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How to Learn to Be a Dog Trainer

Woman training 2 dogs outdoors

Love dogs and want to become a professional dog trainer? These are two completely different things because training your own dog doesn’t mean you can be a professional trainer. Normally, dog trainers are supposed to teach other humans the art of training their dogs. However, they should also have the expertise to train different canines, if required.

Therefore, you need to educate yourself and gain plenty of practical experience to do well in this field. Keep reading to learn about all the work that must be done to become a professional dog trainer.

Educate Yourself

Just like all other specialized fields, dog training requires a complete and extensive education. Although you can self-train yourself, it is not easy to become a dog trainer on your own. Alternatively, you can also get the necessary education from a training school.

Attending different workshops and seminars can also help you to practice and polish your skills. Some of the most valuable learning styles to become a dog trainer are discussed below.

Online Learning

torso and arms view of a person on a laptop taking notes

If you choose the path of self-learning, online information will be your best bet. You can choose from a variety of online courses and can also access lots of other information on the internet. Reliable courses of dog training help us to understand canine behavior by analyzing different situations. Likewise, they also teach us about dog healthcare, obedience, and everything else which is required to become a professional trainer.

Online learning is a good idea because these programs allow you to test your knowledge. They offer a range of tests, ranging from basic to the professional level so that you can determine your growth.


Woman with dog kennels in the background hugging dogs

It is extremely important to learn from qualified professionals to get the best possible information. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people who can be regarded as good trainers. Therefore, you should try to find a reliable expert and learn from him/her as an apprentice.

Apprentices learn the profession by watching the sessions of their mentors. These sessions include some practical practices, like instructions for teaching basic commands (sit, quiet, etc.). Additionally, they also cover some professional feedback that helps you to polish the skills.

According to Animal Humane Society, the time-period of apprenticeships varies from 6 to 12 months. Normally, dog trainers charge some fee for the training. However, some of them may have you work for free to learn the needed skills.

Join a Dog Trainer School

Dogs sitting at their trainers feet lined up in a row outdoors

If you can’t learn by watching videos and prefer formal lectures, this is the most suitable option. Dog trainer schools offer a structured education program where all the aspects of training are covered in a guided manner. In addition to their theoretical curriculum, these schools also offer hands-on training for advanced learning. In most cases, cost and length of practice area are the most important factors to determine whether you should go to a training school or not.

Gain Experience

Once you have completed all aspects (courses, training, and practical expertise) of the education, it’s time to gain some experience. During this phase, you will train dogs of other people to learn as much as possible. Every dog is different and you will learn new things (on every assignment) about canine behavior and temperament. This exercise will also help you to set up your business (if wanted) due to the exposure.

Train Unfamiliar Dogs

Husky and golden retriever outdoors with person, retriever is shaking the person's hand

It is extremely important to work with unfamiliar dogs to prove your worth to the professional world. You will be needed to teach several different things to these pups, such as basic dog commands and other trainings. Some common commands include sit, stay, come, and heel. Likewise, good citizen test for dogs and obedience training are also among the popular demands from dog trainers.

Working as a volunteer at a local animal shelter can also give you some precious experience. It gives you an ideal opportunity to train dogs that are unfamiliar to you.

Train Others to Train Their Dogs

The biggest role of a professional dog trainer is to teach other people the art of training their dogs. This means that dog trainers also require people skills, despite their preference for pets. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many dogs you have trained if you can’t teach your clients. Likewise, you will need to shape their skills and strengthen their successes.

Seek Certification

Person handing another person a diploma, blurred books in the foreground

After getting the required knowledge and experience, it’s time to seek the validation of your learning through a certification. You should get the certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) to be a gold standard dog trainer. If you meet the standards of this certification, simply pass a computer-based test to become a certified trainer.

However, it’s necessary to keep learning if you want to maintain your certification. Therefore, you should stay updated about the latest developments in the field of dog training.

These certifications help you to find better jobs and make it easier to attract potential clients. According to Wild Earth, dog training is always evolving and it’s important to keep learning if you want to be a reputable dog trainer.

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