How to Become a Dog Trainer
Why Become a Dog Trainer?
Weighing potential careers and wondering how to become a dog trainer? The choice is a solid one, especially if you:
- Love the idea of fostering great relationships between humans and canines
- Have a passion for dogs
- Would like a career that allows you to be physically active instead of stuck at a desk
- Are looking for flexible working hours
- Want something with solid job prospects
- Think you might want to start your own business
Do I Need A License or Certification to Become a Dog Trainer?
If you want to know whether licensing or certification is legally required, the answer is “no.” If you want to learn how to become a dog trainer who will actually be hired, the answer is probably “yes.” Going through the certification process gives you a wider, well-rounded knowledge of dog training. More importantly, pet owners look for credentials when searching for a trainer. Getting certified gives you legitimacy.
You can get certified as a dog trainer in one of two ways. First, you can go through a dog trainer organization for certification. Dog trainer organizations have varying sets of criteria and, educational components, and they often require a certain amount of professional experience.
A second option for certification is to enroll in a dog training school. These programs offer formal classes, and some, like ABC, require an externship for hands-on learning. The coursework at ABC provides a thorough grounding in the history, theory, and science of dog training as well as the experience of working with a professional mentor.
Dog training coursework can be completed online. ABC offers dog training in all 50 U.S. states and every Canadian province.
How Do I Choose the Best Dog Training Program?
Do a little research on potential dog trainer organizations and schools to see which best suits your needs. The more credible schools will, of course, have alliances with with recognized dog training associations, such as the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) .
It is also a plus if your chosen school’s administrators have a good reputation in the field. ABC’s founder is an award-winning professional dog trainer, and he understands the business inside and out.
What Does a Great Dog Training Program Look Like?
Finally, take a look at the requirements of the certifying organizations or the curriculum of any schools you are considering. Do the classes offer a thorough base of knowledge? Does the school foster positive reinforcement training? Will you get hands-on experience? Is there support in place to help graduates succeed?
As part of ABC’s varied coursework, students must pass Pet CPR and First Aid as well as complete 18-20 hours of externship with a mentor. In addition, one of the eleven stages of ABC’s coursework focuses on building business skills–especially helpful if you need assistance marketing yourself, if you want to create a stronger resume, or if you are thinking of starting your own dog training business.
ABC’s alumni benefits give graduates a leg up. First, the ABC alumni group includes over 14,900 ABC certified dog trainers. This makes it the largest independent group of dog trainers in North America. That’s relevant because of the potential for networking and the chance to foster professional connections. Once you earn your ABC dog training certification, you will get access to their private job postings site. You will also be listed on the school’s directory of certified graduates, making it easy for those seeking a dog trainer in your area to find you. ABC offers graduates access to a variety of applicable business forms as well as a low-cost website service so that you can maintain your own web page complete with a contact link. ABC loves to see graduates succeed!
Take the Next Step!
In twelve months, you could be a certified dog trainer! Contact ABC for more information or to set up an interview with an admissions counselor. After your interview, you can complete the official application process and, once admitted, get started on your coursework. Enrollment is open, so you may start at any time. Call 800-795-3294 and set up an interview today!