Do you like your job?
Do you enjoying getting up every day? Does the day whiz by because you’re so engaged in what you’re doing? Do you look forward to Monday each week?
If you said no to all of these questions than I have good news and bad news for you.
The good news is that you’re not alone. In a 2013 Gallop poll an alarming 70% of people said they hated their job. Yes, you read that right most of the population are unhappy at work. That number blew me away.
Okay, now on to the bad news. The average person works around 40 hours per week (many as much as 50 – 60 hours). That’s most of your waking hours, so if you don’t like your job you’re spending most of your life miserable.
Not a good way to live.
I should know, I was there. I’ve had 5 very different careers in my life and although I did enjoy most of them, I’ve had a couple that did not put a daily smile on my face.
Then I found dog training (kind of by accident) and now I know what it’s like to get up every day with excitement, have my days happily fly by and I’m constantly saying TGIM!
People have told me that you’re not supposed to “like” your job – that’s why it’s called a job, however I disagree. There are plenty of jobs out there that you can feel good about, where you’re helping others and able to feel happy along the way.
What I’ve learned in my last few decades of various employment is that if you’re passionate about what you do and truly like your job, you’re entire life will be better. That’s the cool thing about happiness – it bleeds into everything you do and creates a positive domino effect.
I’m a dog guy and I love helping people, so dog training is a perfect fit for me. And if you have a passion for dogs, are interested in doing work you love and living a more purposeful life read on.
“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.” – Billy Joel
The Dog Training Industry
Before you dive into dog training head first, let’s discuss what it involves.
The first thing you need to know is that the dog training industry is unregulated, which means that there is no governing organization (neither government or private) overseeing it and there is no requirement to become certified or accredited.
This is both good and bad.
It’s good because it means there is no barrier to entry – anyone can become a dog trainer right now, without getting any education or training. All you have to do is decide you want to do it, print up your business cards and BAM, you’re a dog trainer. You don’t really have to wait for anything if you don’t want to, you can just go for it.
What that also means is that anyone can do it, whether they’re qualified or not, which has caused the market to be flooded with some pretty poor dog trainers.
Although there are many organizations out there that would have you believe that you need to get certified, it’s just not the case. Don’t get my wrong, I think it’s not only important but critical to your success to get educated, I just want you to understand you don’t have to.
Personally I like that fact that dog training is an unregulated field. It allowed me to jump in right away and choose the methods that I wanted to get educated. The bottom line is if you’re not properly educated, you’re not going to be prepared, which means you won’t be very good at your job, which means you’ll be out of the industry very quickly.
The key point to remember is that you can choose how you want to learn your craft – you’re not forced into a one-size-fits-all learning model that may not work for everyone.
As I mentioned, you don’t need to get any education at all to become a dog trainer, but it’s something I whole-heartedly recommend because I believe it’s vital to your ability to do the job and to your long term success.
I’m a big time believer in extensive and ongoing education. The cool part about dog training is that you get to decide exactly how you go about doing it . . . which is what we’re going to talk about next.
Different Ways To Get Educated
Okay, hopefully I’ve convinced you that it’s important to get educated and that if you know your stuff you’ll have a better experience and a more prosperous career. So the next thing to ponder is how should you get educated?
Good question. There are 3 main ways you can learn how to become a dog trainer. Let’s take a quick look at each and see which one makes the most sense for you.
Self educated – There’s lots of information out there that is readily accessible for you to learn about dogs and how to train them. You can read books, watch DVD’s, go through blogs, attend seminars and/or find a dog trainer(s) willing to teach you what they know.
PROS: you get to choose what and when you learn, doesn’t cost too much money
CONS: limited to what you can find, hard to know what’s good and what’s not, information is scattered, not comprehensive
In-person, hands on program – This is where you travel to a facility and learn everything in a few weeks. Typically you’ll have to take off the time and travel to where the facility is located and stay there until the training is complete.
PROS: you get hands on training, everything about working with dogs is usually covered, complete it in only a few weeks.
CONS: expensive (typically $8,000 – $10,000), you have to travel there, you have to drop everything for the entire time your training, can be overwhelming – too much info at once, you have to keep up or get left behind – there’s no time go over anything twice.
If you do choose this option just make sure you thoroughly research the people and organization to know if they use a training style that is in line with what you want to learn and that they are a reputable company.
Online course – You do all your learning via your computer, tablet and/or smart phone. These courses can include written work, videos, multi media and may have some online interaction as well.
PROS: affordable, flexibility – can work at your own pace from the comfort of your own home (in your underwear if you like), have access to the materiel forever (for most).
CONS: no hands on experience
Which option is best for you will depend on what’s important to you, what your lifestyle situation is and how much money you have.
I chose to do the online option because I wanted a detailed education but couldn’t drop everything at home to go away for any length of time, and I had limited money to put out. So I picked on online course, however I wasn’t really that happy with it and wish I did a little more research before I enrolled.
Some online courses will pair you with a local trainer so that you can get some hands on training as well, however it’s a flawed system because there is little quality control over the trainers they hook you up with and you could get stuck with someone vastly under qualified to help you or even teach you incorrect techniques.
My unhappiness with my online education is what prompted me to create my own program. Just do you research and pick the right way to begin your education but keep in mind learning is something you should be doing ongoing (which is true of any profession – if you want to be good).
The X-Factor: Running a Business
One of the areas missing from my online education was how to effectively run a business in today’s economy. This is also one of the main reasons why most dog trainers fail. They know the dog stuff but just don’t understand what it takes to make a small business excel.
The knowledge of how to run, market and grow my business is one of the big reason’s why I’ve been so successful. Yes, I believe I’m pretty good with dogs and I know how to communicate well with people, but it’s my understanding of the business stuff which has really separated me from the rest.
Luckily for me, I had some good business knowledge from my past careers, but also made learning about how to run a business a priority and I continually keep up with current business trends and best practices. The problem with most dog trainers is that they like doing the dog education but don’t enjoy the business stuff so they don’t do it.
This is a big mistake and is why I see so many good dog trainers struggling out there.
A big problem is that many of these online and in-person education programs are teaching outdated business practices. We’re in an amazing time right now where technology is rapidly changing and marketing is constantly evolving. What worked 5 years ago, does not work today.
Many of these large dog trainer education organizations are designed by people sitting behind desks, who have become far removed from the day to day real world of running a dog training business. This has left them out of touch and unable to teach proper business practices.
To be a success you’ll need to get educated in dogs, dog training and in how to run a business (specifically a word of mouth businesses).
Let’s Sum It All Up
If you’re not happy with your current job and love dogs I’m going to encourage you to explore a job in dog training so you can get up and enjoy every day at work.
The cool thing is that dog training is an easy thing to start part time while you’re still at your existing job (that’s actually exactly how I got started). You can keep your “day job” while you get educated and get your new business moving.
Then you can make the switch to full time or just keep it as a part time gig. That’s the beauty of this, it’s very flexible so you can make it whatever you like.
Whatever you choose to do just please look into spending your days doing something you enjoy. For me, everyday with a dog is a good day and there’s no better way to make a living than helping dogs and people.
I hope I’ve answered most of your questions and that you now have a good understanding of what options are out there for you. If dog training sounds like something you would like to pursue check out my programs in The FernDog Trainer Academy.
If you’re interested but have limited time and money to make it happen, sign up below for my free video series below and I’ll show you how you can find both the time and money to get your education and do what you love.