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Becoming a Dog Trainer Series: Education | The Doggy World

Becoming a Dog Trainer Series: Education

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In this part of the series of the Becoming a Dog Trainer I will talk about education. First of all, you don’t have to have a degree in Animal Behavior or related to it to become a dog trainer. Fortunately, anyone can become a trainer. On the other hand, that fact is not always a good thing. A good trainer has to be well prepared to start in the business. Many “dog trainers” today claim to be great professionals, however the methods they use are sometimes cruel, ineffective, and useless.

There are many schools out there willing to get as many students as they can, so before spending your money on one of these “institutions”, make sure it is a well known institution; beware, and do your research.

A quality school will mostly offer humane methods and positive training. If you see some harsh materials like choke chains or shock collars, squirt bottles, or the use of force to “dominate” the dog, pass on that school and find another. It will certainly not be the right place to learn from.

Keep in mind when looking for a good school that the curriculum offered should include some training theory, breed characteristics, genetics, social development and behavior issues. Here, I will cite some of the most renowned schools in the United States:

1. The San Francisco SPCA, in Northern California offers on-site classes on dog training, but only for those in San Francisco.

2. Karen Pryor, a renown dog book author of Don’t Shoot the Dog and also well known for her clicker training method, offers a online course on clicker training, at the Karen Pryor Academy.

3. The American College of Applied Science (ACAS) is another great institution, based in Florida. It offers online classes like the first Bachelor of Science degree in Companion Animal Science in the United States. For those who already have a degree and wish to further their education, there is a Masters Degree in Companion Behavior Counseling offered.

If you are looking for a great book which covers basically everything on how to become a dog trainer, I strongly recommend The Dog Trainer Handbook, written by a professional dog trainer from the San Francisco SPCA. It is actually an ebook, which you can download right away and start reading. There are great tips on where to start and you will learn from her experience. I really enjoyed reading it.

Another great book is the So You Want to be a Dog Trainer, by Nicole Wild. It was one of the first books I bought and it helped me a lot at the beginning of my career.

Seminars are also great tools and really necessary, even after you’ve become a professional. For the certifications, which I will talk about later, you will need to have certain CEUs (continuing education units) per year, which you can accomplish by attending seminars. Remember, a great trainer never stops learning, so be prepared to study!

Volunteering is a hands on practice. You will be able to meet a lot of animals, each one with a different personality. It is a great way to learn and at the same time an amazing and fulfilling experience. The SPCA is always accepting volunteers, or you could also volunteer at another animal shelter in your area.

Another important step is becoming a member of a dog training community. I am a member of the APDT, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. Their magazine and forums are really helpful, and they also offer discounts in subscriptions, seminars and products.

This is all for today’s post, if you have any questions feel free to contact me at contact@thedoggyworld.com or leave me a comment below. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: Becoming a Dog Trainer Series: Books

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!

Talk to you tomorrow! ;)

Next: Becoming a Dog Trainer Series: Recommended Books


Other posts in Becoming a Dog Trainer series:


Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links and I might earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. They are things that I experienced or researched. I am recommending because they are helpful and are companies that I trust. Thanks so much if you make a purchase through these links, I really appreciate it. Please do not spend money unless you feel it’s for something you really need and will help you reach your goals.


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