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Discussion Starter #1
Have not been posting much as so busy. Unfortunately work is downsizing and the writing is on the wall concerning my job. It may be 6 months, it may be a year or maybe part time first. I am in I.T. but since I've been here for 10 years would need to upgrade my education to compete. I cannot really get another job here because it would be desktop support only and I do server work too so I get paid more for that. Frankly, I'm sick of it all and would really love to change my career at age 50...

Also unfortunately I have an arthritic foot which one day will need to be fused (from an accident) so over use will create a lot of pain. I don't think I could be a 'dog walker'. I'd have to be a trainer. Right now I get steroid shots in it which helps.

I am thinking of signing up for a 12 week course at the local humane society called the Canine Behaviour Academy and it is $700. It may help in my area but am wondering what else can I do towards this goal? I am thinking of trying to go into business for myself if I get laid off....

Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just bumping up in case anyone has any suggestions. thanks, K
 

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You could look into taking a business management course? It could give you a lot of in sight as to what it takes to open your own business, etc.

What would you do with Canine Behaviour course? Would you like to train dogs? It could be tough on you if you get a dog who is jumping and trying to drag you with a leash or something.
 

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You might be able to find out some free "small business" seminars around. My friend was laid off, and he attended some of these where he got good pointers.

Lots of the trainers I've met made career changes (planned or otherwise) to dog training. I wish you the best of luck!
 

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It is really useful to join the APDT. I also think interning with an excellent area trainer who has the credential CPDT-KA could be better than some of the courses out there. Then, after 200 hours of teaching, you can take the CPDT test yourself. One of the big issues with training is the facility issue. Unless you have one of your own, 40/60 splits are common. Definitely, get out there and take some classes in Rally O, Canine Good Citizen etc. Observe the trainer's techniques and build a network. Being respected by other trainers is crucial bc they will refer to you if they trust your work. Never ever take a case you arent sure if you have the skills for. There is a reading list for Trainers on Dogwise, and a CPDT reading list
 
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The only question or caution I have to throw out there is - for your state in life, do you need a high paid job? The dog trainers I take lessons from tend to have day jobs or rely on other income (spouse, retirement, etc).

The other thing is that you have to decide what you want to focus (pet training or competition training). And whatever you train, you need to excel at with your dogs. This means you need to continue your education and take classes and attend seminars with your dogs or routinely assist with other trainers. Hence the need for a day job.

If you do pet training - be ready for a lot of heartache, stress, and frustration in dealing with people. My sister assisted at dog classes for a few years, and she loved and hated puppy class and ob1 for the reason that you can tell people how to train but they don't have to listen to you.

If you do competition training - you absolutely must have the credentials (years of training and titling dogs) and experience with dealing with different kinds of dogs and different kinds of people.

^^^ I realize this sounds really negative, but I felt it had to be thrown out there before you slap $700 down.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all for the good advice...lots to think about and research. Nothing would happen until next year. I did run a small I.T. business for a few years so I do know how expensive it is to go into business. Physically I just cannot do miles of walking (otherwise would become a dog walker). I am not interested in training for competition....it would take too long to catch up as I've never done it myself. I do need to make a lot of money and would have to start this part time. I'm thinking more of private training for people with problem dogs or puppy training for people who have to work. I just don't know where I am headed quite frankly but will check out all of the above suggestions. Thank you again. Kimberly
 

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talk show host! hehe jk would be cool though.. it is amazing for people to change careers later in life.. in my social work class i was surprised the first day to learn i am one of the youngest (at 22) and it's awesome to find something you enjoy more and suits you personally.. i think the dog trainer would be awesome, but i'm sure there are a lot of other dog related careers out there that you may not know about.. i think definitely more research would be great, you might find something you hadn't even thought of :)
 

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Hi Angelina - I am also in IT, and my future in the next 12 - 18 months is uncertain. I have over 20 years of experience, and looks like the IT as I know it, is all going overseas or is being thought of more as "manufacturing" than developing.

From day one, I always wanted to be in a field with animals but could never think of something that I could actually make a decent living on. I will be interested in following this thread too.
 

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Hi Cubbysan...we are in the same boat! When I think about going back to school to upgrade my tech skills I fill ill..I am just sick of it! At 50 this would be my 'last' career change and it should be something I enjoy! I just need to figure out a way to tap into the animal care industry. We have a wealthy client base in this area. I will let you know how it goes....
 

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Nothing constructive to add except hugs for your job situation :( and prayers that the right opportunity comes to you.

Well, maybe one thing to add: how about training/coaching for competitive trail riding?
 

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We have a wealthy client base in this area.
I was going to bring this point up, too. I also live in the SF Bay area and know trainers that only give training classes for pets and they do pretty good income wise. They're not millionaires, but they don't have any other jobs.

Don't know if you'd be interested, but groomers in our area do really well. Especially mobile groomers. I worked as a dispatcher/manager a few years ago and my groomers were making $1,000/wk not including tips. And the tips were pretty good, $10.00 to $20.00 per appt. You can average about 8 appts per day if you know how to schedule correctly. I had a groomer that could groom a Yorkie in 30 minutes and they looked great. She used to do, on average, 10 appts a day. We used the sprinter vans:

Mobile Grooming Vans, Grooming Trailers & Sprinter Grooming Van and WH Grooming Trailer by Hanvey Specialty Engineering


We went from one van to four vans in less than a year. And we were turning appts away. When people know that you are good with their pets, groom their dogs the way they like and treat them well, they will be super loyal. We would charge $125.00 for a Golden, $85.00 for a Shih-tzu, (and like breeds), $200.00 for a Chow, (it was matted to the skin, so it was a shave down), and people would pay it with a smile on their faces.

A lot of the pets are seniors that don't do well at groom shops. So that part of it is nice, also. I would do it but I was bit one time really bad and had to go to the hospital, (my manager's dog). Since then I'm really leery around strange dogs and when you're in a van alone with a dog, you have to feel very comfortable around them. At my last job, we had a groomer that was 75 years old and still grooming, so age really doesn't matter. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all. Kwit I use to groom poodles when I was a kid. Something to think about. How would one go about learning how to do it? PennysMom people in the endurance world do that now for free. Usually they are top riders with many horses that need to be ridden. That is how I started; I was lucky enough to be mentored by a very nice top tenner who knew how to have FUN while taking care of his horse. Many competitive riders have lost the 'fun' part and get too stressed out. I use to crew for some Tevis riders, also top ten and was shocked at the difference.

All good suggestions...keep them coming! I just want to be outside, make between $100 - $150 a day 20 days a week and work with animals! Ah, life. (remember, the cost of living here is astronomical!).
 

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I was going to bring this point up, too. I also live in the SF Bay area and know trainers that only give training classes for pets and they do pretty good income wise. They're not millionaires, but they don't have any other jobs.

Don't know if you'd be interested, but groomers in our area do really well. Especially mobile groomers. I worked as a dispatcher/manager a few years ago and my groomers were making $1,000/wk not including tips. And the tips were pretty good, $10.00 to $20.00 per appt. You can average about 8 appts per day if you know how to schedule correctly. I had a groomer that could groom a Yorkie in 30 minutes and they looked great. She used to do, on average, 10 appts a day. We used the sprinter vans:

Mobile Grooming Vans, Grooming Trailers & Sprinter Grooming Van and WH Grooming Trailer by Hanvey Specialty Engineering


We went from one van to four vans in less than a year. And we were turning appts away. When people know that you are good with their pets, groom their dogs the way they like and treat them well, they will be super loyal. We would charge $125.00 for a Golden, $85.00 for a Shih-tzu, (and like breeds), $200.00 for a Chow, (it was matted to the skin, so it was a shave down), and people would pay it with a smile on their faces.

A lot of the pets are seniors that don't do well at groom shops. So that part of it is nice, also. I would do it but I was bit one time really bad and had to go to the hospital, (my manager's dog). Since then I'm really leery around strange dogs and when you're in a van alone with a dog, you have to feel very comfortable around them. At my last job, we had a groomer that was 75 years old and still grooming, so age really doesn't matter. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.
I looked into going to grooming school about 15 years ago. There used to be a popular one north of Boston, it was expensive, but sounded pretty intensive and was about a year long. Many of the students I met were transitioning from other careers: law, finance, etc.

I did not realize groomers did so well.

My dream has always been to open a do it yourself dog wash. One thing that has always scared me off is liability issues, for either the dog itself or the dog hurting another customer or dog.
 

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Another good idea although the Pet Express stores around here have tapped into that industry. They have a coin operated self service pet washing area which is also reasonably priced. They invested quite a bit into their state of the art equipment as well...
 

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Hi Cubbysan...we are in the same boat! When I think about going back to school to upgrade my tech skills I fill ill..I am just sick of it! At 50 this would be my 'last' career change and it should be something I enjoy! I just need to figure out a way to tap into the animal care industry. We have a wealthy client base in this area. I will let you know how it goes....

I am 46, the youngest in my field here, but unfortunately we are all now considered "too expensive". I work on a legacy application, so I am scared. I am safe for now, but who knows what a year or two will bring. I see the new technology, and I don't believe it is better than what we have, it is just cheaper. If I went back to school for IT, I would not even know what to go back for, and think it might be just a waste of money.

The people older than me, are mostly taking early retirements. My cubemate is retireing at 59 1/2 and is going to volunteer all his time to cat rescue group. He is burnt out.
 

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What about opening up a nice store that sells pet items?

The biggest complaint I've heard from dog groomers is that it is a physically tough job. You are on your feet, bending over, lifting dogs, etc.

As far as dog training I think the best way is to get experience by being mentored by a trainer you like. I would ask people in the field and spend time with them to know if it is the lifestyle you would like. Realize that you are not actually training dogs...but training people. I don't believe it is a very highly paid field unless you are at the top tier of trainers with loads of experience. Also the hours tend to be odd because you have to accommodate to the work schedules of your clients.
 

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Dog Walkers

I know there is a lady that walks dogs in my area. She charges $17 for 30 minutes for two dogs. If she gets all of her clients in the same area, it isn't much gas.
 

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Another good idea although the Pet Express stores around here have tapped into that industry. They have a coin operated self service pet washing area which is also reasonably priced. They invested quite a bit into their state of the art equipment as well...
Yeah, I worked for them for 5 years. Good company.

A mobile grooming company is hiring out of Walnut Creek and I believe they train:

Mobile Groomer

There's a grooming school in Lodi and also in San Jose. They're pretty expensive from what I've heard plus I really don't even know if they're still in operation:

Madeline's Pet Grooming Salon & Institute 8009623354 Santa Clara CA 95051

Allen’s Academy of Dog Grooming
3910 East Morse Rd
Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 607-6222

There are also on line grooming schools. The best thing to do, IMO, is find a mentor and work/volunteer part-time learning from them. But find someone you trust, maybe by word of mouth from other pet owners you know.
 
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