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I've got a job now, but love working with dogs and have become the guy everyone turns to with their dog problems. I've also got a backyard agility course and everyone has me help teach their dogs to use the equipment ... I'd love to make a living doing this kind of thing ... people have suggested I just start slapping fliers up over town and see how it goes, but I have never worked with super aggressive dogs and stuff...I think I'm a little more knowledgeable than your average Petco trainer...but I don't know where to start or if I even should.
 

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I agree with your friend. Start advertising. You can refuse any client you want to. Take on one or two clients and see how it goes. Then you can grow from there. You can be choosy about your clients. I'm training our neighbor's puppy right now and having a blast.
 

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Yes, work with as many dogs as you can but, back-up those observation/handling skills with some science knowledge. For example, a skilled dog trainer will take a full history of the dog before doing any training....social history, medical history, diet. etc with the understanding of how certain drugs, diet and prior training can effect behaviors.

Serious aggression cases and obsessive compulsive disorders should always be handled by certified behaviorists/DVM's...there's nothing wrong with giving clients a referral under those circumstances.

One tip as you're teaching Agility....sharpen your eye for the first sign(s) of injury.
Those signs can be very small/hard to spot but, you must catch them and stop the training before it becomes a serious problem. I'll assume you're already teaching the safety aspects of the Agility course as the equipment is on your property and you're liable for any accidents.
 

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I'm not gonna give info on how to become a dog trainer, because if you really want to you will. Let's build a scenario, say you have a full time job digging ditches and during the 8 hr shift you are working each day all you can think about is getting home to work dogs. On the week end you spend the whole week end working your's or other people's dogs at first for nothing but knowledge gained and the good feeling one attains when you have at first minor training successes. If those drives are inside of you the rest will come to pass. Of course then you better jump on TooneyDog's advice to be better equipped with your new career.
 

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My main concern as always with these things would be liability. Personally, I would gladly teach basic obedience, would be willing to work with dogs with bad habits under the right circumstances, but would probably never, ever work with aggressive dogs regardless of my level of experience with them. Again, this is just purely for liability reason and keeping my little butt (ok, maybe not so little) from being sued.

If the dog I work with still doesn't know how to sit (how you doing Brutus?) then I'm not going to get sued. The owner may complain and if they complain enough, I'll refund them their money. If I work with a dog who loves to chase cats and the dog still loves to chase cats after wards, it's the same thing. If I work with an aggressive dog and the dog later bites someone, people will come looking for me.
 

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My suggestion would be to tap into an organization like the APDT and the various resources they offer. You'll be able to explore the many different routes in becoming a dog trainer and be able to chat with others on what it takes to act as a professional dog trainer.
 

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If the dog I work with still doesn't know how to sit (how you doing Brutus?) then I'm not going to get sued. The owner may complain and if they complain enough, I'll refund them their money. If I work with a dog who loves to chase cats and the dog still loves to chase cats after wards, it's the same thing. If I work with an aggressive dog and the dog later bites someone, people will come looking for me.
In all those scenarios you will also quickly be labled as incompetant and be out of business.

The last one you will just be deeper in the hole along with the incompetant label and being out of business.
 

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You become a dog trainer as wvasko has said on multiple occassions by training dogs.
Agree there, that's what the trainers told me when I first asked that question.

I'm not gonna give info on how to become a dog trainer, because if you really want to you will. Let's build a scenario, say you have a full time job digging ditches and during the 8 hr shift you are working each day all you can think about is getting home to work dogs. On the week end you spend the whole week end working your's or other people's dogs at first for nothing but knowledge gained and the good feeling one attains when you have at first minor training successes. If those drives are inside of you the rest will come to pass. Of course then you better jump on TooneyDog's advice to be better equipped with your new career.
Whew, I'm relieved. I was starting to think I was the only one who 'thought dogs and dog training' 24/7. ;-)

To the OP, you might want to check and see if you have a local 4H dog club that needs teachers.
 

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Whew, I'm relieved. I was starting to think I was the only one who 'thought dogs and dog training' 24/7. ;-)
I have grave suspicions about MANY of the regular posters to the DF's.....

Viral and Spreading.. do not inform the CDC.

(at least we are among friends) :D
 

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Agree there, that's what the trainers told me when I first asked that question.



Whew, I'm relieved. I was starting to think I was the only one who 'thought dogs and dog training' 24/7. ;-)

To the OP, you might want to check and see if you have a local 4H dog club that needs teachers.
I did not know if I would be understood as sometime the words I think are not the words that come out. When I was 26 somebody took me to a bird-dog trial and I did not think that I maybe wanted to be a dog trainer(had just been a hunter and fooled around with dogs while drinking a lot of beer) I said in 10 years I was going to be a professional dog trainer and my whole life took a turn for the better. It took me 3 yrs and I was a self named trainer, took a little longer for the real thing to happen. It was a huge amount of work though. Working 1 or 2 jobs sometimes more plus training on the side. Not complaining as it was a purpose in life. Now I guess you can become a dog trainer with online courses and get a diploma/certificate and everything needed to impress people, except actual dog training. I actually had a lady looking for a job show me her resume which included a Penn-Foster Obedience Trainer diploma. Then she asked what she should do with her 3 yr old Rottie that was becoming aggressive. It's a different world now. I learned by doing now they learn by learning(does that make sense)
 

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I learned by doing now they learn by learning(does that make sense

I understand. Learning by doing is how all of my trainer friends have told me to go. I guess we'll see, I'm young so I have years ahead of me to learn, make mistakes, and learn some more. ;-)
 

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I learned by doing now they learn by learning(does that make sense

I understand. Learning by doing is how all of my trainer friends have told me to go. I guess we'll see, I'm young so I have years ahead of me to learn, make mistakes, and learn some more. ;-)
Yes that's the rule, you do, you screw up, you adjust to change your progams so screwups become less and less. It's kinda like parenting, we are all amateurs when we have kids and have to battle through all problems kids throw at us. Some parents have natural talents and it's the same with dog work.
 

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Another avenue to think about is possibly working under someone else until you get more experience.

My trainer has been so busy that she asked me to teach a beginner obedience class for her. Like these guys have said about learning by doing, I guess that was the situation for me, too. Now I'm also doing private obedience lessons. But I still have someone to refer to if I have any questions, someone to guide me. So I gain experience by doing, but I also read a lot to learn by learning. (Yes, it makes sense wvasko! lol)

Just a thought!
 

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My path to dog training:

Was working retail in the early nineties, looking for more hours. Was hired by a tournament pool (billiards) friend to work in the pet supply store she ran for one day a week. Pet supply store was attached to local vet.
Local vet's receptionist left, even though I knew NOTHING about animal health they were happy with my customer service skills and offered me the job.
Sink or swim, I learned as I went. 8 years of front office, management, dog and cat handling/wrassling etc. Our vet was one who would accept difficult animals that other's wouldn't, my behaviour learning continued. One of our clients was a pet sitter, I started working part time with her, mostly cats.
The vets decided to split the practice. I decided to leave and start up my own dogwalking service. I was a recognizable face to the clients and neighbourhood so this helped start me off. Then I started to be known for taking on the difficult to place dogs, the leash aggressive, fearful, extra extra large ones etc....and more behaviour and training learning came into place.
The more I read the more I became entrenched in the behaviour of the dogs. An idea started to form. I was/am physically exhausted from the dogwalking (I have no car, I LITERALLY walk all day) so I would start shifting to training, still be able to work with the animals, have contact with humans again..lol, and be able to make more money (at least theoretically). I keep hoping...lol.

I found a positive trainer through my vet that we recommended for years. She remembered me and we set up a mentor/mentee thing. I assist in her puppy classes as a volunteer and she teaches me how she runs classes etc. Turns out it is a very "equal" relationship as she depends a lot on her assistants to comment on things we notice (calming signals, behaviour issues etc) and we all discuss how we as individuals would handle it. Being I have the "people skills" I get to deal with the occasional difficult human student..lol.

So here I am, building on my hands on training experiences with the book learning coming second. I am hoping to enroll in CASI this summer for the behaviour/training certification courses to enable me to work on the more difficult cases more often and with better background. I already work with aggression cases, but am careful to refer to behaviourists if it is anything I am unsure of.

It's important, I believe, to remember that in behaviour modification it is necessary to add training to the mix, but not necessarily the other way around. You can have a fantastically obedience trained dog that still has severe behavioural issues.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you are interested in beh. mod AS well as training, you are going to need to a lot more research than if you simply want to run a puppy kindergarten class. I think ALL dog trainers should have a solid background in behaviour, health issues related to behaviour, learning theory etc, but if you are not like me (a behaviour geek) you don't have to know everything, just when too much is too much for you to handle.

Omd. It's a novel.
sorry guys.
 

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In my area, there is a privately operated shelter that has a few trainers and behaviorists who volunteer to work with the dogs. They also have a sanctuary, several hours drive from here, whetre they house the unadoptable animals. They still work with the dog's who are unadoptable for behavioral reasons--even the seniors.

If you can find an organization like that, you could learn a lot by volunteering to assist the pros who train/rehabilitate/test the animals. I've never seen a volunteer organization turn away someone who can a) show up when they say they will, b) take direction, and c) doesn't feel that any jobs are beneath him/her.
 

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I know Cesar Milan ended up as a trainer by grooming dogs at a dog salon for little more than room and board. He became known as the guy who could deal with the difficult dogs and people started asking him to work with their dogs on the side. The next thing you know he's working with celebrities dogs, owns his own dog training facility and has a hit TV show.
 

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Omd. It's a novel.
sorry guys.
No need to apologize - I know I expect one when I see your name on a post and it's always a good read. :D


As a side note, I applied to the local PetCo to be a dog trainer (as well as a couple other positions that I might could use to get in the organization and then work my way into a training opening if one happens). We'll see how it goes.

Don't know if I have enough experience - I have zero formal education - just a year of training Wally. I guess on the plus side he's "not average" (i.e. fearful).

If this doesn't work, the volunteer route sounds interesting. Thanks for that idea, Marsh Muppet.
 
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