Becoming a Professional Dog Trainer – Is it for You?


The career of a dog trainer begins with special knowledge concerning animal behavior. When added to practical teaching skills, you have a winning combination. Not everyone is suited to becoming a professional dog trainer, but those who are can enjoy a long and productive life with the animals they love. Good communication skills are required for anyone wishing to become a professional dog trainer because they must be able to communicate effectively with owners taking classes with their dogs. They must teach them how to reinforce the training methods learned in class at home. Homework assignments must be clearly explained so that the dog and its owner can work on them at home, the park, or other locations. A professional dog trainer is someone who uses various techniques to help dogs make changes in their behavior. The techniques used include operant conditioning, desensitization, clicker training, verbal cues, hand signals, positive reinforcement and a system of rewards. These are all intended to change the way the dog thinks and let him or her know that certain behaviors are not allowed.


Although there is no requirement that any formal training or licensing must be received before someone can become a professional dog trainer, it is beneficial to receive proper education and become certified. Training schools cover such intricacies of education as dog behavior and how they learn.


Students can expect to spend time reading educational material, attend lectures and clinics for practical application of what they have learned. Also included for those wishing to learn how to become the best dog trainers they can after graduation is instruction on designing classes for their own clients.

Who Should Not Become A Dog Trainer?

Unless you truly love dogs, it might not be in your best interests or those of the dog owners or pets with whom you will be involved to pursue this as a career.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011 indicates that the median rate of pay for animal trainers of all kinds was $12.78, but the top 10% earned as much as $53,580 annually. Of course, you can find a variety of salary quotes online.


Although some dog trainers work under the supervision of a head trainer as part of animal shelters, boarding kennels, vet clinics, pet stores, or for other trainers, most are self-employed. Some choose to specialize in certain breeds, puppy training, show dog handling or other areas. If you do decide to become a professional dog trainer, you should know that you have selected a professional that is expected to continue to grow during the next decade. That spells job security, but more importantly, if you love spending time with dogs and helping others to enjoy the benefits of such relationships; you might just have found your true calling. Man K-9’s very own Manuel Villanueva has been in the dog training business for over 30 years. If you would like to learn more about dog training and how Manuel and his experienced trainers can help you and your four-legged friend, please contact Man K-9 in San Diego County by calling 760-468-8830.

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