How long does it take to become a dog trainer?
It will typically take anywhere from 12-14 months to learn the foundation knowledge you will need. It will also take about that much time to start to develop the timing and experience in the physical training of dogs. The more you train properly the better your skills should become. This is a vocation that you can continue to improve in for decades. It will typically take 3-5 years to achieve an intermediate mastery of basic dog training skills and 5-10 years to become an expert. Results will vary widely. Some dog trainers are true experts in 7 years, some in 10 and others take longer.
How much money do dog trainers make a year?
The average hourly wage for a dog trainer in the United States is $16 per hour or $34,246 annually (according to Ziprecruiter). As with most careers, the level of experience and your location can make a huge difference in salary. For example, dog trainers in major population centers like Southern California frequently make closer to $35-75 per hour with experienced dog trainers billing at closer to $100 per hour. This is also true in NYC, San Francisco and areas of Chicago. Dog trainers in Dallas, Houston and Austin often bill between $25-$65 per hour. These figures are typically for private lessons. Group class fees have to be calculated differently. Typical cost for group classes consisting of 6-8 weeks run about $85 per student. A small class of 5 students means the trainer collects $425. If it takes the trainer 10 hours to teach 6-8 lessons this nets the trainer $42.50 per hour. Dog trainers working for someone else won’t earn as much per hour. Circumstances vary, but it isn’t uncommon for dog trainers to receive a 50/50 split on fees. So, if a dog trainer charges $60 per session the employee would earn $30. Since the pet business is booming, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts above average job growth for all animal careers throughout the decade.
What qualifications do you need to be a dog trainer?
Patience, a love of dogs, an interest in behavior and a desire to help humans and dogs live the best possible lives they can together is where this starts. Dog trainers need to have a basic comprehension of behavior modification principles and a practical understanding of how to humanely apply them. Good dog trainers also understand and master the art of teaching people. After all most dog training is as much about training the pet parent as it is about training their dog.
Is becoming a dog trainer worth it?
That depends on what your motivations for becoming a dog trainer are. If you have a passion to help animals and a real desire to make a difference in their lives and the lives of the people who love them, then being a dog trainer is absolutely worth the effort. It is also possible to make a living working as a professional dog trainer. This is a skill that can transcend being just a hobby.
Are there dog training courses online?
Yes, although a simple online program with no hands-on experience will probably not be the best choice you can make. There are really 2 components you need to look at when considering a dog trainer program. 1) Academic foundation. Does the program thoroughly cover the topics relevant to being a dog trainer? These should include an introduction to behavior modification principles, how to teach basic obedience, effective canine problem solving, dog training safety, business and marketing principles and more. It’s also vital that any program teaches you how to humanely apply behavior modification principles using the least intrusive minimally aversive (LIMA) approach. 2) Experience. OK, you have a theoretical understanding of the aforementioned topics. That’s a start but no one can be a dog trainer without actually training dogs. This is where strict online programs fall short and why programs that offer some hands-on experience should be considered. None of this means you can’t start down the path of becoming a dog trainer by taking an online course, just that it might not be the best choice to set you on the path to success in this field.
What is the best dog training certification?
That depends on your goal and current level of experience. Basic certifications which let potential clients know that you have mastered specific skills and knowledge and successfully passed testing are offered by reputable schools, such as Animal Behavior College. These certifications, demonstrate a foundation of knowledge and experience in the field. The curriculum covers all aspects of the profession and requires students to work with a mentor-trainer in an externship after the completion of coursework. Animal Behavior College Certified Dog Trainers leave the program with many career options, ranging from working for an animal shelter or an established business that offers dog training to going the self-employment route.