So you want to be a Dog trainer?

Gary Jackson, Professional Dog Trainer, accomplished author AND member of the PDTA has a new book coming out around August this year.

Gary has been gracious enough to give us a chapter to read pre release.

This is a very truthful, raw and direct read that we cannot wait to finish!

Pre Order yours here

This chapter is called "So you want to be a dog trainer"


So You Want to be a Dog Trainer?

Being a full-time dog trainer, I have had many challenging, wonderful and fulfilling times. I have lost count of the amount of people that asked me, ‘How do you become a professional dog trainer? ‘They say, ‘You are so lucky working with dogs every day, that would be my dream job.’

Imagine been paid to take a dog for a walk and teach obedience and help the owners? The freedom to choose your own hours, so where do you start?

I will give you a better idea on what it is really like to be a dog trainer and how much time and energy you need to put in to build it as a career.

Most full-time trainers I know come into the industry bright eyed and bushy tailed with incredible enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge. A few years later, they look drained and curse at the dogs they must train and their stupid owners. The reality of becoming a dog trainer is so much more different than they expected when they started their career.

When I started my career as an assistant to a dog trainer in the mid 1980s, I was so keen, learning heaps about the world of dogs. I attended obedience classes to talk with other dog training people and helped my dad out who was also a dog trainer.

I was watching hundreds of hours of videos learning as much as I could and attended many seminars while I was full-time trainer for a living. I had to do it all myself—to build a career as a professional dog trainer.

As my career was established, I expected to eventually earn the respect of the dog industry, which was just wishful thinking.

The dog training industry is full of toxic people with big egos and money or are power-hungry.

The slander and shit they put on each other is ridiculous. Just about every dog trainer thinks they’re the best and will bag the shit out of all other trainers.

Most also breed dogs which makes them a lot of money, so they bag their competition breeders as well. Whenever a dog trainer gets publicity for something great they did, then they will be the victim of tall poppy syndrome and cop shit from everywhere.

With all the successes I have had in my career from big publicity and successful dogs I have trained, I copped it.

People in the industry spreading rumours and trash-talking you to clients etc. When I finally realised that the dog training industry was responsible for all my stress, I became a hermit. I only focused on my clients and my projects and had very little contact with any other dog trainers.

Dog trainers are working another job and dog train on the side or they will become breeders to supplement their income. Others will work as security guards with their dog and help train fellow security guards’ dogs. Some may get training or dog walking or jobs in kennels.

As well as training dogs, you may have to care for them, so feeding and hosing out kennels and taking care of sick and injured dogs.

When you are doing in-kennel training of clients’ dogs you are fully responsible for the dogs’ wellbeing. Many things can and will go wrong, such as kennel cough going through the kennels, and you can’t train until it’s cleared up.

Say a dog freaks out in a storm and busts his teeth on the cage or gets caught and is injured. You will then have to rush a dog to the afterhours vet for treatment and rack up a $2,000 bill. Then you have to tell the owner and they are screaming at you then refuse to pay the bill or dump the dog on you.

You will get dogs that come in for the program that are scared to pieces of people as they have been unsocialised and bashed. Others that are fear aggressive and try to bite you for a week.

Then you will have the stubborn, unmotivated dogs that you can show them a hundred times and they still refuse to obey.

Dogs will stress out and lose weight or get a paralysis tick or fleas that came in on another dog. Then when you complete the training, you show the owners who can’t even walk and chew gum at the same time.

The dog works brilliantly, but even the dog sees the owner as a dipshit and does nothing for them as the owner lets the dog get away with everything.

You do a great job on a dog and six months later the owner rings to complain that the dog is pulling on lead but it the first time they have walked the dog since training.

Other clients will call you every day just to chat about their dog or ask a hundred questions on what their dog is doing each day while in training.

When you operate a training centre, the phone will go nonstop all day and night. Most just ring up to have a chat and tell you everything about their dog from problems to habits.

It is very common for someone to call and talk nonstop about their dog for twenty minutes, ask a couple of questions then hang up.

Then you will have messages go through to message bank that you have to return, so you may spend a large amount of your day on the phone.

You will also get a sense of achievement when you have a big week working with several dogs and all the training comes together and you get great results. You do a great demonstration for the owner and they are rapt with the

results and tell all their friends.

If you are training security dogs for sale, then there is a mountain of

things that can go wrong. Here are some of the things that may happen.

You supply an area protection dog, and someone breaks in. The owner blames you or wants a refund, but he purchased the dog twelve months before

and has not attended any lessons.

You supply a dog to a security guard and the dog bites him or a member

of the public or fails to bite so it’s still your fault.

You supply a dog and the owner decides they don’t want the dog anymore

and wants to return it for a full refund.

I supplied a dog to a lady that had a takeaway business and she was very happy until the business went bankrupt and she wanted to return the dog for a full refund twelve months later. I said no but we can buy the dog back and re-sell and she refused.

I then received a small claims court summons in the mail, and I attended court and had to pay her back a full refund. The reason is, she got the dog x-rayed and the hips came back within the breed standard, but as they were not perfect, the dog was considered defective.

Under Queensland small claims if any product, which includes dogs, is defective, the client is entitled to repair, replace or refund. This means that every dog you have ever sold is defective and the client can get a refund.

As a breeder, I provide the stud dog for mating at the kennels. If the bitch does not get pregnant, they will get a repeat mating next time the bitch is in season. There is no refund as you have to board the bitch and spend time with two people supervising the mating.