If you’re reading this, chances are you have more than just a passing interest in dog training. Being a dog trainer is great in so many ways!
- You can train dogs as a side gig without giving up your full-time job.
- It’s an ideal career for starting your own business.
- You get to work with so many different breeds and dog personalities.
- No two days are ever the same because no two dogs are the same.
- Dog training requires a lot of problem solving, creativity, and care.
- It’s a meaningful career that improves the lives of both dogs and people.
Many Types of Dog Training
There are many different types of dog training. What most people commonly associate with the term “dog training” is obedience training. This is where puppies (ideally) or adult dogs learn the ropes of living peacefully and politely among humans. In obedience training dogs learn the basic cues: sit, stay, come, down, leave it, drop it, etc. Do not let the term “basic” fool you though. There is nothing easy about obedience training because it asks a dog to go against his or her natural instincts.
Many dogs were originally bred to work, however, and some still do. Their training is far more advanced. Dogs like border collies and Australian cattle dogs were bred to herd or guard sheep, cattle, and other livestock. Some dogs hunt, helping sniff out, “tree”, or retrieve game. Smaller breeds, such as Yorkies, originally kept rat populations down in mills and mines. Today the police and military increasingly rely on highly trained dogs to sniff out bombs, detect drugs, and track people, among other things.
There are competitions for working breeds like sheepherders and hunting dogs. Training a dog for such competitions requires a high level of skill for both canines and their trainers. In addition, there are also agility competitions for dogs and special training is required for show dogs competing at the highest levels. Becoming a dog trainer can mean different things to different people.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, service dogs require more specific training. These dogs help people with a variety of challenges to live more independently. There are dogs that assist people with mobility problems and even dogs that provide support for those with psychiatric issues.
Clearly, becoming a dog trainer can mean different things to different people. All of these various types of training require their own set of skills and specialized knowledge, but what they all have in common is the need to understand dogs and their behavior.
Dog Training Is Evolving
As humans come to understand dog behavior better and better, training methods have changed. Gone is the idea that punishment is the way to teach new behavior or even the default response when a dog engages in problematic behaviors. The days of using a rolled-up newspaper to discipline a dog for making a mess in the house are happily a thing of the past.
Nowadays, the focus is on encouraging and straitening the behaviors you want instead of “correcting” the behaviors you don’t. This more positive approach not only allows modern dog trainers to get excellent results but it helps bolster the dogs’ self-confidence.
What You Absolutely Must Look for in a Dog Certification Program
A top-tier certification program should focus on understanding the science behind canine behavior so that you can successfully problem-solve for individual dogs. Aside from having a strong theoretical understanding of behavior modification principles, a certification program should clearly translate that theory into easily understood and practical techniques. In other words, it’s not enough to understand behavior in theory but not know how to modify it in practice.
An Online Certification that Fosters Student Success
It may be hard to imagine learning dog training online, but Animal Behavior College has been teaching dog trainers online for 25 years. The secret? ABC students complete an externship with a local mentor trainer. Students also volunteer at least ten hours working with dogs at an animal shelter as part of the “Students Saving Lives” campaign. Dogs who have had some obedience trainings are demonstrably more adoptable.
ABC students enjoy the best of both worlds: the convenience of online learning plus lots of hands-on experience. It takes the average student between 12 and 16 months to complete the program.
The Animal Behavior College Dog Obedience Instructor Program enjoys an excellent reputation and is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI).
From the admissions counselors who help students get started to the staff who help them throughout the program, ABC students report feeling supported as they complete their training.
The support does not end once students earn their certification, either. Alumni benefits include a listing on the school’s directory of certified trainers, a private job board, access to a variety of helpful business-building forms and a low cost, turn-key website, and discounts from several pet industry organizations.
Take the First Step
If you are serious about becoming a dog trainer, there’s an admissions counselor who would be happy to help you get started. To learn more about the Animal Behavior College Dog Obedience Instructor Program, call 800-795-3294.