Re: How to become a dog trainer

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HI, Im Denise and have a dog training business. We are currenly taining approximately 90 dogs per week. This usually rises to around 120 after Crufts. We have 7 instructors, allbut one,  ex-customers. So I hope that I can help you achieve your ambition. 

I find mostly that confidence when teaching, comes from a self belief that the knowledge you have is worthy of the effort it takes, to dispense it.

To train dogs (people) you have to have many people skills. It is the people that you teach primarily. Yes, you have to be able to spot relationship problems between dog and owners and you have to have an understanding of how dogs work and think and learn, but mostly it is about delivering your knowledge in an interesting and hopefully entertaining way, that keeps the attention of your audience. Your human audience.

To train a dog well you have to be able to deliver something knew, in a clear, concise and stimulating way that is understandable for that particular dog. With respect to its prior learning and its ability to learn. One dog may learn one activity easily, while a different dog finds the same task very difficult. 

It is exactly the same process with people. Except that in a class situation, you have to deal with all those learning abilities at once. And deal with the dogs or help the owners deal with the dogs, at the same time. 

Before becomming a dog trainer, I was very fortunate enough to go on the following non dog training courses via my previous proffesion. I find that all of these have helped me to some degree in my current role. Look to see if you can find anything similar, in addition to the course you are due to attend.

The psychology of learning (diffeent people learn in different ways. ie visually, auditorally, imaginatively, via understandable analogy)
Training the trainer (Teaching someone else, to teach someone else).
Meditaiton and self hypnosis techniques. Great for staying calm and knowing that no matter what may happen around you, you are still calm inside.  Easier said than done sometimes 🙂
Presentation skills (Several different courses)
Public speaking
Man Management skills. Motivation, stimulation, and building trust.
Crisis management. Usefull for when the shi* hits the fan  😉
Crisis news media management. Usefull when really massive shi* hits massive fans. 😉
Self confidence and self control.
About twelve different dog taining courses, seminars etc., with various different dog proffesionals.

More than anything thoough,  you have to really believe in yourself and your aquired knowledge, whilst remaining open to aquisition of new skills, learning from others,  new techniques and progressive thinking.

My main advice would be to goto lots of other peoples dog training courses and try to get involved.

Some of my customersevolve into instructors, over a long period of time. First they show particular ability with their own dog, they show commitment to new learning, they show an aptitude for people communication, they show and express an interest in becoming an instructor.

Then they come to all of our classes and start to get involved and bit by bit, they start taking a part of a class thet they are confident with under suervision, then when they feel and I feel they are ready, they take a whole class. Then a whole course. This can take anything from 6 months to 18 months, in my experience.  They are encouraged to take on new learning and to introduce new methods where we are all satisfied that it is good. They also spend time with me and each other watching my and their classes to aquire new techniques and provide critiques to other instructors.

We regularly train, eat and walk our dogs together, so that we can talk about new ideas and air concerns or differing opinions.

In my view if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well. You will only be confident in your own ability once you are confident in your own ability if that makes sense. So start with your own dog, then someone elses class, then get involved.

And stay focussed on your intent., yes it is scarey and it is frought with self doubt, but everyone has doubt about their ability to do something, until they have actually done it!

I remember my very first class – I was sick and couldn’t eat for days. Now I cant run a class without eating  ;D

Remember how you felt before you started your own business? Scared right? How do you feel now its up and running ? Less scared right……? Same with dog taining 🙂

Usefull non doggy Books.
Feal the fear and do it anyway, by someone whose name I can not remember. But it is very well read, try the spiritual, psychological or self development department of your bookshop. 
Confidence by Barbara De Angleis.
Any book by Barbara De Angelis.   

There are also a number of books about running dog training classes, mine are all out on loan right now so can’t remeber the authors. 

Hope that helps…..
Good Luck

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