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Must Love Dogs: Answering the Call to Becoming a Dog Trainer

You are thinking about becoming a professional dog trainer; delve into the world of becoming a trainer in a few steps.

Step 1: Determine whether or not you are a dog person. This may seem like a glaring prerequisite when considering stepping into a profession that’s sole purpose is to instruct animals, but establishing whether or not you are the person right for the job, hinges on being able to communicate with man’s best friend on a level that even their human parent/s cannot. Understanding whether or not you have a calling to serve pups can be determined in a variety of ways. To start, ask yourself: do you enjoy the company of a canine companion? Have you lived with dogs and are familiar with their behaviors? Do you walk by pups on the street and immediately stop human walkers to interact directly with their canines? Do you feel connected to dogs when they understand you, and/or respond to your direction and affection? Then, yes–you are on the right track.

Chances are, if you have considered becoming a dog trainer, you have asked yourself what training would look like in the long- and short-term. You will want to begin by establishing a strong basis. Currently, there are no nationally accredited schools for dog training, proving that becoming a trainer is less academic and more experiential, or intrinsic. There are, however, certifications, processes, and required hours necessary to gain competency and experience:

Step 2. There is a plethora of information available to burgeoning trainers; whether it is in the form of literature, instructional videos, work-studys, volunteer time, or other trainers who will lend knowledge. Gaining personal experience is essential, even if it is with your own pup to start–and it will set you apart stylistically from other trainers. Working in close vicinity to animals will give you an upper-hand in understanding tendencies. As you begin to observe how your nature impacts your dog’s, you will develop what works best.

Step 3: Becoming a trainer is as much about you as it is dogs. What does training look like for you, your dogs, and career, long-term? When determining how to solidify yourself as a trainer, your primary concern may center around your longevity as a trainer, the monetary aspects (investments and returns), or the satisfaction of clients–human clients–as it should. But working with furry friends is about the rapport you develop with the dogs themselves, and the results which follow. Your clients will put their trust in you, and if you take the right steps in serving their dogs, while adhering to your own approach and efficacy as a trainer, the pay-off will be inevitable. You will be uniquely in a position to work to your own timeline, refine your skill set and knowledge, find what works and what does not, and most importantly: build a relationship with, and for, the world’s most loyal companion–a position few can master. Becoming a trainer is more than a career, it is a calling. Answer!

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