Americans spent a record $72 billion on their pets in 2018, the last available data point. These expenditures encompass the wide variety of goods and services that pets require, including veterinary checkups, food, and, yes, even dog training. Many dog owners struggle with the latter. Dog training is challenging for the average person to do as it requires patience, time, and effort - all of which tend to be in short supply! For these reasons, it can be a rewarding, lucrative career for those willing to learn how to become a dog trainer.
Are you interested in learning how to become a dog trainer? Great! In this guide, you'll learn what to do to get into this lucrative field.
How To Become A Dog Trainer: First, Train Your Dog
Being a dog trainer requires a significant amount of patience and a rapport with dogs. These attributes take time to learn and develop, and you'll need real-world practice.
The best way to learn these skills is to train your dog. You can start with the basic commands, if you haven't done so already, like "sit." However, when looking at how to become a dog trainer, you should know that most people do not call trainers for these simple commands. Instead, they call them because their dogs are unresponsive to training, they're too busy, or they want their dog to know some more advanced commands.
Therefore, when training your dog, try to teach them some more advanced commands and look for problem behaviors (like refusing training, biting, or unresponsiveness). You should research and correct those since you will likely encounter them on the job.
Try With Other Dogs
If you have friends, relatives, coworkers, and other people in your life with dogs, offer to train them for either a nominal fee or for free. Use what you learned when training your dog to teach other dogs new tricks and techniques.
Every dog is unique. This fact means that every dog also requires a unique training regimen. What worked with your dog may not work with others! Only when you train other dogs will you get to explore the various methods of training. Most dogs work reasonably well with the treat and reward system (positive reinforcement). However, some dogs don't. For those dogs, you might need a clicker or something like that.
When you train other people's dogs, you'll get a sense of what it's like to work with people and how much you like or dislike that aspect of the business. You'll also experience what it's like to set owners' expectations for training and how to deliver on those. Many dog trainers find it challenging but straightforward when it comes to dogs. However, when it comes to people, that can sometimes be more complex to navigate.
Dog Training Certification
People who are serious about how to become a dog trainer often look at certifications. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) body certifies dog trainers as being capable in their field. With various dog training programs and dog training courses, you will learn the theory behind why training methods work.
It is worth noting that no jurisdictions in the United States require trainers to have any form of certification. However, becoming certified has a few distinct advantages over people who don't have those credentials.
First, it gives you a distinct marketing advantage. Since anyone can call themselves a dog trainer by law, having credentials lets people know you're serious and have taken the time and effort to learn about dog training in detail. This extra step will likely result in additional sales and make booking your first clients easier.
Second, you will learn formally about how to become a dog trainer, which will lead to a more significant picture understanding of what the job involves. Many times, self-taught people learn about a few training techniques here and there, but without some form of academic rigor, they don't learn the why behind the methods. When people are unsure of the reasons behind the training methods, it is difficult to make corrections in dogs when something goes wrong.
Register And Start Your Business
Once you feel like you have enough training and experience, the last step for how to become a dog trainer is to launch your business! Most people elect to operate as a sole proprietor for simplicity. However, if you want additional liability protection without much paperwork, you may wish to consider starting an LLC. With an LLC, you receive the full liability coverage of a corporation without many of the formalities required when you own a C or S corporation.
How To Become A Dog Trainer: You Can Become One!
With a little bit of patience and intelligence, you can become a dog trainer as well! Practice with your dog and find some others to train so you can gain some additional insight into how to teach multiple breeds of dogs and learn different training methods.
Once you have some experience and know this career path is the one for you, the next step is to get formal qualifications. Then, you're ready to start your business as a sole proprietor or an LLC!
Training dogs is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling career. With these steps, you'll move closer to making your dream a reality!