Social Engagement: Medium
What’s What: Can’t get enough of canines? Working as a dog trainer could be fun and gratifying. People love their puppies and they often need a steady hand to help them set limits for their pack.
Amava Take: Are you a member of dog lover nation? Would you be reading this if you weren’t? If you’re a dog whisperer or aspire to be one, there are people all over making money as dog trainers. You can run group classes, do one-on-one work with pups and teach the humans (big and small) how to train their dogs. You can design the business that works for you and be integral to healthy human-canine relationships in your community. Woof!
From the Front Lines:
What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these positions?
People who speak dog and can teach other people to speak it too.
Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?
If you bring your own dog to meet clients, you’ll want to make sure that dog is extremely well-trained! When working with a family, make sure that the kids understand that a dog is not a toy, even if the dog is toy-sized.
What’s a typical daily schedule like?
You can make your own hours.
From the Trenches:
What’s the most satisfying part of the job/experience?
Helping people have great relationships with their new best friends is what I live for.
How would you describe the hard parts?
When a rescue dog has been mistreated and it takes awhile to gain trust it makes me really sad.
What’s your favorite breed and what’s the coolest dog name you’ve ever heard?
I love all dogs, but I really do enjoy training border collies—they’re so smart and it’s so helpful during socialization class when they herd other dogs. Names—gonna go with Zane and Zeppo.
Special Requirements: For starters, it helps if you’re a dog owner. You should also be familiar with American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program because that sets benchmarks for good dog behavior. There’s plenty of information online about how to become a dog trainer.
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Finding a Position: When you’re ready, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers provides information and resources for certification. The Karen Pryor Academy has a well-known dog-training program you may want to look into. You can join the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and they will put you on their list, which may attract customers looking for help in your area. Flyers at dog parks, ads in local social networks and word of mouth will get you far as well.