How Do I Become a Dog Trainer and Obedience
by Peggy Prudden
It takes years of hands-on experience to become a good dog trainer.
Most of us began by training our own dog(s) at a local breed or
obedience club that offered obedience classes, or with independent
we became more experienced, we earned AKC (or UKC) titles on our
dogs. Often we began acting as assistants to beginner, or basic,
classes and then moved up to become full-charge instructors. As
our experience broadened, we progressed to instructing Novice, Open,
Utility, Puppy, and Tracking classes. (In clubs, these are not necessarily
read as many books about dog training and behavior as possible and
attend as many seminars on these subjects as we can afford in time
and funds. We never stop learning!
is important to gain as much experience with as many breeds as one
can. This exposure gives insight into many breeds and temperaments.
methods used to be very harsh and there were not many books on the
subject. Now, there are studies about the nature of dogs, their
behavior, and many theories on how to train them. Some recent books
are about training for achieving high scores in obedience trials,
so an instructor should know about them. But 96% of people who bring
dogs to an obedience class only want a wonderfully obedient companion
dog, which means we must be knowledgeable about solving dog/owner
write us about commercial dog training schools, asking how much
they cost, how long the courses are and about tuition and housing.
We do not endorse schools, partly because we do not have staff to
investigate them, and partly because many do not stay in existence
will note in our brochure, we endorse individual dog obedience instructors.
We have definite criteria. Anyone can call himself/herself a dog
trainer, but not all dog trainers meet our instructor criteria.
be a good dog trainer one must be physically fit, goal oriented,
self-starting, and love dogs. It takes a lot of stamina, patience,
understanding, insight, common sense, and fortitude to dedicate
one’s life to training dogs.
takes even more to become a good dog obedience instructor. An instructor
must like and get along well with people, be a good listener, and
know how to teach and motivate people of all ages and abilities.
one is wealthy, independent dog obedience instructing can be a financially
draining profession. Most dog-owners work during the day; therefore,
classes take place on weekday evenings and on weekends (usually
Saturdays). Training space is hard to find; not many landlords consider
dogs attractive tenants. (Free space is rare.) Besides rent, there
are insurance, advertising, and utility bills to pay. Teaching three
hours each weeknight does not always put food on the table. Also,
the work is seasonal. DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!
Dog Training Book/Video Sources:
The Public library; training equipment catalogs; pet supply catalogs;
Dogwise (a Direct Book
Service Inc. Company) 1-800-776-2665.
Monthly Obedience Publications
FINISH, PO Box 333, Galesburg, IL 61402-0333.
Contains regional columns, seminar and event ads, and major competition
Other Publications and Associations of Interest
The Clicker Journal 20146 Gleedsville
Rd., Leesburg, VA 20175
Animal Trainers Forum, PO Box 364, West
Sand Lake, NY 12196
(Association of Pet Dog Trainers), PO Box 385, Davis, CA 95617
Clean Run (Agility magazine), 35 Walnut
St, Turner Falls, MA 01376
(International Association of Canine Professionals),
560156, Montverde, FL 34756-0156
one can teach you how to train a dog; they can only teach you how
they train a dog. Not all methods will be compatible with your aptitudes,
attitudes, or sensibilities. Not all dogs learn by the same method.
We pick up many ideas from people, books, tapes, and experience.
We develop our ‘own’ methods – the ones that work best for us. But
we need to know backup methods for the dog that doesn’t learn by
"our" method. Keep an open mind, and never stop LEARNING!