How To Become A Service Dog Trainer

Becoming a service dog trainer requires two initial things: loving dogs (as well as all animals), and wanting to help those in need.

Once you have these two requirements, then it is time to figure out exactly how to become a service dog trainer.

How To Become A Service Dog Trainer

A service dog trainer trains the dogs to provide assistance to those who need help in their day-to-day lives.

Whilst you might think that a general training school will be good enough, they do not provide the exact training that you will need.

Whilst training dogs is generally a helpful skill to have, you will need to know how to work alongside those with disabilities, as well as understand their daily needs.

When you know how to do that, you can help to form a different kind of bond between the dog and a person.

This is because they will need to know how to work as a team, rather than one person as a commander.

Also, whilst basic dog training is all about doing a job and then perhaps never seeing the dog again, with service dog training you will be in contact for years.

This is to ensure that the job is sticking to its duties, and making sure that the owner is working well alongside the pooch – also, disabilities may change and develop overtime, so situations will need to be assessed. 

If this is the sort of challenge that you are after, then it may just be the career for you. Read on to find out more about becoming a service dog trainer. 

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Service Dog Trainer?

To become a service dog trainer, you don’t need any qualifications.

Whilst this might seem odd seeing as it is a business that requires plenty of trust, there are other ways to build up skills and experience. 

The reason having the correct skills is important is because a dog who isn’t trained properly could cause serious problems for the disabled person. 

Not only that, the industry itself isn’t big, therefore you will want to make a good impression, otherwise word of mouth could potentially get you no work if you make mistakes.

To be hired to train service dogs can be difficult because the process can be very selective.

With this in mind, there are still a few things to do before you can become a fully fledged service dog trainer.

Also, despite not needing any qualifications, it is worth studying dog training or doing an apprenticeship. 

What Skills Are Needed To Become A Service Dog Trainer?

Even though there are no particular qualifications that you need to become a service dog trainer, you will need to make sure you acquire the skills and necessary experience. 

You can’t expect to get a job training dogs without any prior experience. Two of the key things to look at are:

Having an understanding of disabled people.

You will want to know how a service dog can help them in their day-to-day lives, and how you can train dogs to work alongside something like a disability. 

The other thing is having the actual experience to train a dog.

If you have never done it before, or have only tried the basics, then you have a long way to go before you can become a service dog trainer.

A dog needs to be able to listen to your commands every time, and not just on the odd occasion. With the correct experience, you can learn how to do it properly. 

So, let’s take a look at both of these in more detail. 

Knowledge About Disabled People Is Key

Knowledge About Disabled People Is Key

If you don’t know anything about disabled people, then it is time to start learning.

You will want to have a thorough understanding of their needs, and be able to see how a trained dog can help them.

One way to do this is by becoming a volunteer who works with disabled people.

You can find organizations local to you by doing a quick search on Google.

Doing this will help you to work alongside disabled people, learn the right way to speak to them, as well as learn about their challenges respectively, and build a relationship with them to earn your trust.

Understanding disability as a whole is key too.

You will want to know about how it can progress, whether for better or worse, and how a dog can fit into their lifestyle to help.

Basic Skills Of Dog Training

The biggest thing you will want to learn is how to train a dog. Initially you will learn the basics which can be done if you own a dog, but you will need to learn extensive dog training skills for such a role.

Learning this will also help you to understand whether a dog is suitable too. This way you won’t waste time training an unsuitable dog.

One of the ways to learn this is by becoming an apprentice at a dog training academy. You can also go back to school and do a suitable course.

One of the best is the Bergin University of Canine Studies in California. 

However, there are other places too, so a quick Google search will help. They offer positions that are entry level, and can help you find an apprenticeship too. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a service dog trainer is very rewarding. Through the challenges of the job, you are helping disabled people to have a much better life.

Whilst you don’t need qualifications, you still cannot just rush into the job – it won’t happen.

Having the necessary skills under your belt will set you up for success and a rewarding career.

Take advantage of any dog training courses and apprenticeships that come your way, and don’t be afraid to seek them out too.

This could include traveling to a well-known school to learn as much as you can.

The more skills and knowledge you have, which also includes volunteering with the disabled, the better. 

Anna Granger
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