German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Like the title says. I love training and working with my dogs. I can't afford nor do I have room for anymore dogs but I would love the chance to work with more dogs. I wasn't sure how to go about getting started. I know I don't have a lot of experience beyond my own dogs for training so I wanted to make my prices either really small or free/donations only.

I do have a ton of knowledge related to training and I'm always looking to learn more. All I'm hoping for is to gain more experience doing it.

My biggest cons are:

Lack of experience of actually training other dogs beyond my own.

Allergic to some dogs depending on their food. Allergic to cats.

Aspergers ontop of having a difficult time with pronunciation. Communication with humans isn't my strong point until they spent a few minutes getting to know me.

Pluses:

Lots of general knowledge on fixing common behavior problems such as nipping, barking, crate training, house marking, loose leash walking on so on.

A ton of resilience.

Very flexible and open minded to new ideas.

Last but not least, creative in matching solutions that would fit/match dog training to work with the people and their dogs personality so everyone gets what I feel is best for them. Note: I've been in education for awhile now and matching people with what works best for them has always been my most useful strength.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,495 Posts
Are you able to maybe find an established trainer to work with? This would be a good way to get more experience, learn new skills and also allow you to work with more dogs. Another option would be to see if there are any shelters/rescues in your area that have a dog trainer and see if you can volunteer to work with/under them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,334 Posts
Why don't you look into helping out at shelter? I had a friend that for several years. Sometimes just a little work could change the dogs life for the better. In the meantime you would be establising yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
885 Posts
You need to find someone to mentor you and apprentice you, and that usually means paying your dues first.

Also, dog training is ALL about the people. So if you are not prepared to better yourself, work hard, and be uncomfortable for a couple years until you get your confidence, then this is not the work for you. BUT if you are willing to put all excuses aside, work hard and work on yourself, then you can go as far as you want.

Dog training is rarely just teaching a dog - you need to teach the handler. You need good communication skills, the ability to relate to people and the ability to convey what you are trying to achieve.

I started out with my own dogs, then fosters - then I decided I wanted to be a dog trainer. Then I had to learn how to operate as an extrovert (I am introverted) and even after 8 years, I still struggle with becoming exhausted after 4 hours of classes, because I draw energy from being alone. It was the BEST decision I have ever made - and the hardest.

My first tip - stay humble, never get too cocky and ALWAYS be willing to learn something new.

Find a trainer who trains in a style that you would like to work with (This can change later on), get in the classes, show that trainer what you can do, and build a relationship with them. If you are really good, chances are they will ask you if you have any interest in the field.

Look up clubs in your area (and outside too) who host seminars with trainers/judges/competitors in various areas, and get in on them. You will always learn at least one thing new. Use your dogs, they can always teach you more.

This is how I started 2 years learning the style of training I wanted to train, then 2 years being the "helper/Janitor/equipment hauler" etc, then 6 years of learning to teach classes of up to 15 students (Obedience - 7 Levels, Protection, Tracking, Rally'O, Agility etc) and now after 10 years I am travelling to Hungary to earn my certification through the FCI and this summer I will start teaching my own classes (Flyball, Kyaking, Nosework etc).

My FAVORITE part of this "job", is when you meet someone who is at their wits end and ready to 1)Euth their dog or 2) give it away. You spend a few weeks showing them the possibilities and (dog dependant) then a year (or two) of HARD work and when they come to you and say "OMG! I love this dog and I actually ENJOY spending time with him/her" - that is the best feeling, that I helped create that.

If you decide you only want to work wtih dogs - the shelter/rescue route is a good one. You could "prep" dogs for adoption and increase adoptability.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,124 Posts
Join a kennel club or a GSD club where you can apprentice to be an instructor. Many times the instructors those types of places use are volunteers anyways and do it because they have some knowledge/have trained their own dogs.

I would also suggest titling some dogs so that you can have proof of your knowledge. It sounds like your target are just pet owners that need to teach the basic things, but those places are a dime a dozen and you'll have a hard time differentiating yourself. The trainers that have trained in more advanced things can teach all the basic stuff plus more so people are more drawn to them and will pay a premium.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,251 Posts
Why don't you look into helping out at shelter? I had a friend that for several years. Sometimes just a little work could change the dogs life for the better. In the meantime you would be establising yourself.
I agree with this! And many times shelter dogs need training(one on one with the new owner, not so much group classes, because the dog may not be ready) You could work with them before adoption and then hopefully after with the new owners.
Wish you luck, don't get discouraged!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,375 Posts
Check out APDT.com to see how to go about it for certification in this organization. All the above is great advice. I started by teaching my own dogs over the years, then attended workshops to become an instructor, worked in shelters and finally made the leap by advertizing my services in the community.
And like others said, "The dogs are the least to worry about" You need to be able to acclimate to all kinds of people and be flexible, non-judgmental and be open to every dog; even the ugliest, nastiest Chihuahua (no profiling intended :)) will show its charm in combination with its owner.
The field is competitive but if you are good, kind and honest you will do well. It is hard to make a living from being a dog trainer so don't quit your current job yet. It takes a few years to get established, you have to do lots of marketing in your community to get known and don't get discouraged it it feels like you are not making progress; you just keep on going. There is nice booklet that will help you: Amazon.com: So You Want to be a Dog Trainer (2nd edition) (9780966772685): Nicole Wilde: Books
Good luck, there is no better work if you love dogs and people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,893 Posts
Working with dogs is easy. Working with people -- uhg! You're braver than I. When I watch my trainer in a class, I can't figure out how she can get through it without braining someone. And I wonder if she ever felt like braining me. But whatever.

Keep working on your interpersonal skills because you can't get anywhere with the dogs if you can't get people to trust you.

Shelters are a good thought. Another thing that might work is working with a breeder. A lot of time they might want to work more than one dog at once and having another set of hands might be really helpful. They may have a number of dogs and that can be a big help. Just a thought though. I am thinking that it is possible that you would not see a dog at a shelter for more than a week or two, where you might be able to work with the same dog for a while at a breeders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,536 Posts
I was hired as a PetsMart trainer after taking a few classes from their senior trainer. Robin was an extremely gifted trainer who basically mentored me and really enabled me to make the most of the program that Petsmart puts trainers through. It was similar to apprenticing except that I got paid. This was over a decade ago so I don't know if its possible anymore.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top