Since Martin Rutter and Cesar Millan at the latest, the dog trainer profession has flourished again. No wonder, because there are more and more dogs in the world – and they want to be educated!
The Essentials in Brief:
- A dog trainer is not a protected profession;
- There is a nationally recognized certification by the veterinary chamber;
- The training takes place at private institutes and schools and is subject to a fee;
- The earnings prospects vary widely;
- Trained dog trainers have numerous opportunities for further training.
Job Description: Dog Trainer
The dog trainer is not a protected term or a state-recognized training occupation.
In principle, anyone can call themselves a dog trainer who is of the opinion that they have sufficient specialist knowledge.
However, there has been a certification as a dog trainer and behavioral advisor since 2007. The prerequisite for this is completed training as a dog trainer. The certificate can be obtained through an examination at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Veterinarians.
Communication and Obedience
Contrary to expectations, dog trainers are not responsible for raising cheeky or (still) naughty four-legged friends. Rather, it is about improving communication between humans and dogs so that both understand each other. Typically, the problem with most human-dog teams is poor or lack of communication. In the context of individual or group lessons, the participants learn how to handle the animals adequately. Practicing various commands and behavior patterns, as well as obedience exercises for everyday life, are on the program. Taking care of play hours for puppies is also one of the standard tasks.
Demanding Training: Problem Dogs
Not only simple obedience exercises are part of the everyday life of the dog trainer. So-called problem dogs can also be found among the students. These show, for example, aggressive behavior, have fears or compulsions. Expertise in animal psychology is essential here. House visits often also occur here.
Dog Sports and Meaningful Occupation
One of the most common problems people have with their dogs is a lack of physical and mental exercise. This is not necessarily due to too little time, but mainly to a lack of ingenuity. Most dog trainers therefore also offer dog sports and other employment opportunities that utilize the dog in a species-appropriate manner. These include, for example:
- Dog dancing
Where and How Does the Training Take Place?
The training courses are offered by various private dog schools and associations. Dog understanders known from radio and television also train – for example, dog trainer Martin Rutter. Most of the trainees complete the courses part-time. That is why the teaching units often take the form of weekend or block seminars. The duration is between one and two years.
What are the Training Contents?
There are no standardized content and processes for training as a dog trainer. However, there are many parallels in the courses. The following topics get a place in most trainer courses:
- History and nature of the dog;
- Law and Animal Welfare;
- Animal psychology and learning behavior;
- Communication between humans and dogs.
What is the Working Relationship of a Dog Trainer Like?
Usually, dog trainers are freelance workers. Freelancers either work on their private property, in their own dog school, or make house calls. The latter is not uncommon. The trainer has the opportunity to observe people and dogs in their natural environment. This makes it easier to identify problematic behavior patterns.
Another job option for dog trainers is to work in veterinary clinics, animal shelters, breed associations, or larger dog schools. They are then employed part-time or full-time. However, institutions like these often work flexibly with freelance dog trainers.
Permanent positions are few and far between and as a freelancer, the first few years are usually tough. Many dog trainers, therefore, continue to work in their old job after their training. The dog trainer work is then practically part-time or on a voluntary basis. However, this can result in promising options and a considerable customer base.
What are the Income Opportunities as a Dog Trainer?
Little can be said about the earnings in this activity. After all, it is not a protected profession. A freelance trainer with regular, well-attended courses costs around 1,500 euros per month. Particularly successful dog trainers with their own school are also between 2,000 euros and 4,000 euros.
Our Recommendation: Listen to Your Stomach!
Completing a dog trainer training alongside your job is exhausting and costly. In order for it to be worthwhile, a careful selection of the training center is urgently necessary. When choosing, it is important to listen to your stomach. In dog training, in particular, there are numerous ways, methods, and techniques that differ greatly. In advance, you can obtain all information about training online from the various schools and training centers. However, personal visits are recommended. Among other things, you should pay attention to the following:
- What method does the dog school use?
- Are the education and training facilities clean and well-maintained?
- How qualified and experienced are the trainers and instructors working there?
- Do the training hours make an orderly and structured impression?