Dog training as a job

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by KhayNette, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. KhayNette

    KhayNette New Member

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    Well i had a baby young, now that he is getting older it's time to start thinking of a career. I am wondering, where would i start with something like that? Would love in the future to be training service dogs or police dogs. Does anyone know what kind of money is in it, where one would start, and if it's easy to get and keep jobs or not? Thanks
     
  2. RawFedDogs

    RawFedDogs New Member

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    If you have a service dog training facility near you, go there and do volunteer work. You will need A LOT of training experience to train police dogs. Usually police dog trainers come from the military.

    There is not much money. It is very difficult to make a living training dogs. If you are completely inexperienced you need to find a trainer who will hire you as an apprentice. Another good place to start is Petsmart. They used to hire inexperienced trainers and train them. I don't know if they still do. You will get to work with a LOT of dogs of all breeds if you train there. I trained for Petsmart for 2 years a LONG time ago. I was part time and held 6 classes a week with around 10 dogs in each class. Its a good place to get experience.

    I have been retired from dog training for about 5 years now so I don't know how the job market is but it's always been real difficult for inexperienced trainers to get a job.
     
  3. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I train service dogs, and I'll tell you that nobody does it for the money. :) I've talked to lots of organizations, and while it varies a little bit based on location, most organizations pay apprentices $20-$25K. Training directors with a ton of experience will usually make around $35-$40K. You'll also work a lot of extra hours without overtime pay (last week I worked 62 hours, though usually I work about 45). Benefits (insurance and such) are not very good, especially if you're used to working with a large company. And of course it's physically strenuous.

    Of course there are a lot of perks; we do most of our shopping during the work day because the dogs have to have practice working in public. My personal favorite is the mandatory "movie theater" outing... dogs HAVE to learn to sit quietly through an entire movie. :)

    Now, I personally, can't see myself doing anything BUT training service dogs in the future, I absolutely LOVE my job. But it's something I've dreamed about since I was 12, and worked toward my entire adult life. We have had trainers start working here just because they think it'd be a fun change or something, and they end up not staying for long because you have to really have the drive for it to stick with it.

    Like someone said above, the best thing to do is to start volunteering for a service dog organization. We work with so many volunteers, we can tell within a few days of working with you whether you would be worth hiring. :) And we'd always rather hire a long-time volunteer, rather than someone we've never worked with. Most organizations have very few openings for trainers, but have more openings for kennel techs - the people who take care of the health, hygene, and physical well-being of the dogs (feeding, medicating, cleaning, exercising, grooming, etc.) - so that would be a good place for you to start. Those jobs are usually part-time and pay less than a trainer, but it's a great way to get your foot in the door. We hired a kennel tech last year and promoted her to trainer after only about 3 months, because we saw that she was talented... we didn't even officially have a trainer position open when we promoted her.

    If volunteering is not an option, getting training experience through other means is always a good idea. You can apprentice with a trainer in your area, or with Petsmart. While you're working, you should read all the training books you can get your hands on, go to seminars, and get a certification.


    Good luck!
     
  4. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    Well actually...police dog trainers are usually police dog handlers...Unless you're very well connected or planning a career in law enforcement, you can pretty much plan on not training police dogs.

    As for service dogs, Lizzy is the one to ask and I have nothing to add to her post. :D

    Even if you go for training pets, you'll do much better if you apprentice with someone first. And making money at is difficult. If you work for a company, you'll get hourly or commission or a combination of the two. If you work for yourself, you'll need a location, you'll need insurance, you'll need to market yourself all of which can be quite costly and it takes time to build a name sufficient to gain business. It also depends on what is already in your area for training and whether or not the market is saturated.
     
  5. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Oh yeah, I forgot. I know two guys that were former K9 handlers. To get that gig - in my friends' departments, anyway - you just have to be a good cop with some political connections. You do not have to have any good feelings towards dogs or any training talent whatsoever. You also only get to work with one dog, after your dog retires you go back to your old job.... or whatever position your political connection manages to get for you next.

    Though from what I understand, most K9s come to the States from Europe, bred and partially trained for the job. I know some departments get dogs from rescues, so I assume there is a paid position involved in evaluating potential dogs.
     
  6. KhayNette

    KhayNette New Member

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    Wow thanks for all the information.The police dog thing is a little dissapointing...that would be a teriffic thing to do lol but I'm not interested in actually being in law enforcement. Maybe chasing people down would be cool but that shouldn't be why someone gets into something like that lol. Kind of like my boyfriend's mother, puts through applications for the college. One girl said she wants to be a paramedic because she likes driving fast and flashing lights. Scary to say the least lol. I've really been thinking about it and service dog training is not something I've ever thought of, but it would be a very fulfilling career, even if there isn't much money in it. Happiness is more important than money. Only problem for me is there are no service dog training institutions where I live, even though we are the biggest city in northern bc....there should be one here. There really should be. I know some people that really could use one. There are other kinds of trainers though, agility, obedience; That would be good enough experience starting out I think. We aren't planning on living here forever. I don't know if i could handle working in petsmart (we only have a petland here anyway) just because the petland has a constant 3 walls full of puppies. I don't agree with puppies being sold in pet stores, for various reasons and I think I would not last long there lol people would get sick of my moaning about all these poor pups. Anyways, thanks alot, it's been very helpful :)
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    The first thing I'd suggest is to train your own dog.... get into training classes, sports clubs, and/or any other activities that are interesting to you. This is partly for you to build experience, but mainly for you to network with other trainers. When you find one you like - and make a good impression by always being on time and prepared for class, doing your homework, and just generally acting interested in the lesson - you can talk to the trainer about apprenticing and/or getting a job with them. Good luck!
     

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