Tips to Become A Dog Trainer

Top Tips to Become a Successful Dog Trainer

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If you are considering becoming a professional dog trainer, before investing in the professional training, learn what the top tips are to becoming a successful dog trainer. If you feel that you can be responsible for these things, then becoming a dog trainer may in fact be for you!

The most important thing to understand is that you are another set of eyes on the dogs health. And we do not mean just your “opinion”. We mean that you should be educated on all things that you will see and encounter while a dog is in your care. You should have the materials and references easily available to advise and make suggestions to the dog parents that you serve. Dog parents are coming to you to train their dogs and are trusting you with an important member of their family.

You Should Be An Expert On Analyzing Dog Poop

Learn the basics about what dog poop can tell you about a dogs health. A dog’s poop is an indicator of their health.  Just like people, a dogs poop is a reflection of their overall health.

You should Understand The Basics Of A Dog’s Digestive System

When you discover issues from dog poop, you will have to be able to explain the basics of a dogs’ digestive system. Most dog parents do not spend the time learning about this. The truth is that a dog parents day to day interaction with their dogs’ digestive system is actually quite minimal.

You Should Understand What Proper Natural Dog Supplements Do.

You will observe many things that proper natural dog supplements can help with. You should be prepared and educated on this subject. You should also know when to direct your customer to a Veterinarian.

  • Joint and mobility – is the dog moving slower than they should? Are they having trouble with basic obstacles and movements?
  • Digestive and immunity – have you discovered poop issues? Have you noticed a decline in performance over your time with them?
  • Skin and coat – Seborrhea causes a dog’s skin to become greasy and develop scales (dandruff). Shedding and Hair Loss (Alopecia). Are you noticing patches of missing fur? There are many things that fall into the skin and coat category.
  • Allergy relief – A dog with allergies may scratch relentlessly. A quick peek at the skin under their coat can often reveal an ugly rash. Allergic reactions can come from grooming products, food, and environmental irritants, such as pollen or insect bites.
  • Heart health – The most common form of heart disease in dogs is valvular disease, which primarily affects small breed dogs over 5 years of age and makes up 70-75% of heart disease in dogs. A dog may develop obvious heart health symptoms such as fatigue, reduced willingness to walk or exercise, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, weight loss, a distended abdomen, trouble sleeping or coughing.
  • Behavioral problems – Your customers are potentially coming to you for this. Behavioral problems in dogs can also be an indicator that they simply do not feel well. Proper natural dog supplements can help with all of the above and more.

Still interested in becoming a professional dog trainer? We hope so. Now let’s get on with more top tips to becoming a successful dog trainer.

Study what is common and what is not.

You need to understand the common issues and problems that dog parents (your potential customers) are likely to face with their dogs. While the types of behavior and training issues can be truly unlimited, there are a handful that represent the vast majority of cases. Learn the solutions for these few predictable problems and don’t get bogged down with the rare cases.

Study what is dangerous and what is not.

You absolutely need to be able to accurately assess whether a dog is dangerous or not. Since some pet parents may not know a dogs full mental health history, it is important to understand that when a dog likes to fight with others, and dog has a tendency to bite people, they will often use ambiguous and emotional language. The level of risk and determining a dangerous dog can be objectively quantified based on wound-pathology (actual damage to the dogs body). You will have to decide if training such a dog lies within your ability as a trainer. You should also understand the correct speed of learning and progress levels that your customer can expect. All dogs deserve a second chance in life, if you are not capable, someone else may be.

Study the pros and cons of different training techniques.

There are in fact, many ways to train a dog. Far too many dog trainers become experts in just one method and that is not fair for the dog. Learn the relative advantages and disadvantages of all techniques so that you may choose from multiple approaches for each dog. This is when the “one size fits all” approach absolutely does not apply.

Learn when to phase out training tools.

While using your training tools, learn when to phase them out, otherwise the dog’s reliability may become dependent upon being on-leash, or you having food in your hand or pocket. A properly trained dog is one that responds reliably when off-leash, at a distance, in times of distraction and more. Your goal should be to train the dog without the continued use of any training aid. Some training equipment (collars and leashes) may be required in certain situations but even so, off-leash reliability is essential. Think ahead and consider what happens if the dog slips from the leash, or if someone at the dog parents house leaves the front door open and Fido escapes.

Use healthy “kibble”, not treats.

Utilize an actual dry dog food, such as a proper freeze dried food (Freeze-drying retains more of the natural nutrients in foods, versus high heat processed) broken up into very small amounts as lures and rewards in training. The fact is that most commercial dog treats are “junk food”. Treats may form a constant quest for tastier (smellier) treats and a dog may develop an underlying misunderstanding of the most basic learning principle: behavior is permanently changed by its immediate consequences. Changing the antecedent (volume/tone of command, or smellier treats) only effects a temporary change in behavior and soon, the food lures will become ineffective bribes. A proper dog trainer should plan on phasing out these food lures within the very first session.

Learn how to reward effectively.

From a professional dog trainers perspective, rewarding a dog for every response is pretty silly for numerous reasons. 50% of reinforced responses are below-median and so, the quality of the dog’s performance will never improve if constantly rewarded. Learn when and how to reward a dog. There are methods a professional dog training school will teach you to help maximize a dogs’ speed of learning. Always incorporate praise and interactive games (like fetch and tug) to maximize response-reliability; and regularly quantify performance to demonstrate proof of progress.

Learn to effectively eliminate undesirable behavior.

Ignoring undesirable behavior is certainly not fair for the dogs, nor for their parents. Every moment spent training a dog should include working on every behavior. Learn how to show dog parents how to quickly, instructively, humanely and effectively deal with undesirable behavior. If not, pet parents will likely become frustrated and seek help elsewhere. Some pet parents may just give up and resort to undesirable alternatives.

Your customers are not trainers.

As you make your way to becoming an outstanding dog trainer, you have learned that a vast amount of knowledge and experience is required. You will have developed impeccable timing and well-honed instincts for sensing subtle canine cues. You should always consider that your customer has neither your experience, nor your expertise and what may be easy for you is often difficult or impossible for them. Often due to the love that dog parent have for their dogs, it is the dog parent that needs training too. You’ll need to be able to teach dog parents quick and easy to master techniques that continue your training style while the dog is at home. You will need to teach the dog parent when to use stern command voices and more. Develop dog training techniques for your customers that do not require consistency or precise timing. 

Learn people teaching skills.

Some dog trainers pursue the field of dog training because they often get along better with dogs than people. However, people teaching skills are just as important as proper dog training skills. In addition to knowing how to train dogs, you need to teach pet parents how to do things as well as to motivate them to want to train their dogs. There is no place for ignoring, insulting, or belittling dog parents that are your customers. If dog parents don’t like you or do not get along with you, it is the dog that suffers. Show them better ways to communicate and win them over by example. You want to become of a dog trainer because you believe in treating dogs with kindness, extend that same kindness to their parents.

Standard business rules apply.

You will need to establish a presence in your community, you will need a website with the ability to schedule and take payments, you need to showcase your training and give pet parents the ability to trust you. Write articles in your website, give demonstrations and public lectures (publish videos of these on your website as well). Create relationships with local pet dog professionals like breeders, groomers, shelters and veterinarians. If you are serious about becoming a professional dog trainer, we recommend contacting this company for your digital assets development.

Sources:

Skin and Coat

Heart Health

Common Dog Behavior Issues

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