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...
Frequently Asked Questions
We get all kinds of questions about our professional dog training, the service dogs we develop and specifically about our gluten detection service dogs. We have gathered the most popular and consistently asked questions and provided some quick, helpful answers. Read through the information and be sure to contact us for further details or ask about anything that you don't find listed here. We're here to help in your search for information about service dogs that help with allergies, Celiac disease, seizures, Diabetes, PTSD and other scent detection requirements!
We offer a special course for self-trainers! This course is designed for those who feel capable to self-train the dog with the assistance of a certified master dog trainer. The workshop consists of weekly Skpye sessions and allows us to assist with training anywhere with personalized, professional instruction. Contact us for further details!
How long does it take to train a service dog?
Approximately one year, depending on breed and maturity level and of course, the type of training required (detection, behavior, protection, etc.) With scent detection training, part of the training time is due to the development of the dog’s olfactory bulb (a mass of neural tissue within the dog’s brain that helps them process scents.)
How much does it cost to acquire a service dog?
Depending on the overall requirements of the dog and the type of training required, costs for service dogs vary greatly. At Nosey DDP, we have several packages to choose from. Many of the packages offer various financing arrangements. An average cost to start with is about $15,000 however, that is just a very rough estimate. Costs can go higher or lower based on the dog breed, training requirements and much more. The best way to get a more accurate cost estimate is to contact us for a no obligation discussion about your needs.
Do all dogs succeed in becoming service dogs?
We put all of our dogs in the best position to succeed, however, not all dogs are able to fully develop into service dogs. If we determine a dog is a washout (one that is unreliable, unsafe or just simply unsuited for service) all previous payments will be applied to the new candidate, except acquisition costs for a new candidate dog. Nosey DDP will not graduate a service dog unless they achieve Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines and Nosey DDP standards. (Read about our standards on the About Us page!)
How are service dogs trained to detect gluten?
Through an alliance with a chemist, Nosey DDP has created a way to train dogs so they can detect wheat, barley and rye in the smallest quantities. This unique method allows successfully trained dogs to work in nearly any environment to keep Celiac disease individuals safer.
How does a dog help a person with Celiac disease?
Owner Kathy Watters has developed a method to detect gluten free items in a gluten environment where cross contamination will occur, thereby assisting someone with gluten disorders from becoming contaminated.
Will a Celiac service dog work in public?
All of our dogs currently in the field are successfully working in restaurants, grocery stores, school systems and other public places. This is possible because of the unique and tested training methods developed by Nosey DDP.
When a service dog is finished with training, what is the method of transfer from trainer to owner/handler?
When a service dog is finished with the initial training, the process of transferring control to owner/handler begins. This is the part of the program when the trainer teaches the owner to become the handler. It generally takes a 7-10 day workshop in which the service dog's ques are taught to the handler and handler is taken to different environments in which to practice working their service dog. This workshop can take place at the Nosey DDP facility at no charge to clients (except travel and lodging.) Or the Nosey DDP trainer can come to client (with client paying for the trainer’s travel, lodging and daily expenses.)
Can we train our current pet dog to be a service dog?
As long as the pet dog qualifies through a series of tests that trainers use to see if it has the characteristics to succeed in transforming from a pet to a service dog. Nosey DDP is happy to help with this process.
What breed makes the best service dogs?
At Nosey DDP, we are not breed specific – we have successfully trained hundreds of dogs over the years from many breeds. However, some breeds do have qualities that lend themselves to have greater success in becoming a service dog. While we consider these qualities, we seek to match the breed to the client, based on age, size, gender, living environment, etc. The right dog with professional training in the hands of the educated handler is what makes the best service dog.
How do I acquire a service dog from Nosey DDP?
At Nosey DDP, one of our goals is to assist people in becoming more independent and we attempt to do this as simply as possible. First, we consult with each prospective client to determine their needs, timeline, and commitment to becoming a successful service dog handler. Then we explain our service dog packages, assisting them in choosing the one that meets their financial circumstances and long term goals for a service dog. We help with the selection of the breed and we can even assist in locating that breed. Finally, we outline the next steps of obtaining the candidate dog, how it will be transported to Nosey DDP (if necessary) and the commitment that is required to begin the training process. We always disclose the complete process and costs so prospective clients are prepared to move forward when the time is right.
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! Contact us for all the details!