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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone :) I need advice and I respect the opinions of everyone here at the forum... My last career (x ray tech) crashed and burned for several reasons and I am looking to begin a career doing something I LOVE! I have always wanted to be a dog trainer so now I am entertaining the idea of getting certified and doing just that :) And if not that, then maybe as a Vet Assistant so I can still work with animals...

I am ignorant in the world of dog obedience etc and as to what certificates are respected (learned the hard way $25,000 later that my XT license was not respected, hence no job in that field)... I am looking for a shove in the right direction... I contacted a few programs today and have already spoken with a couple of schools... First off: they're all online... That's ok, right? There's a work experience option at one where you log 200 hours as an apprentice after completing didactic training (which I would absolutely do) I am terrified of committing to another field and being screwed again...

The programs are:
Penn Foster: Dog Obedience Training/Instructor
Dog Obedience Trainer/Instructor Diploma | Penn Foster Career School
This is the one that offers the work experience apprenticeship

Ashworth College: Vet Assistant
Veterinary Assistant Training - Ashworth College

Animal Behavior College: Dog Trainer and Vet Assistant programs offered
Dog Training - Dog Trainer Schools, How to Become a Dog Trainer

I am very much so looking forward to all advice on this topic... It's very important to me so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for weighing in :)
 

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Have you checked into local, well respected training facilities in your area? They might be a great resource for direction and a mentor and in the long run there may be an opportunity for a job or referral there?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I live in a pretty small town but that's great advice that I'll look into :)
 
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I personally don't think that online dog training would be the way to go. What I would suggest is contacting some respected training facilities in your area and ask if you could do an unpaid internship with them to gain some hands on experience.

I am very fortunate that the trainer that I hooked up with almost 9 years ago and whose training classes I have taken over that period of time contacted me when she needed an extra in-home trainer. It's something I have always done with my foster puppies, but now I get paid to do it (except when it's foster puppies). This is about as ideal as it could get for me, but 9 years ago I sure wasn't in any position to do this experience-wise.

I still have my full-time job and probably always will because, unless I branch out on my own, there isn't enough money in it for me to survive. And I don't want to branch out on my own, she pays for the insurance and licensing and is the one who enters into the contract with the owners, so she is ultimately responsible in the end. I make a better employee than a boss! LOL
 

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From my understanding, you do not learn much in ABC. This is by word of mouth from another trainer who initially went through it. I would also suggest finding a mentor and working under him/her. Then there is the Karen Pryor Academy, but it is expensive and positive only, if that's what you are interested in. Check out NADOI is you are interested in balanced or traditional training.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So you don't think it's worth having a certificate? That experience is more important? I live in a small town so I'm pretty sure the closest facility is 45 min away In Chesapeake, Va... I have to research that more, however... Thank you SO MUCH for your advice! I really appreciate it :)

Oh... Are certificates required to work FOR a training facility?

Thanks!
 

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Our trainer also works with the local animal shelter. They foster difficult to adopt dogs and train them so they can find furever homes. Maybe if you volunteer at your local shelter you could make some contacts there as well?

Also, my trainer started out with puppies, house training and basic manners so they could be adopted quickly as well. You already have real life experience with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
From my understanding, you do not learn much in ABC. This is by word of mouth from another trainer who initially went through it. I would also suggest finding a mentor and working under him/her. Then there is the Karen Pryor Academy, but it is expensive and positive only, if that's what you are interested in. Check out NADOI is you are interested in balanced or traditional training.
What do you mean by positive only? Thanks!
 

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You don't need to go to school to be a vet assistant. I am one and I got my job in high school. I've been working there ever since. It's a great job, but personally I still want to be the vet. Great for getting hands on experience.
 
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So you don't think it's worth having a certificate? That experience is more important? I live in a small town so I'm pretty sure the closest facility is 45 min away In Chesapeake, Va... I have to research that more, however... Thank you SO MUCH for your advice! I really appreciate it :)

Oh... Are certificates required to work FOR a training facility?

Thanks!
Me as a dog owner, I don't care about a piece of paper. I care that you are capable, able to train me and my dog, are kind and willing to keep trying things until we find what works for our specific situation no matter how long that may take. Bentley goes to a facility that trains, daycare, boarding, grooming, etc. His trainers, the owner and another, run everything. I know the owner went to an academy to train military dogs and the other was a vet tech who interned with a vet behaviorist. It's how they treat me and Bentley that has made me stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Our trainer also works with the local animal shelter. They foster difficult to adopt dogs and train them so they can find furever homes. Maybe if you volunteer at your local shelter you could make some contacts there as well?

Also, my trainer started out with puppies, house training and basic manners so they could be adopted quickly as well. You already have real life experience with that.
Working with difficult to place dogs from our local shelter IS something I am VERY interested in doing :)
 

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and River!
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You can become an APDT certified trainer, which is probably one of the most well-respected and recognized training programs available.

Dog Trainer Certification

The program requires (if I remember correctly) that you get a trainer as a mentor for 300 hours and help teach a class (like a puppy class), then you take the online test to become a CPDT-KA (certified pet dog trainer--knowledge assessed). There are other levels of certification available as well.

If you're new to the world of dog training, research Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Sophia Yin, Victoria Stilwell (Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog"), Zak George ("SuperFetch"), KikoPup on Youtube, Karen Pryor's books on clicker training (ex. "Don't Shoot the Dog"), "Click for Joy" by Melissa Alexander.

Here's a list of other recommended books:
Recommended clicker training and dog training books

I'm showing you clicker training or "dog friendly" training references, because that's what I believe is best. :) I'm sure others will have their own opinions about the best methods to use, but there's my opinion for you. Hope it's helpful!

I've heard that Animal Behavior College is a scam or a waste of time, but I don't know either of the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You can become an APDT certified trainer, which is probably one of the most well-respected and recognized training programs available.

Dog Trainer Certification

The program requires (if I remember correctly) that you get a trainer as a mentor for 300 hours and help teach a class (like a puppy class), then you take the online test to become a CPDT-KA (certified pet dog trainer--knowledge assessed). There are other levels of certification available as well.

If you're new to the world of dog training, research Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Sophia Yin, Victoria Stilwell (Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog"), Zak George ("SuperFetch"), KikoPup on Youtube, Karen Pryor's books on clicker training (ex. "Don't Shoot the Dog"), "Click for Joy" by Melissa Alexander.

Here's a list of other recommended books:
Recommended clicker training and dog training books

I'm showing you clicker training or "dog friendly" training references, because that's what I believe is best. :) I'm sure others will have their own opinions about the best methods to use, but there's my opinion for you. Hope it's helpful!

I've heard that Animal Behavior College is a scam or a waste of time, but I don't know either of the others.
WONDERFUL advice! Thank you!
 

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OK Just from reading your post I think you have a lot you need to do before you can even begin to be a dog trainer. First of all read up on most if not all of the different types of dog training theories so you can get a feel for the type of training methods you prefer. Since you aren't familiar with basic concepts such as positive training methods you have a lot of fundamental work to do.
Secondly, there is nothing better than hands on experience. That means training multiple types of dogs, not just Goldens, with different types of temperaments. I personally would never go to a trainer that supposedly "learned" to train dogs on the internet.
If you are committed to dog training as a profession that means you may need to make some sacrifices and travel to other areas where you can apprentice with a respected trainer. Living in a small town should not prevent you from doing what you really want to do but it may mean you need to work harder to be successful.
Most people who are good at dog training have taken years to develop their skills of communication both with the dogs and with their people.
Do the ground work, lots of reading and working with various dogs, so that you will know basic training methods and theories when you meet with a potential trainer that will take you on as a mentor.
Good Luck in whatever you choose!
 

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and River!
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WONDERFUL advice! Thank you!
No problem. :) Everyone has to start somewhere. Read everything you can get your hands on. Go to Dr. Ian Dunbar's website and read articles and his online books (DogStarDaily.com). Watch "It's Me or the Dog." Read about how Cesar Millan (aka The Dog Whisperer) uses flawed and outdated alpha/dominance approaches.

http://beyondcesarmillan.weebly.com/

I love Dr. Ian Dunbar and Zak George in particular because they show you that you can teach a dog to understand english, rather than trying to speak to a dog in flawed "wolf-ese" when no one else in the world is going to communicate with your dog that way. We need to teach dogs to live in OUR world, not try to fit into the world of dogs and wolves ourselves. We're not dogs or wolves!

Karen Pryor's books are really interesting because she actually started off as a horse and dolphin trainer. She used to use choke chains and aversive training methods, but soon realized that there was no way she could ever apply these to an animal as large as a horse or dolphin. So, she developed clicker training as a method of communicating with an animal that she liked certain behaviors (which would be rewarded with food), and didn't like other behaviors (which would be ignored). Later she applied it to dogs.
 

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Positive training refers to only using the 2 quadrants of operant conditioning: positive reinforcement (food, praise) and negative punishment (ignoring, etc). Also clicker training is most often included. You generally start with food as a reward, called a primary reinforcer.

Balanced training includes at least positive punishment -- corrections, as well as negative reinforcement. You also use positive reinforcement and negative punishment.
Sorry, still sounds complicated.

Scroll down to styles of dog training: Dog training - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Victoria Stilwell is a well know positive dog trainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks everyone! I am not ignorant when it comes to hands on experience, but I absolutely am when it comes to all different styles and jargon; and that's what I'm seeking help with :) I am so appreciative of everyone who took the time to read my entire post and give helpful advice!!!!
 
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