How To Become a Dog Trainer In 4 Steps!

Do you love dogs and want to know how to become a dog trainer so you can work with dogs all the time? Perhaps you have one or more of your own and love them to pieces, and you love the idea of actually making a living from spending time with dogs. There are many dog lovers out there who have thought about becoming a dog trainer. What could be better than spending time with creatures you feel you have an affinity with, and also making a living out of it? There are no formal qualifications or training you need to set yourself up as a dog trainer. However, that does not mean you can start marketing yourself as a dog trainer tomorrow. Shelters or training schools are likely to ask for what relevant experience you have, and saying you have a dog at home is not likely to cut mustard.

However, don’t be put off. So long as you are willing to put some work in (and if you love dogs as much as you think you do, it will not feel like work), then you could have a very convincing resume in 4 easy steps. Read on….

The Guide on How To Become a Dog Trainer

Below we list out 4 possible steps on how to become a dog trainer:

1 – Read as many books as possible on the subject

dog bookThe first and easiest step is to read books on how to become a dog trainer. There really is no limit to the number of books you should read and, in reality, you should keep on reading as many books as you can on the subject, even once you have secured a job. The science of animal behavior and psychology is constantly being added to, amended and retracted. Keeping on top of the latest science would be an expectations that many clients out there would expect of you. The Humane Society for aspiring dog trainers recommend the following books; Karen Pryor’s ‘Don’t Shoot The Dog!’, Terry Ryan’s ‘Coaching People To Train Their Dogs’, Nicola Wildes’ ‘So You Want To Be A Dog Trainer’, and Pam Reid’s ‘Excel-erated Learning’. However, this is not an exhaustive list. Search for ‘dog training’ or ‘how to become a dog trainer’ on Amazon and you will find tens of thousands of results. Pick the ones that get 4 stars or more in reviews, and also have plenty of reviews (a 5 star book with only 2 reviews may not actually be all that informative). Now, get reading! And of course if you do not enjoy reading, there are always DVD options and even youtube videos that can teach a lot.

2 – Call local animal shelters and volunteer your time

OK, so you may get on famously with your four-legged friend at home, but this is your dog who knows you are its owner, and loves you unconditionally. However, people who would look for dog trainers are likely to be having some sort of issue with their dog. Perhaps their dog howls all night not allowing them to sleep. Perhaps their dog refuses to sleep in his own bed and want to be in the bedroom. Perhaps their dog is very friendly, but simply won’t learn basic commands such as sit, down or heel. Their dog may even be showing aggressive tendencies, either to other dogs or humans. Clients are unlikely to look for a dog trainer’s help when nothing is wrong. By volunteering at an animal shelter, you will come into contact with many different dogs……….and possibly ones that are not immediately friendly to you. Some of these dogs may have been abandoned, or even mistreated. You will gain first-hand experience of handling dogs who may be fearful, overly clingy, aggressive, or even feral (if they have been rescued after a long time fending for themselves). This is perfect experience on how to become a dog trainer. Yes, there’s no money involved, but you are gaining valuable experience for a future sought-after career.

3 – Find a dog training class in your area

Nothing beats seeing a professional doing the job that you want to do. You can take your dog, or ask to simply sit and watch the trainer. We recommend you do both; having your pet with you is great as you get a chance to see how it feels to be a client, which is valuable information if in the future you would also want to hold your own dog training classes. However, when participating in a class, you may miss certain techniques and teaching styles on how to become a dog trainer as you are engaged with your dog.

4 – Become an apprentice

As there are very few dog training courses out there, the best way to learn how to become a dog trainer is to be on the job. Contact dog trainers in your area and ask if they would take you on as an apprentice and will show you how to become a dog trainer. Again, this likely to be unpaid, but this will give you the opportunity to take the experience you’ve already gained up a notch. Apprentices will generally assist the dog trainer in the classes until the dog trainer feels that you are capable enough to lead a class by yourself whilst under their supervision.

Conclusion – How To Become a Dog Trainer

And there you go – how to become a dog trainer! It’s not difficult, but it will take up some of your time, and it is all likely to be unpaid. If this puts you off, then ask yourself whether you really want to be a dog trainer. Considering that a lot of other careers involve spending money on expensive courses and qualifications, to be a dog trainer, following the above steps should not cost you anything but travel expenses and your time. Once you have followed the above steps, it’s time to find yourself a job. Contact as many animal shelters and training schools as you can in your area to see if they are hiring. Check out online job listings. You could even start advertising online as a personal dog trainer that will go to people’s homes to give their dog private dog training lessons. Get out there and make your dream career a reality!

We hope this guide on how to become a dog trainer has been helpful and given you some insights on how to become a dog trainer. Good luck!