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I was wondering which one dog training association would be the best to go with to become certified and would give me the best training to become a trainer. Does it matter that I want to also train dogs when I move out of the country too?
 

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Fenris, you've shown a high interest in working with animals and dogs in particular.

I read this article, Becoming A Dog Trainer. This requires enormous time, effort, and money you'd have to invest, and you have to count the money you won't be earning while you go through this.

Learning how to become a certified trainer strikes me as a passion project, but not a career that will provide the majority of people with a sustainable income. Nice for a side hustle, but "don't give up your day job" applies until & if you build up a reputation and steady referrals. This could take years and tons of networking. I was thinking that learning a specialty in training would give anyone an edge; more on that in a moment.

For another avenue that could bring you satisfaction and contacts, read these:

Differences Between a Vet Tech and Vet Assistant
Techs have a higher income

Accredited Vet Tech programs
There are five of these in your state. These require at least a 2 year Associate Degree. Pays more than a Vet Assistant.

Accredited Vet Assistant programs - one is in Renton, WA
29 credit hours, full cost of program in the $8K range

If you go for the Vet Tech or Vet Assistant career, make sure they are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). You could give clients (if the head vet agrees) your business card as a trainer.

Also with your own dog (doesn't matter the breed as long as it's a breed that's highly trainable), you can take it to sports classes in agility, tricks, etc. That's another avenue for learning the trade.

Specialties: I'll guess that someone who knows how to train dogs for the blind is in demand and paid well. A place like that might welcome and love to have you volunteer or be an apprentice. Also learning how to train dogs for the police, military, and scent work in finding narcotics, bombs, people buried under earthquakes, cancer, etc. I imagine that those specialties are lucrative.

Gradually setting yourself up to have a steady income from a sustainable job, then add on the becoming a trainer dream. In the meantime you can study Zak or Kikopup, and later set up a monetized YouTube channel like theirs.

In doing a variety of things strategically, you'll meet people who want your services as a private or small group dog trainer. You can take those skills to other places in the US or other countries, particularly as a Vet Tech. As a trainer, you'd want to live in a city with an economically thriving population who are able to pay for this, b/c for most people, it is a luxury especially in a pandemic or a recession.
 

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I have to agree Vita's post is spot on. I would also think being an accredited vet tech to be a good choice. And the good part is you can probably have a part time job in a vet office while you go to school, plus you will be around all sort of dogs and other animals.
 

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Vita, that鈥檚 a wonderful answer. Fenris you would gain a lot experience as an accredited vet tech as well as earn a living.

One of the top nose work trainers in my area, who I train with is a full time vet tech. My other trainer,who is perhaps the best and most experienced in nose work is a full time veterinarian who also does tracking for lost people and cadavers.

You can have a full time job while you prepare yourself to become a quality dog trainer with the credentials to indicate your superior skill set. It will take several years, lots of experience and dedication. It can also stem from showing your skills by earning titles on your own dog. Being an accredited vet tech will enhance your ability to achieve your goal.

I train and compete in several dog sports and quite a few of my friends are veterinarians, dog groomers and vet techs. These are people who found a way to earn a living working with animals and training them too.

There are other options but this is a good one if you lean this way.
 

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I know you are in a hard transiitIonal moment and I also know you have worked very hard to learn some solid training techniques. I do agree though that you have to be able to make a livable wage and have reliable enough income to support furthering your education. I think a vet tech degree to get you a good main gig coupled to training yourself further as a trainer sounds like a great strategy.

For myself as you all know I recently became a CDPT-KA certified trainer, but I am doing this close to the end of my main career (32+ years as a college biology professor). I want to have a bit more freedom to set my hours and amount of work and private training plus my club and the classes I teach there are providing me with the mechanism to retire from my full time position. I anticipate it will take at least another year to build up enough pet community connections to make a decent amount of $$ from private trainings to give notice at the college.

I don't know much of anything about NADOI but I did poke around at their website. From what I see there their criteria are not nearly so rigorous as CCPDT or Karen Pryor Academy. I don't know that I would invest effort or money there. I looked at the members trainers for NY and NJ and only recognized one person (and I know them well) who is okay but not a fabulous trainer in my experience.
 

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I had someone recently ask me why I don't work with animals professionally, since I'm obviously so crazy about them. My reply is that so many animals have people problems. I would find it soul-draining to deal with a stream of clients wondering why their terrier is excavating the backyard and killing baby bunnies. Um, maybe because you have three kids under the age of 5, you put the dog in the yard unsupervised, and it's a terrier?
 

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cowpony yes it is often harder to deal with the people than the dogs. My current new dog is a nice dog with a very nice but soft hearted owner who doesn't have clear criteria for him. She truly wants him to improve the three things (poor recall, barking the fence line and getting into the car) and I have no doubt that she will do the homework I give her and that there will be success, but I've also had people come to novice classes and never work the dog between the lessons. I've also had people hire me to work with their dogs in their home and start by telling me one or two things they needed help with when it turned out to be much more complex than I was originally led to believe and as soon as they decided they understood my techniques they dropped working with me in a really inconsiderate way by cancelling one day last minute after I was already on the road to their home (about 30 minutes drive), didn't pay for that session and then never called me again.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, peeps, for chiming in. I was getting ahead of myself. I don't even have the money to do this right now and I'm about to start school in the winter and I don't have a dog. I could still work when I start school, but I have heard that if you really don't have to, you shouldn't. I might want to look into this again after I'm working as an occupational therapist and have the money. I did think about becoming a vet tech, but OT pays more.
 

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Yes, focus on your current and main educational goal right now. One of the biggest concerns I have with my students is that they spread themselves too thin. It seems like education always suffers.
 
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I wonder if you could use your cats to add to your training resume while you are in school...? DMWYD offers Trick "Dog" titles to cats and other animals. It's all online, and the title certificates aren't very expensive.

Our cat used to be trained to sit, down, come, and give a paw on command... I suspect with a clicker it would be easy enough to train a novice trick title. I certainly would be impressed if someone applied for a dog training job, or was a dog trainer, and listed the titles that their cats had. Plus it would be great for practicing your timing and getting creative. I think if you can train cats, you can train anything.
 

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You're getting good advice above, Fenris, and it sounds like you recognized your limits. Best to focus on your OT schooling and knock that out of the park. We're rooting for you!
 
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