Dog Trainer

How to Become a Dog Trainer / Canine Behaviourist

Important: read this in-depth guide from K9 Magazine: How to become a dog trainer – and you will be set on the right path to attaining your dream dog training career.

Dog behaviourism is a relatively new profession and as such no governing bodies or affiliated official register are in place. Subsequently, any person who considers himself to possess the relevant skills can practice as a dog behaviourist. However, the majority of work for a behaviourist is based on referrals from a vet.

So Lonely
Creative Commons License photo credit: DaveFayram

Vets will be reluctant to refer a behaviourist who is not a member of any associations that are in place to standardise service. Also, referrals may not be forthcoming if it is considered that a person practicing as a dog behaviourist does not possess any formal or academic qualifications that are relevant to this particular field.

This is a demanding vocation and certain skills are essential for one to succeed. It is important for anyone considering this job to be able to combine a love and understanding of dogs with good academic qualifications and standards. (An honours degree indicates an aptitude for learning which is essential to this job. An honours degree in psychology or biological science would be even more useful.) Communication skills are essential, as this job will require a person to be in contact with pet owners who will want to express certain problems and expect you to be able to give answers. This is a very skilled trade and as such, a behaviourist’s expertise may be required in other areas.

Courts may require a behaviourist when dealing with The dangerous dogs act, this will require any behaviourist to be articulate, knowledgeable and well presented. Informative or general interest publications may require the wisdom of a pet behaviourist, which means good English and written skills are essential. Behaviourists who choose to practice as self-employed will certainly need good business skills. A reliable means of transport is essential and as with all dog related careers, so is a good sense of humour.

A behaviourist can expect to be confronted with many unusual situations, but some of the more common ones include destructive chewing, excessive barking, inappropriate toilet going, and aggressive behaviour amongst others.

There are many routes in to this profession, as with many dog related careers people can start off as kennel-hand and gain knowledge and training from that. Other people may go to university to get the qualifications they want or need. However practical experience with dogs is essential to supplement any academic qualification. There are a number of courses on offer to help people wishing to enter this particular profession.

Further information can be sought from the following sources.

The centre of applied pet Ethology.
P O Box 18.
Tisbury Wilts.
SP3 6NQ.

Association of Pet behaviour counsellors.
P O Box 46.
WR8 9YS.

The animal care college.
Ascot house, High street, Ascot.
SL5 7JG.