How to Become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer?

Want to become a certified professional dog trainer? A career in dog training can be the most fun, fulfilling and rewarding profession if you have an affinity with dogs.

If the thought of becoming a dog trainer and “playing” outdoors with new furry friends for living intrigue you, ask yourself the following 3 questions to see if you are the right candidate to become a professional dog trainer:

Do You Love Dogs?
Do you love all breeds of dogs regardless of age or temperament? Are you able to work with dogs even if they are behaving badly, stubborn and aggressive? As a dog trainer, you will need to be a kind and patient teacher since most dogs cannot be trained in a couple of minutes. Many hours of dedication and patience will be required to work with the animals to achieve the desired results.

Do You Like Working With People?
Are you respectful and comfortable working with people? A dog trainer job is not just about training dogs. It is also about training people, specifically the dog owners themselves. Therefore, good communications and social relations skills are needed to educate the owner on how to train his/her dogs to handle their animals more effectively.

Do You Have A Lot of Patience?
Are you willing to put in a lot of time, patience and effort to become a successful dog trainer? In your dog training career, you will come across many different types of canine behaviour problems with different breeds of dogs, therefore, you will need to be committed to keeping your dog training knowledge up-to-date by attending seminars, workshops and conferences. By understanding a wide variety of dog behaviour, communication, conditioning, training techniques, you will become a well-qualified, knowledgeable and skilled dog trainer who will be able to train different breeds with the right techniques.

If you answer yes to the above questions, then a professional career in dog training can be a tremendously enriching, satisfying and rewarding career for you.



Cool Facts about Being a Certified Dog Trainer!

Professional dog training is a simple, but rewarding career and the benefits are priceless:
  • It is well known that animals are therapeutic, just being around them lifts your spirits.
  • It is an active career, where you’ll often be outdoors getting fresh air and a decent workout, while you earn money when you become a dog trainer.
  • It is a stepping stone to further career opportunities as dogs are trained and utilized as service animals, drug detection, therapy, search and rescue, even bed bug detection, and detection of cancer. Imagine being part of such worthwhile animal training.
  • It is flexible and simple. There is low overhead, and it requires very little cash to get the business started. Schedule flexibility is all in your hands. You can even bring along your own dog!

Steps To Become a Certified Dog Trainer

First and foremost, you will need training yourself to become a dog trainer. A career in dog training can begin in a number of ways:
  • By volunteering at one of your local rescue centres or animal shelters, you can pick up lots of great hands-on and observational experience. Often dog shelters will also have some form of a training program for their volunteers or you may also be assigned to help one of the trainers. As your experience progresses, you will be given more responsibilities to help out in the training.
  • While expensive and quite a time commitment, attending a professional dog training school or a K9 academy can give you a more formalized and complete education as a canine trainer. To get started, check with your local pet stores or veterinary hospitals for reference and recommendations.
  • You can also contact local breeders and dog trainers in your area and become an apprentice to take lessons from them directly. Alternatively, some guide dogs training centres offer apprenticeship programs for anyone interested in becoming instructors for the school.
  • Another way to start your dog training career is through self-study. Read as many training books as possible and attend lots of seminars, workshops and conferences to learn about dog training and behaviour modification. In addition, you may also want to volunteer to train your friends or neighbour’s dogs to get some hands-on experience and improve your training skills with dogs.

To become a certified dog trainer, you must fulfil all of the requirements of the CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers):

  • You have to prove you have at least 300 hours experience in dog training in the previous five years. 75% must be teaching hours, which can be either classes or private training. The remaining 25% can be in related areas such as assisting with classes, working as a vet tech or working in a pet shelter. You should keep a record of this information, including names and contact numbers, in a safe place.
  • You must have your high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • You must have 3 references, and they must be one from each of these people: a client, a colleague, and a veterinarian.
  • You must file a completed application to take the certification exam, and schedule the test, which is only given twice a year, in spring and fall.
  • Take and pass the test. You can find the dates here.
  • File a completed and signed CCPDT Code of Ethics and pay $385 in fees.


Income Potential of a Dog Trainer

While there are many factors that figure into the dog trainer salary, what you earn is largely up to you and how much effort you put into your vocation. Some dog trainers work for pet stores and starting rates for those positions are typically in the $10 to $14 dollar per hour range.

Forming your own small business can be advantageous in terms of both earnings and taxes. You are free to set your rates and can schedule as many or as few classes or private sessions as you’d like. Certainly, those dog trainers who live in a large metropolitan area have an advantage in the sheer numbers of potential clients, but there are trainers who make upwards of $100,000, and probably more who are in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Certainly, the “dog whisperer” on TV, Cesar Millan, is paid in the millions.


The Professional Guide To Becoming A Dog Trainer



If you are interested and would like to find out more about a career in dog training, check out the Dog Trainer Handbook — a premier pet dog trainer education guide and among the best resources for learning more about how to become a dog trainer.

This book is a valuable resource for demystifying a career in dog training. There are so many paths, philosophies and methods for getting into this field, and how do new trainers know that they making ethical, responsible choices? This book is fair and balanced at offering many options, all good, for establishing a carefully planned career in the field of dog training.


Tips & Warnings
  1. Before making the leap, decide if you like people, too. Of course, you’ll be working with dogs, but you’ll also be teaching their owners to train their dogs.
  2. Do some research and check out the different options available for training. You may decide that a formal, and quick, the course is preferable to learning as you go.
  3. Volunteer at a pet shelter or vet’s office to gain some experience and find out if you really should become a dog trainer.
  4. You should join one of the large organizations for networking and support, as well as educational opportunities. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the International Association of Canine Professionals are two of the largest.
  5. A dog whisperer is someone who really understands canines and can communicate with them. Though this does not happen overnight, you will learn the cues animals give.
  6. Do not take on cases that you feel are beyond the scope of your abilities. There are trainers who specialize in aggression training, and sometimes it is best to refer to a client.
  7. You will need to learn about managing and running your own business as well as training dogs if you are self-employed.
How to Become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer? How to Become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer? Reviewed by Chai With Sutta on April 27, 2019 Rating: 5
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