Starting Your New Career as a Service Dog Trainer
Service dogs are playing a very vital role in the lives of many people. They not only assist people who are blind in their ability to get around, but also help those who are suffering from various kinds of illnesses. Service dogs do such things as notifying people around their owner when a person may be allowed to have a seizure, assist with those who are suffering from maladies that need the animal to notify people when there is an issue, or provide therapeutic comfort for those who are suffering from mental anguish such as PTSD. These animals are incredibly valuable and are playing an essential role in helping people to be able to live their lives more fully and actively. Below you will learn about how to become a service dog trainer.
The dogs are obviously incredibly important, and so many feel like they would like to be involved in the training of these unique and special animals. They want to play a part in helping to train these dogs in such a way that they improve the lives of other people, and want to start to learn how to train a service puppy so they can get a dog started early on the pathway to making a real difference in someone’s life. It is a truly noble profession.
How to Become a Service Dog Trainer
You may feel called to get involved in the training of these animals. You see this is a great occupation for yourself where you can make a real difference in people’s lives, but you have no idea how to become a service dog trainer, there are some simple things that you can do to get yourself prepared.
First of all, you need to understand that there were two different tracks that you can follow to get your certification. The first of these, which is the most common type that people follow, is to attend college and get a degree to become a service dog trainer. There are benefits to this pathway but there were also some greater benefits to choosing the other option. We will address these later.
The other option in learning how to training a service dog is to opt for a dog training degree that includes an apprenticeship as part of the program. What this generally entails is that you would study under the guidance of a certified dog trainer, who also has special training in training others to become a service dog trainer.
The Pros and Cons of Each
Now that you know that there are two options, you may be wondering which is the best option for you. The truth of the matter is that it actually depends upon what you intend to do as a service dog trainer. For example, if all you really want to do is train service dogs than the certificate and apprenticeship may be the ideal option for you. You will spend a majority of your life just training these dogs to care for their owners. This may be perfectly fulfilling for you, and you may like the idea that you only need a certain number of hours of training, usually between 24 to 40 hours to gain the certificate.
If you were going to college, then you are probably aware that you will spend at least two years there to get your degree in service dog training. You may even have to spend as much as four years there, but this opens additional avenues for you that are likely not available to those who only hold the certificate. The degree allows you to not only trained service dogs, but also to train those who trained service dogs. You open up additional avenues by having the college degree. In fact, those who own the certificate and want to learn how to train trainers must go back and get their degree to be able to do so. What this means is that if you have any inclination to become a trainer of the trainers at some point, then you should follow this pathway and get your degree.
You Still Have to Prove Proficiency
While getting the degree or certificate is essential in becoming a service dog trainer, you should also be aware that most states require you to pass a written test to prove you are proficient in service dog training. They want to make sure that in your zeal to learn how to become a service dog trainer that you have properly learnt the material and that you are proficient enough to be able to properly train a dog.
This may seem outrageous to some at the very least a bit intrusive for them to ask this, but consider the role of the service dog trainer for a moment. This is a person who was training a service dog to be able to care for another individual. This dog may be a kind of savior to his or her owner. Consider that a person who was lost her eyesight may not be able to get around it all or maybe it was way if they did not have a service dog to help direct. Or what would it be like for a person who may suffer from epileptic seizures if they did not have a properly train service dog to be able to warn them when a seizure look like it was about to occur? These dogs are incredibly valuable, which means that the trainers really need to be highly skilled in their trade.
Additional Things You Will Need to Become a Trainer
You want to know how to become a service dog trainer, but you also need to be aware that there are certain requirements of you to even put yourself in this position. Because the training requires that a person beyond their feet for a long duration of time, the trainer needs to be in excellent physical condition with the ability to stand and move around easily. Those seeking to be service dog trainers need to be in good shape, especially considering that you will be learning how to train a service puppy. We all know puppies can be quite rambunctious, so being in good shape is essential.
You will also need good communication skills and be able to speak clearly. The dog is following commands, and if you are not able to give those commands properly you will not be able to function in this job.