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Today, not your DOG but YOU will be in the spotlight!
Has it ever occurred to you that you want to be a dog trainer? Have you ever wondered how good you are at training pets and about the salary as a dog trainer? Many people raise dogs, but not everyone knows how to make their dog behave properly, which is the reason why we need dog trainers sometimes to help us adjust the way our dog does things.
Working as a dog trainer, besides all the happy moments with our canine friends, we have to meet specific requirements and overcome many challenges in order to make a successful career. No certificates are compulsory, but it does not mean it is an easy job. Instead, it can be quite risky and dangerous, especially for trainers that deal with ill dogs or too aggressive ones.
A career in dog training has so many meaningful values, including a good salary and opportunities to make friends with dogs around the world. In today’s articles, we are going to give you some useful information about this special occupation. We hope that you find the advice you need and continue to support our blog!
Let’s get started. Imagine you are a dog trainer (ignore this if you already are!) or someone seeking a career opportunity in dog training. The journey you are about to go on with Wewpet is gripping enough that it’ll keep you focused and excited looking for the pieces of information you want.
What do dog trainers do exactly?
Table of Contents
- What do dog trainers do exactly?
- How much do dog trainers make?
- What are the skills a dog trainer should possess?
- What you should do to become a dog trainer
Well well. The general picture of the tasks dog trainers have to fulfill may appear in your head already, but some of you may feel the job duties are a little bit vague and need specifying. That’s why we created our website! To give you everything you want to know more about.
It is no hard job to say that being a dog owner means that you have to teach dogs how to behave well. But did you know, besides the lessons involved in controlling a dog’s actions, a professional dog trainer can also be responsible for a dog’s medical condition and mental health, keeping a record of how well the dog is doing with his health and any need for further treatment? Some strange behavioral patterns do not present themselves transparently at the beginning, hence the need for professional guidance from a dog trainer.
Moreover, we use the term “dog trainer” because the people working in this field are definitely dealing with dogs, but all the talking doesn’t necessarily happen between the dog trainer and dogs only but can be with the owners as well. In fact, much discussion takes place between dog trainers and dog parents, as many people wish to be able to train their dogs themselves later on after receiving enough help from the professionals.
The teaching forms can vary from direct interaction with dogs to courses at dog training centers. We also have different kinds of dog trainers, covering the following aspects: entertaining, sports, circus/stage performance, hunting, rescue, or help for the disabled (for instance, to help a blind person go around).
The fundamental lesson a dog trainer must be able to offer is to give dog commands. There are 7 basic commands, which are: sit, down, off, stay, no, come, and heel. Only after that should a dog trainer consider addressing other problems such as aggressive behavior, excessive barking or growling, self-biting, meal skipping, etc. Plus, the most common type of dog trainer is the obedience trainer.
- Prepare detailed training plans. Not everything needs a plan, but it is worth noting that a plan is never unnecessary, especially when you are teaching someone or something like a dog! Plans make you feel confident as you have prepared well.
- Business tasks: For people who run a business of their own in dog training, they need to focus on many different things like marketing, bookkeeping, billing, and managing. It takes more time and energy than working as a private dog trainer.
- Work with dog owners: You need to keep them updated on how their dogs are doing, what they should do at home in order to keep the lesson going, and what results they may expect from their puppies after each lesson.
- Keep a record of improvement: You cannot discuss the progress with the dog owner if you are not sure whether their dog is showing a positive reaction. Provided you have several clients and dogs to work with in a month, how can you guarantee that you remember every feature and the progress of each dog? That’s the reason why we advise you to keep a written record of each canine friend.
- Homework: That doesn’t sound very pleasing to some of you, is it? We know many of us hate homework when we are little, but home assignment is crucial as it gives us extra practice. It is also true in the case of dogs.
How much do dog trainers make?
Did you know that dog trainers usually earn more than pet trainers in general? The annual salary of a dog trainer can vary, with an average of $35,000 in the USA. As a dog trainer, you can make from $20,000 to $60,000 a year, depending on your skills, certificates, experience, and the facilities where you are working.
When a dog parent enrolls in a dog training course, they have to pay a rough amount of $50 per hour attending the class, which means if there are 10 people in that class, the dog trainer may receive up to $400.
In Canada, the average salary is $29,000 to $70,000, while the average in England is £25,000.
What are the skills a dog trainer should possess?
Let’s talk about skills. Special knacks are needed for a job like this, which we believe many of you know or conceive something in your mind already. A love for dogs is a prerequisite, alongside with other no less important skills.
This is the number one quality we think a good dog trainer should have when communicating with dogs. It takes days to learn new commands like sit and off, and the process must be carried on daily so that dogs can remember what they are taught. In the case of tricks, 3 weeks is usually the time needed for dogs to master. With no patience, becoming a dog trainer may be too-far-to-reach a goal. Plus, each canine friend has a different learning pace and attitude, so don’t expect they’ll get everything you tell them at the same pace.
Furthermore, some clients are a little bit hard to please. They may ask more than you initially intend to give and communication isn’t always effective.
The art of training dogs involves creativity since you need to find different methods and tools to train different dogs. Some dogs do well with treats, while others prefer toys. You should pay attention to the reactions of the dogs you’re training so that you can come up with innovative training methods.
The inferiority complex, in all occupations, is a hindrance to success. No matter how much knowledge and experience you have gained throughout the years working as a dog trainer, if you always think you’re not good enough, you’ll never feel completely at ease when dealing with difficult clients or dogs. And take notice that no customers can place their trust on a dog trainer that loses confidence in himself, fearing that he could mess things up.
Punishment, though shouldn’t be encouraged, must be applied sometimes (you may think of the proverb “Spare the rod and spoil the child” when you’re about to impose punishment!). By saying this, we did not mean hitting or any kinds of abuse, but simply have the dog stand there without paying attention to him for a while. It is just an example. You can apply other reinforcement methods as well.
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What you should do to become a dog trainer
Gain hands-on experience with your dog
Imagine you have never gone through any difficult situation with any dog. What would you do when you have to work with an aggressive dog and he was giving you a very hard time? Certainly, you wouldn’t know what to do. People say controlling yourself and your dog is a prerequisite for a career in dog training. Don’t wish to train other dogs successfully if you have no experience with your own canine friend.
There are many contests or activities that you can take part in to enhance your first-hand experience and knowledge, like dog sports. Clients also need a guarantee that you are able to deal with their dog in every case, knowing that you have confronted hundreds of situations with your furry friend.
Do research and work with professional dog trainers (if possible)
It sounds very common, isn’t it? A good start is supported by thorough research, whether it is online or through paper materials. You may know a lot about dogs and how to make them behave, but establishing a career in dogs requires so much more. You can consult websites that have gained currency among dog trainers or dog lovers, or pay frequent visits to the nearest bookstore and search for books that can help you in acquiring the fundamental knowledge in dogs and dog training.
In case you cannot find any useful paper materials, we recommend the following books and we hope you’ll like them:
“Don’t shoot the dog” by Karen Pryor
“Listen to Me! Exploring the emotional life of dogs” by Tricia Hollingshead
“Mission Control: How to train the high-drive dog” by Jane Ardern
What about spending time with professional dog trainers and learn directly from the way they train dogs? That’s an excellent idea. Learning from professionals can widen your eyes as you can see how they do the job the things that make them successful in their careers. Just like when we are students, having a teacher who guides us helps us so much as they somehow shorten the learning process. If you cannot get reach of any professional dog trainers, consider joining courses which we will be discussing later.
Frequent feedback on self-progress
Keep a written document on how you are doing with each dog beside the record of the dog’s reaction so that you will know what it is that you missed or failed to do and what it is that you succeeded in. You can ask the clients or any person you trust that will tell you the truth and see if they think highly of your performance or not. Practice, reflection, and correction are the three steps that should be applied in all fields, including dog training.
Enroll in courses and get certificates
We have mentioned this before. Dog training is one of a few working fields that doesn’t require any specific certificates or education. However, try putting yourself in the following situation: between an amateur dog trainer without any certificates and an experienced one with a few credentials. Who would you choose to be the person that works with your furry sidekick? The answer seems to be very clear.
By saying that, we never intended to dismiss the talent and hard work of any amateur dog trainers. The point we’re trying to make here is, holding a certificate in your working field brings you many benefits and also shows that you take time to enhance your skills and knowledge. The potential clients will give that a plus point.
- There are a couple of associations that can grant you with qualified certificates or provide reliable education. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, International Positive Dog Training Association (IPDTA), International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, to name but a few. Visit those websites and you’ll see a significant database full of instructive information on which courses to take and certificates to work for.
- When joining those courses, try to make friends with fellow dog trainers to learn from them and to widen your relationship circle as well.
We really hope that the information we’ve given can be of great help to you. We know that it takes you a lot of time and courage to decide upon being a dog trainer, and it takes sweat and tears to work yourself towards the goal. We wish you the best of luck in your career.
Your success and happiness with your canine friend is our goal.