes evenings, weekends and holidays. As a start, you can look forward to earn $50 per lesson and gradually to $200 per session as you gain more experienced. Full time dog trainers can earn between $30,000 to $100,000 annually.

To succeed financially as a dog trainer, you will need to start establishing a client base who will recommend your service to their friends. Most of the successful dog trainers build on their business from referrals of satisfied customers. Start by visiting your local vets, groomers, pet sitters and pet stores by asking them to refer clients to you.

Therefore, if you genuinely love dogs and cherish helping people in general, then having a enriching and fulfilling career in dog training might just be a great profession choice for you in life.