Could you turn a pampered pooch into a top dog? Dog trainers are people who help train dogs that will help other people.
You could be training a dog to help a blind person cross the road or a hearing dog that would alert someone who was deaf if the smoke alarm went off. It’s about more than just training the dogs though – for the dogs, the people they work with will become their most trusted companion.
Being a trainer is a really varied job. You may be working with a new puppy on basic training on one day, or at a more advanced level the next. You may be matching a dog to its new owner or working with both the dog and owner to get the best out of them.
Alternatively, you could be working with new dogs and their volunteer foster homes – places they stay until they get an owner – or checking up on the progress of dog-ownership partnerships.
The dog training itself can vary too. You may find yourself training a dog so it can help someone around the home who has impaired eyesight, or so that it recognises when its owner is about to have a seizure. Either way, you will work with dogs to get the best out of them for the purpose they are intended for.
You’re bound to form links with your dogs while training them, and it may seem hard to say goodbye, but the knowledge that it is going to a loving home where it will help someone have a much better life is incredibly rewarding.
As a general rule, qualifications aren’t necessary but each employer may have their own requirements. For example, the charity called Guide Dogs for the Blind like you to have five GCSEs, including English. Another charity, called Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, ask that you have sign language skills (though they also provide training on the job), and experience of working with people who have impaired hearing.
Experience of working with dogs will also certainly work in your favour when applying for a job, as will animal-care diplomas.
Once on the job, you will receive training and how long this takes and how it is done will depend on your employer. Most employers will also want you to have a driving licence.
Qualifications you may need:
- Possibly some GCSEs
- Maybe an animal-care diploma
- A driving licence
If you enjoy working with both animals and people, have good observation skills and are a good judge of both animal and human character, then this is the job for you.
Other skills you may need include:
- An interest in dogs and how to get the best out of them
- Patience for both dog and owner
- A commitment to helping people
- The ability to work alone and as part of a team
- An encouraging and supportive approach