How to Become a Dog Trainer

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Would you like to become a dog trainer? It's a perfect job for a dog lover and with the push toward more responsible pet and dog ownership, professional dog trainers are in demand more than ever. But how does one actually become a dog trainer? Read on to find out how to attend dog training school and how to get a national dog training certificate.

Things You'll Need

  • A Love of Dogs!
  • Internet Access
  • Funds and Time to Attend a Professional Dog Training School
  • Time and Motivation to Take a National Dog Training Certification Exam
  • Locate several dog training schools in your area and request course offering booklets from each school. A good dog trainer school will offer a comprehensive course of study, covering topics such as the history of dog training, dog behavior, dog psychology, canine body language, dog training course development and basic business skills that will be necessary to run a dog training establishment. Also seek out a school for dog trainers with specialty courses, like service dog training courses, and police K9 dog training.

  • Ask to speak with several dog training school graduates for a references on a dog training school - a quality dog trainer school will be happy to provide references.

  • Select a dog training school based on factors like location, affordability, references and dog trainer course offerings.

  • Enroll and complete the coursework at the selected dog trainer's school.

  • Join an organization such as the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) or the The National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI). These well-known dog training industry organizations can provide helpful information on starting a dog training career. (See links below in the "resources section.)

  • Obtain a national dog trainer certification once you've graduated from your dog trainer's school. The organization that issues a nationally-recognized dog trainer credentials in the U.S. is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). The organization's website (see link below) has information on when and where the exam is available for dog lovers who would like to become a dog trainer.

  • Get a job as a dog trainer. Dog trainers are very much in demand, so anyone wishing to become a dog trainer will likely find a number of available positions in their area. Holding a nationally-recognized credential, like the CPDT credential, will increase your chances of getting hired as a professional dog trainer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Speak to dog trainers in your area and obtain information about their profession to determine if it's the best career for you.
  • Consider getting a job as a receptionist or assistant at a dog training school to gain exposure to the dog training industry. This will provide valuable industry connections, in addition to providing you with a better idea of what the career entails.
  • Consider volunteering at an animal shelter, where you'll have exposure to an array of different animals and behaviors. Volunteering at a shelter can be a wonderful case study in an array of canine behaviors.
  • Check on the availability of dog trainer jobs in your area. You can also call around to see if any dog training schools in your area are hiring. If there's no dog trainer jobs to be had in your area, this is a big factor to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue studies and certification as a dog trainer.

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