Dogs are one of the most popular and common domestic companion species. In a 2019 survey, the results revealed that 40% of UK households had companion animals, and 25% of UK households contained at least one dog. Due to species differences, social conventions, and to ensure harmony in the family, these dogs need to learn how to co-exist with us, as it does not come naturally. This means that all dogs need some extent of training.
This training can come in the form of an informed and considerate guardian – the easiest answer to how to get into dog training as a guardian is to find some good advice from recommended professionals and give it a go. There are excellent books, videos, and pet guardian courses available, although care should be taken to ensure that the methods used are kind and do not involve punishment, fear, or pain. Training dogs effectively and kindly is a skill, and that fact needs keeping in mind when considering how to get into dog training, to ensure that you are doing the best for the dogs in your family.
Maybe however you want to do more than training with your own dogs. The question then becomes how to get into dog training as a professional? The first question to ask is what kind of dog trainer you would like to be. There are a number of different approaches to dog training, with different methods of teaching the dog and different ethical stances. The industry as it stands is unregulated, meaning that effectively anyone can start up as a trainer, regardless of their knowledge level, abilities, or attitude towards how they treat animals. Careful research is required to select a trainer for help with teaching a dog, and so it is obvious that it is best to learn to be the best trainer you can be.
Perhaps a better question we should be asking is how to get into dog training in a way that benefits the dogs? Education is key. To work as an effective and kind dog trainer (also known as a canine coach in some places) means understanding dogs, why they do what they do and how they communicate what they are feeling. There is a range of fantastic courses available from a number of education providers that can provide that information and a route to follow of how to get into dog training.
The cautions surrounding types of trainer to select for your own dogs follows into education as a dog trainer. The world needs more of the kind end ethical kind to balance out the out-dated and ill-informed still sticking to using disproved methods and cruel measures to subdue and frighten dogs into ‘good behaviour’ rather than choosing understanding and science to show dogs what we would like from them to enable us all to live as happy family units.
Maybe the best question of all to ask is not how to get into dog training, but rather how can I learn to help make this the best possible world for the dogs that I meet?.