Becoming a Dog Trainer

Are there jobs within the field of dog training available and how will I find them?

There are jobs available for qualified and dedicated individuals. Although most of our graduates decide to go into business for themselves, National K-9 does provide a listing of jobs available to current students and graduates. These job listings come to us from businesses around the United States and the world. Interested students will receive counseling to help them in establishing their goals and pursuing their career interests. Graduates of our courses that are members of the National K-9 Dog Trainers’ Association (www.nk9dta.com) will receive updates on new employment opportunities.

Is a career in dog training for everyone?

It takes more than just a love of dogs to become a dog trainer. The professional dog trainer must be able to communicate with and instruct the dog owner to teach proper owner handling and problem solving. Professional dog trainers should enjoy working with people as much as or more than with dogs. A dog trainers’ ability to communicate and instruct people is crucial to success. The National K-9 School for Dog Trainers prepares students to handle and educate dog owners through classroom instruction and proper customer relation skills.

To train dogs of all sizes and personalities, individuals must also be in good general health and physically capable to work with dogs of various sizes and temperaments. If you have questions regarding the physical requirements of a professional dog trainer, please contact one of our instructors for more information.

In short, if you enjoy dogs, feel you can communicate effectively with their owners, and are in good general health, then a career in dog training could be for you.

Why is the demand for dog trainers growing?

Recent statistics show a continuous worldwide growth in the dog population. America leads the list with an estimate of nearly 80 million pet dogs at present and continual evidence that the number will continue to increase. These are just a few reasons qualified dog trainers are in demand. Here are some of the other reasons:

  • While everyone wants a “best friend,” few owners have the time, patience or knowledge to train their own pet.
  • The internet often does not have the answers to assist dog owners with their dog’s specific behavior and training goals. While there is a wealth of valuable training and behavior information available online and in social media, this information does not apply to all types of dogs and every situation. It is also difficult for well-intentioned dog owners to sort through the huge amount of and often conflicting information. A knowledgeable dog trainer can assist by assessing the specifics of the individual dog and situation and then provide specific options best suited to the individual dog and family.
  • When dog owners become frustrated with their dog’s bad habits, they frequently seek advice from their veterinarian. Veterinarians often do not have experience or time to deal with many types of dog behavior and training goals. Veterinarians are eager to find reputable and knowledgeable dog trainers to recommend helping clients.
  • While breed clubs serve a good purpose in promoting breeds and maintaining the breed standards, their training sessions are generalized and classes often have 10-30 dogs at one time. While helpful for some dogs and owners, very little individual attention is possible. Dogs often remain untrained and the owners are left feeling frustrated.
  • While group classes are helpful for some dogs and their owners, many dogs and owners do not receive the personal attention they deserve and require. In a group atmosphere, it can sometimes be difficult to fully address each individual dog owner’s concerns or a dog’s problems. Professional trainers should be qualified to determine if training is best suited to be done in a group or one-on-one basis. It is sometimes more beneficial to participate in group sessions later in a dog’s training to assist the owner and dog with distraction and socialization training.
  • While breed clubs serve a good purpose in promoting breeds and maintaining the breed standards, their training sessions are generalized and classes often have 10-30 dogs at one time. While helpful for some dogs and owners, very little individual attention is possible.  Dogs often remain untrained and the owners are left feeling frustrated.
  • While there are some novice trainers who train a few dogs as a hobby, the average dog owner needs much more help than today’s novice trainer can provide.
  • Because a family’s security is a concern in some parts of the United States and the world, many families choose large breeds of dogs for their protective instincts. These dogs need to be properly socialized and trained with the assistance of a professional to prevent them from becoming a liability.
  • Improper breeding and lack of proper socialization and training cause many behavioral problems in dogs. Since there are no laws in America governing the genetics of breeding, individuals are free to breed anything they care to and due to this, many undesirable traits surface in the breeds. These undesirable traits may lead to behavior problems. These behaviors must be understood and then modified with the assistance of a professional dog trainer.
Can I make a good living at this profession?

If you are sincere, eager to learn, and enjoy working with people as well as dogs, a good living can be made. Like most any profession, success is based on the individual. The National K-9 School for Dog Trainers will give you the education and the assistance required to successfully pursue a career in dog training.

Graduates of our courses pursue a wide variety of interests within the fields of dog training, behavior, handling, and care. The success of the individual is dependent on their desire, skill, and motivation. While no school can guarantee a graduate success or a particular salary, we find that with dedication and hard work you can make an above average income. Like any other profession, personal drive will establish your income level.

Is dog training a respected profession?

To some, dog training is considered more of a hobby than a career. However, the growth of the overall dog population and the pet industry has created a demand for better-behaved dogs. This and the misinformation provided from numerous online sources has led to an increased need for qualified professional dog trainers. Dog trainers that possess the knowledge and skills to humanely and successfully train a dog so that it becomes a more enjoyable pet are in high demand. Respect, however, is something that one must earn. At National K-9, students are taught a professional code of ethics and advised to conduct their business dealings with honesty and integrity.

What exactly is a professional dog trainer?

A professional dog trainer is an individual who:

  • Understands the major personalities of the dog;
  • Knows how to evaluate, read, and understand dog behavior;
  • Applies appropriate humane techniques to reliably train various breeds or mixed breeds of dogs;
  • Educates dog owners in proper dog handling and communication skills;
  • Assists dog owners with behavior modification and solving a dog’s and owner’s bad habits.

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