City animal shelters, no-kill shelters, and animal rescue groups are often at full capacity with dogs that have been lost or given up by their owners; in many cases, families, police officers, and other owners are forced to give up their canines because of unmanageable behaviors, such as aggression, non-obedience, and running astray. By learning skills in dog handling, such as basic leash control and obedience instruction, owners can reduce and prevent abandonment. With practice and schooling to become a dog trainer online, one can turn a passion of caring for dogs into a rewarding full time career.
Professional trainers teach obedience and discipline to dogs in order to improve the relationships between animals and people. They not only teach dogs how to behave, but they also show owners how to control and properly care for their pets.
A certificate in dog training online offers intensive courses to meet the needs of pet owners. Courses include dog communication, obedience training, behavior modification, dog safety, and breed characteristics. Students often work or volunteer in animal shelters while studying for the certificate to qualify for employment. The certificate enables recipients to work as a dog trainer in shelters and schools, or with agencies who use dogs as guards or patrols. Many organizations, such as the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP), provide standards of acceptable training. Employers and clients of dog trainers often require a certificate to ensure the animals in their care are trained skillfully and treated humanely.
Prospective dog trainers seek experience working with dogs in animal shelters, veterinary offices, and homes. Many work as pet sitters. Some volunteer at a local Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (SPCA) or Animal Humane Society shelter, to build their skill set. Some learners will enroll in an obedience class with their own dog to get the dual perspective of learner and teacher.
To improve one’s understanding of dog behavior, it is helpful to read reputable books on the subject. According to the Animal Humane Society, some of the most informative books on this subject include Don’t Shoot the Dog! by Karen Pryor, Excel-erated Learning by Pam Reid, So You Want to Become a Dog Trainer by Nicole Wilde, and Coaching People to Train Their Dogs by Terry Ryan.
Students typically enroll in 40-60 weeks of study with the dog training certificate program. Certificate courses include the topics of obedience training, basics of canines, learning theory, trainer basic tools, effective problem solving, safety, agility, and tracking.
Many schools and instructors believe hands-on training is absolutely mandatory in order to become a decent and skilled dog trainer. That is why many students learn in an apprenticeship as they study online dog training courses. An apprenticeship may last six to eight months as the student leads important segments of the classes.
What’s Next for Dog Training Certificate Holders?
Apprentices who complete their training in an online dog trainer certificate program seek work with local training schools, shelters, or businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dog trainers earned a median salary of $25,770 in 2014. Animal care jobs are projected to grow 11% between 2014 and 2024, faster than the estimated growth for all occupations.
The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) provide valuable resources to stay up to date. Opportunities through these and other organizations include continuing education, networking, discussion groups, grants, and internationally recognized certification. Animal trainers may seek re-certification with an organization by completing classroom study and hands on training. Typically an association requires completion of training every five years to stay up-to-date with the latest scientific developments and training methods.