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What is, in your opinion, a good way to transition from a person who teaches dog training classes on a volunteer basis, to becoming a professional dog trainer. If you are a professional dog trainer how did you get to where you are at? Did you lean from books, seminars, dog training school, learn by taking classes yourself? At what point did you feel confident enough that you could properly instruct others to train their dogs, for a fee?

Thanks!
 

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That's a tough question, really. So many have started in so many different ways. I am self educating in theory etc but am also an assistant at a school to learn how to run classes, so I have a mentor. I have been training privately for two years but working with dogs for almost 20 in different capacities.
I still am saving to take courses that can go towards a behaviour certificate.
Technically anyone can hang a sign and train, but a good background in canine behaviour, OC and CC and some hands on experience can get you a good start. I started by training my client's dogs that I was walking everyday and built it up by word of mouth.
I believe the most important thing to do is to keep learning, know what you DON"T know and not have any doubts about referring to another trainer/behaviourist if something comes up that you don't know how to handle.
 

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As Cracker said, anyone can print business cards, advertise and train for a fee.

I apprenticed and then taught classes (volunteer) for 10 years...puppy, begining, intermediate, advanced and then competitive obedience. In the meantime I read alot, attended as many local seminars as I could afford, went to other training clubs to watch/learn and trained my own dogs to the Utility level. I took the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) test and became certified after 5 years of study and teaching.

You certainly don't need obedience titles but, it helps your resume. More important is your understanding of dog behavior and how clients behavior/misbehavior affects their dog. Also, knowing when to refer to a vet or a certified behaviorist.
 

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Yeah, I'm in year almost 7 training with my KC and I've been an instructor there for quite awhile.

I'm doing more reading and am going to (Hopefully) complete the CPDT-KA to become a full time dog trainer :)
 

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What kind of results are you getting with volunteer classes? How long have you been doing the class work? Nobody can instill confidence in you. If what you are doing is achieving success then go for it. Do not get into stuff you don't know, refuse dogs that you are nervous about, aggression etc. Stick with what you know.

You can use money made to help expand your education as it would help pay gas etc to get to seminars/classes etc to increase your dog knowledge. Once you turn Pro it will help with taxes as everybody usually loses money ar first and may get refunds from IRS.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your responses! My experience with dog training is started 15 years ago when I started with a KC I was a memeber of. I began taking classes there and then started assistant teaching with the puppy and beginner classes. I used to have people come up to me who had been in one of our classes thank me for the time we spent there because their life with their dog was so much better after they took our classes. Life happened and we moved and where we live now there is not a KC club within 1 1/2 hours of where we live so that has made doing anything regular with a KC almost impossible, for me anyway. So fast forward to two years ago when my daughter wanted to start in 4-H with her dog. I kept waiting to find out who was teaching the classes and never heard anything. Come to find out Nobody was. So I volunteered. Surley I had to be better than nothing. The first year was ok and I had some kids and parents thank me for doing such a good job with their kids. This past summer things went much smoother (from my standpoint anyway - I was much less nervous) and the judge, after all judging was over, said this over the loud speaker "This is the best, most prepared group of 4-h'ers and dogs I have seen all summer. I can tell that your instructor really knows what they are doing because you all know exactly what you are supposed to be doing and your dogs have been properly trained." I was pretty excited to hear that!

So for the past six months I have been going over things in my head and have put a lot of thought into this and I have decided that I am ready to take dog training to the next level. I know that I don't know everything and I have been reading A lot lately to increase my knowledge of canine behavior and training. Most of my training is traditional, slip collar, aversives, ect. Also for the past six months I have been utilizing the methods of positive behavior training that I have been reading about, with my own dogs. I cannot wait to get started with the 4-H kids again to start work with them in positive training. I want to work to get the bond between them and their dog much stronger!

So I feel confident that I could teach basic manners and beginner obediende, but I didn't know if this basic types of classes is enough to start with. I am trying to register in as many seminars and workshops as I can and have even contemplated taking a course in animal/canine behavior, but these are very expensive and knowing if one is really worth the $$ is hard to determine. I would like to eventually be able to do individual consultations on behaviorial issues for people.

I welcome any further insight any of you can give me! Are there any seminars you would recommend? Do you reccomend any "correspondence" courses?

Thanks again!
 

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Just don't bother with the ABC school...
I have looked into (and am saving for) correspondence courses through the Companion ANimal Science Institute, but since you use compulsion it may not be the right one for you. Worth looking at though...www.CASI.com
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just don't bother with the ABC school...
I have looked into (and am saving for) correspondence courses through the Companion ANimal Science Institute, but since you use compulsion it may not be the right one for you. Worth looking at though...www.CASI.com
Thanks, I actually was just looking at their courses. I plan on looking at them some more! I had looked at the Karen Pryor Academy but the cost and location of the weekend trainings makes it not a good option for me. Sometimes I don't always get typed what I mean to say. Yes, most of my training was traditional/compulsion. I am focusing on getting away from that and have been studying through a variety of books clicker training/positive reinforcement training and want to learn more. I want to learn as much as I can in however long it takes!
 
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