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I'm planning on attending a Dog Trainer's Academy in the upcoming 2010 year. I'm 17 now, but I'll be 18 by then. I don't currently own my own dog though, and I was wondering if it was a requirement to be a proffessional Dog Trainer?

It probably sounds like a dumb question, yes, but my parents would like to know. My dad is allergic to dogs, not severely, but mildly, and is curious about this also.
 

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There is a training center near me that doesn't require you to have your own dog.. you basically get assigned a rescue dog to train while you complete the course. It's probably best to ask the center where you'll be doing your training if they do something similar.
 

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Thank you very much Sarah for replying. :3 While this has been a curiosity of mine too, in which I do plan on asking the Academy, I was more so wondering when I'm done the training and am on my own.
 

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Thank you very much Sarah for replying. :3 While this has been a curiosity of mine too, in which I do plan on asking the Academy, I was more so wondering when I'm done the training and am on my own.
If I'm going to consider hiring you to train my dog I want to see what you've done and I want to know that you know what you're doing. Personally, I couldn't care less what kind of formal training you have, I want to know that you can actually train my dog. If you have a dog that is well-trained and you can demonstrate to me that your dog is well-trained, this goes a long way with me.
 

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I appreciate your honesty Hulk. And too I've thought the very same thing. Without proof the claims are empty. This has been a worry of mine ever since I first thought of it, I'll have to have a serious discussion with my family.
 

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There's no such thing as a "professional" dog trainer. A four year old teaching her puppy how to sit is recognized as a dog trainer as much as a Cesar Milan. Therefore, there are no requirements on what a dog trainer is.

Regardless, as a dog trainer I'm not hiring you for what you can train your dogs, I'm hiring you to help train me and mine. Big difference.
 

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Hulk makes a very good point.....it's part of your resume. While training my dog(s) in front of shopping centers I'd always get people coming up and asking if I'd train their dogs. Most were joking a little but, they often had serious questions of how to do this or that. Most were fascinated by the attention the dog was giving me and the responsivenss to commands....you really need a demo dog to demonstrate that.
 

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Mhm, and I agree too if you're going it solo. I did manage to get a hold of the Academy and I'd be working with them, and they have dogs that that we train, and are already extensively trained, so it'd be no problem.
 

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I'm curious, I know being 17 your powers on earth are limited (parents) but if you are serious about this why not do some volunteer work at local shelter. I think goals of training a dog is commendable but also valuable are dog care programs. This also gives you a chance to see what basic dogwork is about, bathing, poop-scooping, watering, feeding and even starting to read dogs. There are people who want to work as plumbers, electricians, rocket scientists, whatever they think looks good to them. Then when getting into the actual work they find out it might not be as fullfilling or exciting as once thought. If becoming a trainer is really what you want then volunteering is a win-win situation as you can learn while working around dogs. It will put you much further ahead when you do actually start training.
 

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Having your own well trained dog is a great advertisement for your abilities, and it may even be a requirement for the school you've signed up with. I doubt it but it's possible. Beyond that, though, there's no better way to learn the craft than to have a captive student body of your own to practice on.
 

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I'm curious, I know being 17 your powers on earth are limited (parents) but if you are serious about this why not do some volunteer work at local shelter. I think goals of training a dog is commendable but also valuable are dog care programs. This also gives you a chance to see what basic dogwork is about, bathing, poop-scooping, watering, feeding and even starting to read dogs. There are people who want to work as plumbers, electricians, rocket scientists, whatever they think looks good to them. Then when getting into the actual work they find out it might not be as fullfilling or exciting as once thought. If becoming a trainer is really what you want then volunteering is a win-win situation as you can learn while working around dogs. It will put you much further ahead when you do actually start training.
Volunteering is a great idea. When I was 17/18 I wanted to be a web designer. There was money in it, it looked fun and I knew I had the ability to acquire the technical expertise to do the design/coding. I got a part time job with the university I was attending doing web design and very quickly found out I did not have the creativity for it. It was a bit frustrating as I could code pretty much anything anyone else designed, but couldn't design anything myself. It was a good learning experience though as I look back. I learned what I was not good at.
 

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IMO, it's pretty hard to get a good handle on basic dog behavior without ever actually having LIVED WITH a dog. Although if you volunteered enough, you might be able to get a good understanding of dogs without having one in your house. I defintely think someone needs a good amount of dog experience before they can be a good dog trainer, no matter how they get that experience.
 

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Volunteering is a great idea. When I was 17/18 I wanted to be a web designer. There was money in it, it looked fun and I knew I had the ability to acquire the technical expertise to do the design/coding. I got a part time job with the university I was attending doing web design and very quickly found out I did not have the creativity for it. It was a bit frustrating as I could code pretty much anything anyone else designed, but couldn't design anything myself. It was a good learning experience though as I look back. I learned what I was not good at.
That's exactly what I'm talking about.
 

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I don't think it would hurt if you had your own dog that you had trained, but I'm not sure how much it would help. I would never use a trainer who trained just my dog and teaching me to train my dog is very different than simply training your own.

I do think however, having the experience of frustration in dealing with common dog (particularly puppy) issues would help you relate to future clients. I think it's easy to assume you can relate to something like housebreaking without experiencing it but it's one of those things where having all the right answers doesn't ease the frustration.

That said though, I don't think you need to get a dog now. I agree with volunteering and using the school's dogs for training while you live at home. This isn't really something you can go to school for and come out a full-fledged trainer, on the job experience is where it's at! I suppose there are places that will hire someone without any experience but I would imagine it's more likely you'll be cobbling together bits of experience anywhere you can get it the first few years of your career.
 

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I'm looking at dog training as my retirement career, and although I've trained dogs to degrees as a teenager, I realize that things in the dog world have changed a lot since then. So, I've been studying positive training, but studying isn't enough. Practice makes perfect so I hooked up with a pet rescue organization as a foster. That gives me lots of access to dogs with issues and it's a win-win situation. I get to practice and earn skills, and people adopting these dogs get a better pet.
 

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I think having a dog would probably be almost a must. The average person is going to ask you about very basic things like potty training, teething, destroying furniture, jumping, accidents. It will be helpful if you can not only tell them how to train the dog to do other wise - but also answer their questions about alternatives. for example its much more helpful to say "Well one reason why your dog might still be peein gin the house is because he can smell where he has peed before, I'd recommend you use an enzyme cleaner or something like ____-insert a brand you have used before and recommend-____ to clean up real well and then ...___-talk about training to pee outside-_____" rather than just say "oh well he can probably still smell it so you have to clean it really well". To know these things you have to have experienced using products yourself and seeing if they've worked, and looked at reviews online, etc. Another example would be if you wanted to recommend using a steam cleaner to clean a really bad area of carpet or something. I've used the ones rented from walmart and kroger's before and they were both TERRIBLE. This would be useful information to your client so they don't have to waste their time and money renting a machine tahts hard to use or doesn't work.

They will also ask you stuff that has more to do with behaviors and other things, not just strictly 'training'. FOr that kind of stuff I think it would be extremely helpful to have some experience of your own dealing with the same thing
 

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Victoria Stilwell wasn't allowed to have a dog growing up. In fact, I think the chocolate lab she's got now is the first dog she's had of her own (although I think she's had fosters).
 

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NO you do not have to own a dog to be a dog trainer and if you have one it does not have to be at a level that represents your abilities to train a dog to any particular standard. That would be like saying that you must have raised litters and live with packs of dogs in various situations to understand them and be able to train them to a certain standard. You simply need to be able to prove your skills in training regardless of what dog you work with. Should it be that a person has to have a currently exceptionally well trained dog on hand to be considered a dog trainer or a good one than many so called trainers would fail to meet the standard of being called a dog trainer from what I have seen lately.

Too much of a generalization in my opinion to say that one must have a well trained dog to judge where at person is at in the training curve or there own standards.

:)
 
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