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There is no denying the fact that dogs can be excellent companions for people of all ages. If you’re a dog lover, then you could seriously think about making your passion a rewarding profession. Yes, you could become a ‘dog trainer’! This could be the ideal way for you to enjoy and make some money, all at the same time. Of course, there are some necessary skills that you need to acquire in order to become a dog trainer. Here is a brief overview of the training process.
Do you need to attend a ‘dog training school’?
Dog training does not really mimic other professional training programs. In fact, a large percentage of the dog trainers may not actually have ‘certification’ from a dog training school. These people have simply read up a lot on dog ethology and behavior modification. They may have also attended certain workshops, conventions and seminars and received guidance from seasoned trainers. But this does not mean that there aren’t any dog training schools.
A dog training program will typically enlighten you on the following subjects:
- Dog-training history: This would be an overview of the complete dog-history training, starting from the end of the 19th century to the present. It will give you information about the dog training methods used over the years and how they differ from various other animal training programs.
- Learning about animals: In this subject, you will get introduced to operant and classical conditioning, negative and positive punishment, negative and positive reinforcement, discrimination, motivation, habituation, sensitization/desensitization, conditioned emotional responses and other similar areas.
- Dog behavior: This subject would throw light on dog ethology and development, fixed patterns of action, behavior genetics, social development, hormonal factors, breed-specific characteristics, body language, social signs etc.
Finally, upon completion of the course, you will also learn how to design classes and courses and become acquainted with the different ways of counseling individuals and motivating owners or caretakers.
Quick tips on becoming a dog trainer
- Read extensively on the science of animal behavior science, especially animal learning.
- Work as a volunteer at any local dog shelter. This will help you build and/or improve upon your existing dog handling skills.
- Try and find a trainer who is willing to make you his/her apprentice.
One of the first things to understand about dog training is that this profession is a lot about engaging with people. This means that as a prospective trainer, you must enjoy not only dog but also human interaction because you would have to ultimately train the dog owners to handle their dogs and not really handle them yourself.
Use these guidelines to kick-start your career as a dog trainer now!