By Steve Appelbaum, Founder and President of Animal Behavior College
Why would a certified cat trainer want to learn how to train dogs?
Here are some reasons why cat trainers should also consider becoming dog trainers.
First, people become cat trainers because they want to help cats and those who love them live better lives. Most cat trainers are kitty parents and are fascinated by all things feline. However, loving cats and dogs is not an either-or equation.
Lots of people love both. If you are at the core a “cat person” but your desire to help animals, not just cats, is strong, learning to train dogs allows you to help both species. After all, dogs wind up abandoned and in shelters due to untreated but treatable behavioral challenges, just like kitties. Dog parents need advice on how to raise their puppies and address various behavioral issues just as much as cat parents. So, if you want to expand your ability to help people and pets, learning to train dogs is something you should consider seriously.
The second reason is simple; math.
About 85-90 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States and an additional 7.7 million pooches in Canada. So that’s 92.7-97.7 million pet canines in North America which is a considerable number.
There are about 58-61 million cats in the United States and another 8.1 million in Canada. So that’s 66.1-69.1 million pet cats in North America which are also large numbers. Simply put, combining cats and dogs means much greater numbers and thus more opportunities.
Speaking of combining dogs and cats, that’s what huge numbers of pet parents do. They have both dogs and cats in the same household. Statistics vary depending on where you look, but by any calculation, millions of people throughout North America keep cats and dogs. This last part is relevant. As I mentioned in another article, I started as a dog trainer in the 1980s. People paid me to help them train their dogs, but a percentage of them, I would guess maybe 10%, also asked me questions about their cats. Typical questions were; how can I get my cat and dog to get along?
How can I litter box train my cat?
How can I stop my cat from scratching furniture? There is zero reason to assume the reverse won’t occur when cat trainers work with kitty parents who keep dogs. How can I teach my dog not to terrorize the cat?
How can I teach my dog to stop pooping in the house or chewing the furniture? Why not learn to answer these questions, help people even more than you currently do, and make the world a more peaceful and harmonious place for both cats and dogs?
Cat trainers who also become dog trainers tap into opportunities to add dog training business and increase their cat training business. This is due to access to more potential clients and referral sources.
So, for all of the reasons just mentioned, a desire to help more animals, more significant marketing and business opportunities, and because training both species can be interesting and fun, I recommend anyone willing to listen to consider becoming both a cat and dog trainer. Next up, training fish! Kidding. We have an aquatics program, but it’s not about training.