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How to become a Dog Trainer

Dog Trainer
avg. starting salary

Do you love dogs? Think you could you teach an old one new tricks? If you can answer yes, then becoming a Dog Trainer may be the perfect career move. You might train animals for an organisation, such as service dogs for charities, or teach other people how to train their own pets. Either way, you'll be responsible for changing the behaviour of your canine pupils so they can adjust to domestic life or learn special tasks and activities. Dog training tasks will vary, but a typical professional will regularly:
  • Host classes and workshops to pass knowledge to dog owners
  • Visit clients' homes to work with dogs one-to-one.
  • Work on animals with challenging behaviour.
  • Use knowledge of breeds and basic dog psychology to help owners beat doggy problems like separation anxiety and aggression.

Needless to say, you'll need a love of dogs if you want to get into training them - this career is not ideal if you've never had one or would bolt at the first sign of a bark. You should also be good with people, especially if you want to run classes for members of the public - they may not always like what you suggest, so be prepared to stand up for yourself and your methods. A good trainer will also need:
    • Excellent interpersonal skills
    • Natural authority and a degree of confidence
    • A willingness to persevere, even with very challenging cases
    • Patience with the animals - there will be a lot of repetition
    • Enthusiasm

"I've loved dogs since I was a child, so getting up and going to work with them every day doesn't even feel like a job - it feels like a hobby. It's great to be able to pass on tips to other owners to help them get the best from their pets too. But for me, the best part is watching a 'challenging' animal blossom and turn into a well-rounded family member, whatever its previous problems - I know then that I've made a real difference."

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