You love dogs and enjoy being with them all the time. Should you be a dog trainer? We love dogs too. Dog training is a great occupation. It allows us to do what we love. Considering a career as a dog trainer sounds like a great option. Before jumping on board, there are things to consider.
Dog training is not all about dogs.
We work with different breeds and dogs with different personalities each day. However, believing dog training is all about the dog is a very idealistic view of what it is really like to be a dog trainer. In reality, much of our time is spent training humans. You should love dogs, but you also need to enjoy teaching people.
Dog trainers have good communication skills.
Communication is key in dog training. Dog trainers share their knowledge. They adapt to different human personalities. Basically, they are flexible enough to adjust their presentation based on the audience and the issue at hand.
Dog trainers must speak clearly and work well under pressure. There are lessons where you will work with one handler and times you train a whole family. Not interested in private lessons, in that case you may wish to run group classes.
No matter what type of training you offer, the most successful dog trainers are the ones who connect with people and explain things in such a way that it makes sense.
Presentation skills are necessary.
If you are afraid to speak in front of people, you may want to think about a different career path. When we train with clients, it’s like we are performing a show. We teach clients using a lot of analogies and by demonstrating techniques.
Clients train dogs in front of us so we can help improve their dog-training skill. Therefore, it is important to provide constructive criticism in a compassionate way.
As a group class instructor, you’ll need to project loudly and be confident in while teaching. Dog trainers speak in front of classes, while handling dogs and demonstrating techniques.
Patience is required.
According to Emma C. Morris, “Patience is particularly important in the context of teaching because previous research has shown that teachers who show patience and support to their students can have a positive impact on their students’ success (Sherman, Rasmussen, & Baydala, 2008).”
One of the biggest complaints I hear from other dog trainers is that humans do not follow through. Can you accept that not everyone is going to want the same level of trained dog as you do?
It takes work to accept that a client dog will not be perfect. As long as the human is happy, you should walk away happy too.
Dog trainers rely on owners to follow through with the training they provided. Dog owners are not dog trainers and will not have the same skill set. That’s okay. If you constantly get frustrated, you will burn out in this career.
You will meet clients who do not like your techniques or may become argumentative when you introduce new concepts. Rather than getting frustrated with the client, remember that compassion and empathy will get you far.
Some dog owners are in a situation where they need to train their dog and if they can’t, they may need to re-home the dog. Fixing the issue is second nature for dog trainers. Dog owners are emotional, stressed and need someone who will understand their needs and feel empathy for their situation. They don’t know what to do and some feel hopeless. Showing compassion and empathy will allow you to connect with the client and better help them.
The love of dogs is just one piece of the puzzle. If you feel you have the qualities we explained above, then you should pursue this industry.
Education is crucial in any field, including dog training. Study dog training and become a certified dog trainer with ISCDT. Visit our website, www.iscdt.com to view our online certification courses.