How To Become A Dog Trainer
Career Video: Dog Trainer
Some people have an unusual ability to “speak to animals.” Many people love working with animals and truly can communicate with them. As a dog trainer, you will work with people to teach them how they can communicate with their animals better. This position is often made possible through apprenticing with other dog trainers and certification. If you love dogs, you may be great as a dog trainer.
Why Become A Dog Trainer
Television shows such as Dog Whisperer have introduced many people to the unique and interesting field of dog training. There are people in this world who have a true ability to communicate with animals. At the same time, there are many people who own dogs, but are having difficulty making their dogs obey their commands. These dogs may take on bad habits like barking, separation anxiety, destroying objects in the home, and other poor behaviors.
A dog trainer helps pet owners learn the techniques necessary to introduce proper behaviors in their dogs. Trainers establish proper behavior modification techniques, teaching pet owners what they were doing wrong previously, and how they can correct their habits in order to get dogs to understand what they want them to do. Much of dog training is rooted in animal behavior science. Although the title is a dog trainer, these professionals mainly work with the humans, not the dogs, on setting the correct behaviors.
This is a good position for somebody who loves dogs as well as people, who is able to intuitively know what a dog wants, a person who is passionate about the science behind animal behavior, and is able to communicate honestly and effectively with people to help them reach their goals.
Dog Trainers must possess the following qualities and skills:
- Loves Dogs
- Loves People
- Good Teacher
- Active Listening
- Problem Solver
- Great Communicator
- Enjoys Science
Dog Trainer Work Environment
A dog trainer works may work in a variety of different environments, such as a customer’s home, a kennel, an animal shelter, or a dog training class. Trainers may travel to the homes of different customers, training animals as needed. Sometimes dog trainers may hold group obedience classes, where there will be several owners and their pets receiving training. At other times there will be individualized sessions, with one dog and their owners coming in for training.
Dog Trainer Salary
The median annual salary for dog trainers was $26,610 in 2015, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are many factors that can affect salary. Some people may train dogs for a well-known company or pet store, or they may work for a local animal shelter. Other people may choose to open their own business. The number of years of experience a person has can also increase their pay.
Dog Trainer Career Outlook
Positions for dog trainers are expected to increase by 11 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is faster than average growth compared to other positions in the United States.
As more people are owning animals, so too are they becoming interested in how to appropriately care for their animals. People are seeking out groomers, kennels, animal boutique shops, and other comforts to make their animals happy. People have a vested interest in making their animals happy. The industry for animal service workers will grow as people continue to care about their pets.
Dog Trainer Degree
Dog trainers have years of experience and knowledge. Read more below to understand how you can become a dog trainer.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. A two or four year degree can prepare you with a better understanding in animal science. There are many programs available, such as biology, animal science, animal behavior studies, wildlife biology, veterinary, animal nutrition and medicine, and more. Find a program that best suits your needs. This will give you a great foundation into how the animal brain works. You will take great classes in science, math, and more.
Step 2: Volunteer. There are many places that are looking for volunteers. Volunteer at a local dog shelter or kennel. This will help you increase your intuition and communication skills with dogs. You will learn firsthand how to handle dogs and what their needs are from being around them.
Step 3: Visit dog trainers. Locate dog trainers in your area and watch their classes. This is a great way to witness how professional dog trainers communicate with both owners and pets. You can learn useful techniques that you can apply yourself.
Step 4: Apply for an apprenticeship. Look for a dog trainer who will take you on as an apprentice. As an apprentice, you will be able to learn the ways of being a dog trainer, gaining insightful information into the field. This is also a great way to make friendships and gain connections that could lead to a job opportunity. After your apprenticeship, you may apply for a position as a dog trainer.
Step 5: Get certified. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers both offer certifications for dog trainers. These are a great way to show off your credentials in the field.