Do you love dogs and want to make a difference in their lives? Do you enjoy teaching and helping others learn new skills? Becoming a certified dog trainer in Colorado might be the perfect career for you. A dog trainer is a professional who uses various methods and techniques to train dogs for obedience, behavior modification, or specific tasks. A dog trainer can work with pet owners, shelters, rescue groups, service organizations, or law enforcement agencies. A dog trainer can also specialize in a certain type of training, such as agility, therapy, or protection.
Becoming a certified dog trainer in Colorado has many benefits. You can earn a good income, set your own schedule, and work in a variety of settings. You can also enjoy the satisfaction of helping dogs and their owners live happier and healthier lives. However, becoming a dog trainer in Colorado also requires some steps and qualifications. You need to gain experience in dog training, complete a dog trainer certification program, and find a job as a dog trainer in Colorado. In this article, we will guide you through these steps and provide you with some useful resources and tips along the way.
Step 1: Gain Experience in Dog Training
Before you can become a certified dog trainer in Colorado, you need to gain some practical experience in dog training. This will help you develop your skills, knowledge, and confidence as a trainer. It will also prepare you for the certification exam and the job market.
There are many ways to gain experience in dog training, such as:
- Volunteering at a local animal shelter or rescue group. You can help train the dogs for adoption, socialize them, and provide them with enrichment activities. You can also learn from the staff and other volunteers who have experience in dog training.
- Taking behavior classes or workshops. You can enroll in courses that teach you the basics of dog behavior, learning theory, and training methods. You can also attend workshops that focus on specific topics, such as puppy training, aggression, or clicker training.
- Working with a mentor trainer. You can find a professional dog trainer who is willing to mentor you and let you observe or assist in their training sessions. You can also ask them for feedback and advice on your own training skills.
Some examples of dog training schools or organizations in Colorado that offer training programs or volunteer opportunities are:
- Colorado Dog Academy. This is a dog training school that offers a variety of courses, from obedience and agility to therapy and service dog training. They also have a volunteer program that allows you to work with their dogs and learn from their trainers.
- Freedom Service Dogs of America. This is a nonprofit organization that trains and provides service dogs for veterans, children, and adults with disabilities. They have a volunteer program that lets you help with the training, care, and socialization of their dogs.
- Rocky Mountain Dog Training. This is a dog training business that offers private and group classes, as well as board and train services. They also have a mentorship program that allows you to shadow their trainers and learn from their experience.
Step 2: Complete a Dog Trainer Certification Program
After you have gained some experience in dog training, you can pursue a dog trainer certification program. This will help you demonstrate your competence and credibility as a trainer. It will also enhance your knowledge and skills in dog training.
There are different levels of certification, and the eligibility criteria for each level vary depending on the program. However, some common requirements are:
- Having a high school diploma or equivalent
- Having a minimum amount of hours of hands-on experience in dog training
- Passing a written and/or practical exam that tests your knowledge and skills in dog training
- Adhering to a code of ethics and professional standards
Some examples of online or in-person dog trainer certification programs are:
- CATCH Canine Trainers Academy. This is an online dog trainer certification program that offers a comprehensive curriculum, personalized mentorship, and hands-on workshops. You can choose from different levels of certification, from basic to master.
- Animal Behavior College. This is an online and in-person dog trainer certification program that covers the fundamentals of dog behavior, training, and business. You can also choose from different electives, such as agility, therapy, or protection dog training.
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. This is an independent organization that administers the Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) credential. You can apply for the CPDT-KA (knowledge assessed) or the CPDT-KSA (knowledge and skills assessed) level, depending on your experience and qualifications.
Step 3: Find a Job as a Dog Trainer in Colorado
Once you have completed a dog trainer certification program, you can start looking for a job as a dog trainer in Colorado. There are different types of dog training jobs available, such as:
- Working for a training school or organization. You can join a dog training school or organization that offers various training services and programs. You can work as an instructor, a trainer, or a manager, depending on your skills and experience.
- Working for a shelter or rescue group. You can work for a shelter or rescue group that needs dog trainers to help train the dogs for adoption, behavior modification, or rehabilitation. You can also help with the intake, evaluation, and placement of the dogs.
- Working for a pet store or a veterinary clinic. You can work for a pet store or a veterinary clinic that offers dog training classes or consultations. You can also help with the sales, marketing, and customer service of the dog training products and services.
- Working for a private business or as a freelancer. You can start your own dog training business or work as a freelance dog trainer. You can offer your own training services and programs, such as private or group classes, board and train, or in-home consultations.
Some tips on how to find a job as a dog trainer in Colorado are:
- Networking. You can network with other dog trainers, dog owners, or dog-related professionals in your area. You can join local dog training associations, clubs, or groups, such as the Colorado Association of Professional Dog Trainers or the Colorado Dog Trainers Network. You can also attend dog training events, seminars, or conferences, such as the Rocky Mountain Pet Expo or the Colorado Dog Trainer Conference.
- Creating a portfolio. You can create a portfolio that showcases your dog training skills, achievements, and testimonials. You can include your resume, your certification, your references, and your work samples, such as videos, photos, or articles. You can also create a website, a blog, or a social media account that features your portfolio and your dog training services.
- Searching online. You can search online for dog training jobs in Colorado. You can use general job boards, such as Indeed or Monster, or dog-specific job boards, such as Dog Trainer Jobs or Dog Training Careers. You can also check the websites of dog training schools, organizations, or businesses in Colorado and see if they have any openings or opportunities.
Some examples of dog training businesses or employers in Colorado that are hiring or looking for trainers are:
- The Dog House. This is a dog training and boarding facility that offers obedience, agility, and behavior modification training. They are looking for experienced dog trainers who can work with dogs of all breeds, sizes, and temperaments.
- Canine Dimensions. This is a dog training company that offers in-home dog training and behavior consulting. They are looking for certified dog trainers who can work with clients in the Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs areas.
- PetSmart. This is a pet store chain that offers dog training classes and products. They are looking for dog trainers who can teach positive reinforcement-based training methods and provide excellent customer service.
Becoming a dog trainer in Colorado is a rewarding career that allows you to work with dogs and their owners. To become a dog trainer in Colorado, you need to gain experience in dog training, complete a dog trainer certification program, and find a job as a dog trainer in Colorado. These steps will help you achieve your dog training goals and enjoy the benefits of being a certified dog trainer in Colorado.
If you are ready to take the next step in your dog training career, you can start by checking out some of the resources and programs we have mentioned in this article. You can also contact us for more.