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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm interested in how a person becomes a trainer or decoy. Not the Petco/PetSmart variety, the people seek you out from miles around & your schedule's booked solid for months type. I understand reputation is key, and it takes time to develop one. How does a person become sucessful in the field? Has anyone here ever thought of making a carrer of it? I've been a Nanny for, well forever, and if there's anything that would bring me the sheer joy I get from my job, it would be working with dogs. Is it possible to earn a decent pay?

(Sorry if this should maybe be in general/misc. I wasn't sure)
 

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From what I understand it's all about seminars and apprenticing with the people who have big names and a big reputation. Well at least that's how I'm going about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SisMorphine said:
From what I understand it's all about seminars and apprenticing with the people who have big names and a big reputation. Well at least that's how I'm going about it.
How's going for you? Have you been doing it long? Do you get to train your dog(s) as part of the deal?
 

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A career in dog training generally comes from years of training dogs...and then taking it one step further.

You need to undertake 'official' training, not the pet-store variety. AKC (or CKC for the Canucks) style obed. training is usually the way to start. At this point in time, you'd need to be able to do both classic training and clicker training. Once you're taken a dog through to it's CD (Companion Dog), you move up to the other levels.

As you work with a Club, you'll eventually start by teaching introductory obedience (or beginner, etc.). Once you're able to teach that, and deal with the training issues/problems of individual dogs, you can move along to teach higher levels of obedience, as you've experienced them training your own dog(s).

Once you've mastered the basic obed., you can branch out to any other areas you're interested in. Once you become confident, and show good results, odds are you'll be in demand by word of mouth...and slowly you become a speaker/lecturer etc.

In addition, you need to attend various seminars on dog training and behaviour, workshops, maybe some classes and build up the more 'formal' part of your education.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Rue2 said:
A career in dog training generally comes from years of training dogs...and then taking it one step further.

You need to undertake 'official' training, not the pet-store variety. AKC (or CKC for the Canucks) style obed. training is usually the way to start. At this point in time, you'd need to be able to do both classic training and clicker training. Once you're taken a dog through to it's CD (Companion Dog), you move up to the other levels.

As you work with a Club, you'll eventually start by teaching introductory obedience (or beginner, etc.). Once you're able to teach that, and deal with the training issues/problems of individual dogs, you can move along to teach higher levels of obedience, as you've experienced them training your own dog(s).

Once you've mastered the basic obed., you can branch out to any other areas you're interested in. Once you become confident, and show good results, odds are you'll be in demand by word of mouth...and slowly you become a speaker/lecturer etc.

In addition, you need to attend various seminars on dog training and behaviour, workshops, maybe some classes and build up the more 'formal' part of your education.
This is very helpful. Thanks.
 

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p.s. Does it pay well? No! That's why most trainers do it for the joy of it...and after hours, on weekends etc.

However, if you have something unique to offer...or manage to find a niche to fill, it's possible to do well...

Look at Cesar...
 

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nanniesrock said:
SisMorphine said:
From what I understand it's all about seminars and apprenticing with the people who have big names and a big reputation. Well at least that's how I'm going about it.
How's going for you? Have you been doing it long? Do you get to train your dog(s) as part of the deal?
Well I am apprenticing with my friend right now, which is essentially just pet dog training but to a much higher caliber than your usual pet dog trainers (as in, she actually deals with aggression and problem dogs instead of asking the people to leave her class or any of the other stupid things I've seen trainers do). She has people travel a good distance just to take her classes and have privates with her. I don't fully agree with all of her training methods, but they're not abusive, so I have no problem going along with them so that I can fully understand her way of training. I figure it's about learning how to train from different aspects and then making up your mind on what works and what doesn't. I also may apprentice with HER mentor if I end up staying in the area, who also is a pet dog trainer but who has done every kind of training over the past 40 years, and she is an amazing behaviorist.

If I wanted to be a decoy I could probably train with the club I'm a member of, but frankly I did it once and ended up with a pierced nipple, plus I have a bad back, so I'm good for a while. Once I have trained a dog or two in bitework I would like to be able to apprentice up there, but personally I wouldn't feel ready to apprentice for that work until I have had some successes myself and have a general idea of what I'm doing (which right now I don't).

Oh and as far as the training:
I haven't paid to train any of my dogs or fosters when I take classes with my friend that I'm apprenticing for. She's always let me just come to classes if I want, so I'm not sure if trading training is normal or what, but you'll probably be practicing whatever you learn on your own dogs at home anyway :)
 

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Rue2 said:
p.s. Does it pay well? No! That's why most trainers do it for the joy of it...and after hours, on weekends etc.

However, if you have something unique to offer...or manage to find a niche to fill, it's possible to do well...

Look at Cesar...
The people I used to work for (I spit on them and their idiocy) made A LOT of money with their training and kenneling . . . and frankly I think that their training is BS (kicking out dogs for aggression issues instead of helping them, telling people to PTS their dogs, that there was no other way to get around the issue when really there was, not allowing their employees to take part in any seminars on aggression because it was "useless" and so many other absurd things), but whatever, they made plenty. Eventually I think you can make money, but you have to be a shrewed business person, and know how to market yourself hardcore. It also helps if you do more than just training (like the kenneling).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One more thing......
........has anyone ever seen a female decoy?
 

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Look around in your area for decent trainers. Go and watch some of their classes and ask them what their credentials are (decent trainers should have titles on their own dogs). Ask to see how their dogs perform. If their dogs don't impress you, I wouldn't think much of their training techniques! I got my "certificate" (there is no governing body for dog trainers, so pretty much anyone can claim to be one, it's more about your personal knowledge gained) from a trainer in my area. I went there for ob classes and then decided to take the course he offered. It can be expensive, but I had worked out a deal with him that I could volunteer there (helping with the boarding dogs and with general clean up and maintenance of the school) in exchange for the course. Worked out well, and I learned a LOT! Are you looking to be a trainer or a decoy tho? 2 very different things. To become a decoy it takes LOTS of practice! It is kinda tough to make a decent living being a dog trainer (it was my dream too!). It's not guaranteed work, and you constantly have to work hard to get (and keep) your clients. Then when you are constantly dealing with idiots who don't seem to realize (or care) that they are completely screwing up their own dogs, it starts to get to you. I personally like training for my own pleasure for now, instead of making it seem like a "job". Let me know how it goes!
 

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This is how the trainer charges that I was going to send my dogs to:

The cost for training at our facility is $55/session. The cost at your home/location is $75/session.
We also offer an intensive in-kennel training program/"doggy boot camp" at our facility. We board your dog and do all of the training. At the completion of the course, we offer an intensive training program/review with you and your dog. The cost of this program is $45/daily. This charge includes a daily boarding fee of $15.
Imagine if you really built clientele, I think there can be some money made. Let's say you only did 3 training sessions per day 5 days a week. Depending on whether you did home sessions or "facility sessions", you could easily make anywhere from 43-58k per year. (That's for 3 dogs per work day, imagine if you had more than that!) I can't even afford to send my dogs there since I have multiple dogs. I may send Koa though, as a last resort. Just hard to come up with that money during holidays.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you promise not to laugh....

I've thought about both. I don't think PP has caught on very big around me, and even though I'm "just a girl", I honestly think I could be a decoy, although to be honest I don't know enough to even make that claim. What makes me think I could do it? I'm MUCH stronger than I look, not the least bit afraid of a charging dog coming at me (hopefully it's had training :wink: ), I just think I could......but I don't know if I'd want to, like I said, I don't know enough. Does anyone ever do both (trainer/ behaviorist & decoy)?

Anytime I've talked to my family about it I encounter negativity. What else is new?

I often think, if it weren't for $, what would I really want to do? This is one of those things.
 

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...don't forget that out of income fees you have to pay overhead - renting space is expensive, not to mention hard to find (lots of places don't want dogs and all their associated messes)...you may also have to pay an assistant if you can't find volunteers...and there will be some admin. costs as well...it's not all free and clear...(oh yeah - and taxes!!! :D )...

...don't be discouraged...like I said, start by training your own dog...attend some seminars, etc. and see how it goes...if it's for you, it will come about...
 

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nanniesrock said:
One more thing......
........has anyone ever seen a female decoy?
Hell yes!! One of our decoys just turned 18 and is a girl. She's great. She's also the club's assistant training director and is one of the most talented people I know. Let me see if I can find any videos of her decoying for you.
 

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Re: If you promise not to laugh....

nanniesrock said:
I've thought about both. I don't think PP has caught on very big around me, and even though I'm "just a girl", I honestly think I could be a decoy, although to be honest I don't know enough to even make that claim. What makes me think I could do it? I'm MUCH stronger than I look, not the least bit afraid of a charging dog coming at me (hopefully it's had training :wink: ), I just think I could......but I don't know if I'd want to, like I said, I don't know enough. Does anyone ever do both (trainer/ behaviorist & decoy)?

Anytime I've talked to my family about it I encounter negativity. What else is new?

I often think, if it weren't for $, what would I really want to do? This is one of those things.
understanding the mechanics of decoy/pp training can help you in the everyday training as well. if the opportunity to take seminars/ect presents it's self i would take anything you can. the more well rounded you education is the more you will be able to help your clients. a good trainer IS a behaviorist. imo, you can not train a dog without understanding behaviours and how to modify them
as for the family negativity, i feel ya there. had the same problems myself.
 

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LuvaBULL said:
This is how the trainer charges that I was going to send my dogs to:

The cost for training at our facility is $55/session. The cost at your home/location is $75/session.
We also offer an intensive in-kennel training program/"doggy boot camp" at our facility. We board your dog and do all of the training. At the completion of the course, we offer an intensive training program/review with you and your dog. The cost of this program is $45/daily. This charge includes a daily boarding fee of $15.
Imagine if you really built clientele, I think there can be some money made. Let's say you only did 3 training sessions per day 5 days a week. Depending on whether you did home sessions or "facility sessions", you could easily make anywhere from 43-58k per year. (That's for 3 dogs per work day, imagine if you had more than that!) I can't even afford to send my dogs there since I have multiple dogs. I may send Koa though, as a last resort. Just hard to come up with that money during holidays.

Its easy to say, and put on paper the possibility of making a lot of money through dog training, but not so easy to get those people to come in and PAY you. Its not as easy as it sounds.
 

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peeblerelf said:
LuvaBULL said:
This is how the trainer charges that I was going to send my dogs to:

The cost for training at our facility is $55/session. The cost at your home/location is $75/session.
We also offer an intensive in-kennel training program/"doggy boot camp" at our facility. We board your dog and do all of the training. At the completion of the course, we offer an intensive training program/review with you and your dog. The cost of this program is $45/daily. This charge includes a daily boarding fee of $15.
Imagine if you really built clientele, I think there can be some money made. Let's say you only did 3 training sessions per day 5 days a week. Depending on whether you did home sessions or "facility sessions", you could easily make anywhere from 43-58k per year. (That's for 3 dogs per work day, imagine if you had more than that!) I can't even afford to send my dogs there since I have multiple dogs. I may send Koa though, as a last resort. Just hard to come up with that money during holidays.

Its easy to say, and put on paper the possibility of making a lot of money through dog training, but not so easy to get those people to come in and PAY you. Its not as easy as it sounds.
I would think it depends on where you are. In my area there is a lot of money just floating around and people are more than willing to spend A LOT of it on their dogs. You open up anything "dog" around here and you're good to go. That's why there are 4 doggy daycares on the same road, it takes 15 minutes to drive from the first to the last, and they are all always filled up. You just have to know your area . . . and have the start up capital which is what I don't have.
 

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The best way to learn PP, Schutzhund, techniques and becoming a decoy is to be mentored under an experienced trainer/decoy! Combined with seminars with some top PP/Schutzhund trainers (not clicker seminars) and a couple of good books.

In my early days I would go to the SPCA and borrow a dog for obedience training to test what I thought I had learned :wink: It was a win/win as I learned some really good stuff in application and the SPCA benefited by having a better placement candidate that had some OB.

Can you make a living at it? I never tried, but I don't know if I would want to add that stress to something I do for fun.....
 

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wrknrott said:
Can you make a living at it? I never tried, but I don't know if I would want to add that stress to something I do for fun.....

My feelings exactly! It sounds like a good idea, but it's tough to seperate the "work" from the "play"
 

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peeblerelf said:
LuvaBULL said:
This is how the trainer charges that I was going to send my dogs to:

The cost for training at our facility is $55/session. The cost at your home/location is $75/session.
We also offer an intensive in-kennel training program/"doggy boot camp" at our facility. We board your dog and do all of the training. At the completion of the course, we offer an intensive training program/review with you and your dog. The cost of this program is $45/daily. This charge includes a daily boarding fee of $15.
Imagine if you really built clientele, I think there can be some money made. Let's say you only did 3 training sessions per day 5 days a week. Depending on whether you did home sessions or "facility sessions", you could easily make anywhere from 43-58k per year. (That's for 3 dogs per work day, imagine if you had more than that!) I can't even afford to send my dogs there since I have multiple dogs. I may send Koa though, as a last resort. Just hard to come up with that money during holidays.

Its easy to say, and put on paper the possibility of making a lot of money through dog training, but not so easy to get those people to come in and PAY you. Its not as easy as it sounds.
True! Nothing is ever easy, and I thought of facility rent and overhead too. But I'm just saying it CAN BE more than spare change in your pocket if you play your cards right. Some people could make a comfortable living, especially when they live in a dual income household. Good luck, sounds exciting!
 
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