10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dog Trainers

​by Mary Hope Kramer, www.thebalance.com

Dog training has become an extremely popular career path in recent years, spurred on by the popularity of TV dog trainers and a growing willingness from owners to spend money on training and products for their pets. Here are ten things that you probably didn’t know about dog trainers:

Anyone Can Technically Call Themselves a Dog Trainer

The dog training profession is not strictly regulated. There is no mandatory certification process or educational requirement that must be completed before an individual can declare that they are a professional dog trainer. This makes it particularly important for owners to check their trainer’s references and see what kind of apprenticeships, internships, and certifications they have completed.

Dog Trainers Can Earn Professional Certification

There are several programs that offer professional dog trainer certification, though this is not a requirement to work in this field. Many reputable trainers seek certification with one of the major organizations, and some are certified with multiple groups.

Dog Trainers Are Usually Self-Employed

Most dog trainers are entrepreneurs and run their own independent businesses. This means they are responsible for all aspects of running the business including scheduling, handling accounts receivable and accounts payable, attracting new clients, paying for insurance, and other duties. A few dog trainers find full time employment with major pet chains or training groups, but these opportunities are not common.

They May Juggle Multiple Jobs to Make Ends Meet

It isn’t always possible for a dog trainer to make enough money from training to support their families, so some trainers operate multiple businesses to ensure they are financially stable. It is not uncommon for a trainer to offer boarding and pet sitting services, for example. Others work a day job (or part time job) and train dogs in their spare time on evenings and weekends.

They Have to Work with People Just as Much as Their Pets

Dog training is not a career path where you can avoid human interaction. In fact, it is actually necessary for trainers to provide extensive guidance to owners so they can reinforce the lessons learned in obedience sessions, so the amount of human interaction is quite high. In many cases it is the owner, not the dog, which really requires the training.

They Can Specialize in a Particular Type of Training

Dog trainers can specialize in training dogs for obedience, agility, dog shows, service or assistance duties, police work, and more.

They Know that Sessions Need to Be Customized for Each Dog

There is no one size fits all training method. Each individual dog responds to different types of training, and a good trainer customizes a training plan for each dog they work with.

They Have to Train Their Own Dogs Too

Dog trainers have to work with their own dogs to reinforce good behavior. They don’t have perfect pets just because they work in this profession (though they are better equipped than most owners to deal with behavioral problems as they arise).

They Can’t Fix All Problems in a Single Session

A behavior that has been established over months or years can take several sessions to correct. It is not realistic for owners to expect a quick fix, and this can be a source of frustration for trainers.

They Have a Fairly High Risk of Injury

Working with animals is always a risky venture, and dog trainers have a much higher incidence of injury than many other animal related professions. It is not uncommon for dog trainers to pull muscles, trip, fall, or be on the receiving end of a bite.

Additional Notes from Kathy…

The article above is a very good one, providing a little insight to the world of professional, certified dog trainers. It is worth noting that intellectual property theft occurs in nearly all fields of business and dog training is no different. I have had a few instances where I have provided specialized dog training and shared knowledge with individuals who took advantage of my business by using the information I shared with them to begin businesses of their own as “dog trainers.” The reality is, if someone is not professionally educated and certified, they are really a handler, not a trainer.

​A trainer applies behavior analysis and uses events/commands to modify behavior of a dog for obedience and special service. Knowing the animal’s attributes and personality, accurate timing of reinforcement and consistent communication are key aspects of training that are refined and perfected through education certification. By contrast, a handler is a person that works with a previously trained dog, collaborating with the animal to perform the tasks they are trained to do. Despite the fact that the term “trainer” is used very loosely, by definition a professional is the teacher and specialist that has had their experience and knowledge verified through professional training certification.

In our case here at Nosey Dog Detection Partners, we are not only professionally certified, we have proven effective methods training hundreds of dogs over the years with detection, behavior, protection, FEMA and search-and-rescue. We would be honored to work with you to develop a service dog specialized for almost any need!