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Old 05-11-2004, 09:00 PM
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Lightbulb Professional Dog Obedience Trainer

I'm looking for info on becoming a Professional Dog Obedience Trainer--and I am turning to my FamilyCorner "family" once again--you guys have never let me down yet.....

I love dogs and we just got a new puppy who is in need of obedience training as all little puppies are. We also have another dog who is 4 yrs old and has been with us since she was 5-1/2 weeks old. Need I say that at first she was NOT happy about a "little snot-nosed brat" coming into her domain!!! We attempted to contact a "Dog Behavior Specialist" and she kindly offered to help us individually for the low low price of $75.00/hour!!!!!!!!! I'm in the WRONG PROFESSION!!!! As an RN I make $25.00/hr!!!!

Seriously tho--I truly enjoyed teaching our older dog obedience--thought it was really facinating watching the trainer help the owners adapt their methods for each of their dogs temperments--all the way from from a poor little dog that had been abused and she cried every time someone came near her to the "class bully" who tried to jump on every other dog there. By the end of the class--the little shy dog made friends with many of the other owners and the "bully" still needed a little work but was much better

I have looked over the internet and found a couple of correspondence schools that looked interesting and sent for information--

What I'm asking of anyone out there...do you have any info on how to become a Professional Trainer????

If you are a trainer--how did you go about it, how do you conduct your classes, what are the common charges for instruction in your area??

Looking forward to hearing from my "family" ........


P.S.--Katie and Rocky are getting along MUCH better now!!
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Old 05-29-2004, 12:03 PM
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First of all, you need to read up on Canine Behavior to understand what is going on... a good place to start is with Dr Michael Fox

I suggest you start with these books:
Behaviour of Wolves, Dogs, and Related Canids
ISBN: 0060113219
Author: Michael W. Fox

Understanding Your Dog: Everything You Want to Know About Your Dog but Haven't Been Able to Ask Him
ISBN: 0698103823
Author: Michael W. Fox

another book I highly recommend, is..
The Koehler Method of Dog Training, by William Koehler


Once you understand what makes your dog 'tick'... then associate yourself with an obedience training club....Once you find a trainer you like, work with him. Once you have titled several dogs in obedience, the people will find you...

If there is a Schutzhund club in your area, do call and go watch the obedience training. If there is a Schutzhund trial in your area, it's a joy to behold... go see it.. it's very impressive.



Technique varies according to animal. No one techique is good for all animals.. but I will tell you this, positive and negative reinforcement works best .....clickers do not.... just positive reinforcement doesn't either. Food training works if properly used with a positive/negative formula for that dog.

It takes years to acquire skills... it's practice, it's finesse, it's learning to read the dog. It's working with other trainers and various breeds.

Start by reading the books I posted. It'll give you a leg up on the subject.

As to the fee the trainer asked for, it's not out of line. When I did board and train I used to charge $800.00 for 6 weeks, and that is not out of line either. It's a lot of work, a lot of repetition and consistency, it's a lot of travel, it's taking the dog to various environments so that you can see what else needs to be done. It's watching the focus...it's training to focus... It's not a cushy job. The trick to training, whether it be children or dogs, is CONSISTENCY.

If I gave private lessons, I charged $45.00 dollars an hour. That's a full hour+ of working with the dog and the owner.
The dogs are easier than the people. You will have to learn how to train the people to work their dogs. If you train the dog, the dog respects YOU.. the owner now has to make that dog respect him and everyone in the family.

I usually took one of my dogs along on lessons. I would let them work my dog for a bit, and I would work theirs, sort of gave the new dog a taste of what was in store... *chuckle*
Believe me, it's not as easy as it looks. That was what every person told me.

Remember, some dogs are dominant because they have been allowed rule the roost for a long time, and now you come along and ohhh ohhhh, you're telling him what to do!.. Dominant aggression sometimes appears here. You really need to know how to handle it.

Training is not a set bunch of instructions. You need to work out every situation that arises. ..


I trained in 3 languages, English, German and Czech.
None of my personal dogs were or are trained in English.
All of my dogs were also cross-trained, obedience/ tracking/ SAR

It could be a wonderful hobby.....but it takes dedication and real understanding of canine behavior to be an effective trainer...


Good luck

Jeannie
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Old 06-26-2004, 05:30 AM
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chuckle Hi Jeannie!!

SOOOOO good to hear from you--sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you ....just haven't had time to think around here lately, but I did read your post right away--thanks for the great suggestions. I was telling my DH that "there's this lady on FamilyCorner that trains dogs--she'd know what to do if I could just remember her name!!" and sure enough---you came through!!

I'm working on looking for those books you listed and Petsmart round here has classes to teach you how to be a trainer--I was thinking about checking those out as well.

As we have 2 dogs of our own--I'd love to learn how to train them properly and thought it would be a great way to earn a little extra income by helping others as well.

Wish me luck!!!!

Thanks Ajrsmom for posting the PM about Jeannie!!!
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Old 06-26-2004, 09:26 PM
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klcrn

I do wish you luck. *smile*
but you are a very long long way from being a professional trainer.... after you have trained and titled several dogs ...you might be ready...by that I mean, getting a CD and CDX from AKC trials.

I have watched the trainers at petsmart and let me tell you they don't handle the dogs.. they are cookie trainers... this does not work ..... it can work for a very timid dog...not a dominant one.
As a professional, you will have to handle adult rotties, german shepherds and everything else in between.. Have you ever handled a 130 lb rottie that's 2 years old, unneutered, and use to having his own way? There is risk.. a high risk here of being bitten... you will have to learn how to use a muzzle... or work with a muzzled dog. Using a muzzle doesn't mean you are totally safe. These dogs will jump and battle with you while wearing a muzzle. There are easier ways of making a living.
But like I said, don't ever consider doing it UNTIL you have successfully trained and titled several of your own dogs and maybe a few of your friends' dogs. These are dogs you know.
That means on leash and off leash work. It must be reliable work off leash.

It's one thing to train a dog you own and know.. it's a totally different thing to handle and train a dog that you don't know.

You never did tell me where you live.... *s*
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Old 06-27-2004, 04:23 AM
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shocking WOW!!

That IS a lot to think about .....sometimes my bright ideas get ahead of my common sense!!

I think part of my problem is that I'm looking for something that I enjoy doing but just can't find out what it is. I get all excited about something then realize that I could easily get in over my head. Not that I don't think I could be a trainer--but I don't always think things out all the way....don't realize all that is involved with it. Thanks for "reminding" me to look at the whole picture!!

Oh--and I live about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh..........Beaver Falls, PA

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Old 06-27-2004, 10:16 AM
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There are several Schutzhund clubs in Pa.
They hold trials.... which include Schutzhund I, II, III etc.
All of these titles include obedience. If you want to see obedience as it should be.. this is the place to see it. They do hold regional and area club trials...

There are many people out there that call themselves dog trainers... I highly doubt that 50 percent of them really are.

Look into Schutzhund Clubs of America
American Working Dog Federation

See their trials and watch their dogs. These dogs are typical of what you will encounter.... see them train and work. These people spend a minimum of 2 hours a day working and training their dogs. They learn from one another....

Let me put it this way, just because you get a driver's license, it doesn't mean you can drive or handle an 18 wheeler.

Another thing I failed to mention is that you are on your feet the whole time and you need the physical strength to battle with a 100 lb dog if you have to...... believe me, you don't know their strength!... A dog can read you very quickly.. if you do not have a more dominant stand than he does, you're in trouble before you start. Dog behavior in a pack .. the leader is most dominant.

If you are hell bent on this, then go to plan A.... train your own dogs and acquire obedience trials....CD and CDX before even considering doing this for a living..... then train a few of your friends' dogs..get them titled. .... and none of this you are paid for by the way.....but always remember, in any training situation, their is always the chance of getting bitten...little dogs can do just as much damage as big ones.....

If you want to do it for the love of animals, get involved with raising a pup for the seeing eye dog groups or for groups that train for handicapped people.....

What I am telling you also is that there is a lot of free training and volunteering before you ever see a dime in dog training.
You have to know what you are doing!... the people are paying good money for a service. You better know how to provide it.
You will have to try an experienced trainer who has had much success, and be an apprentice to that trainer for a while. I could go on and on...but I'llwait for another time..*chuckle*
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