Professional Dog Trainer?

Andrew, reading the morning paper in one hand with a cup of coffee in the other, started quoting an article on one of the more popular dog trainers du jour. Every time he was about to say what the problem was, I absent-mindedly pre-empted him with the correct evaluation and training procedure.

Finally, he looked at me and said, “Why don’t you become a professional dog trainer? Any time I mention any article or magazine piece on dog training you always know the answers.”

At first I thought he was just jokingly pointing out the ridiculous amount of knowledge I have stuffed into my head about dogs. But he wasn’t. He continued, “You’re already helping all your friends and family for free.”

And here was his punch line. “These guys are making a couple of hundred dollars an hour!”

Even though 95% of trainers would laugh at hearing those numbers, it was a legitimate question. I actually do have enough training to get certified in my sleep. But I just looked at Andrew like he had three heads. “Why would I want to do that?!”

“Because you could be making a ton of money doing something you love.” He reiterated, “These guys [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][the ones in the article] are making $250 an hour for in-house consults.”

“God bless your little heart. Aside from the small matter of where I’d materialize the time to do this, why would I want to work with problem dogs?” [Read work with people who are not fully understanding or knowing what to do about why their dogs are acting like dogs, and would like a simple, easy solution that won’t take much time.]

“Well, maybe, just maybe, because you know a lot and you’ve gotten really good with dogs.” Then he looked at me like why was I getting all huffy when he’d made a perfectly good–and maybe even a brilliant–suggestion.

I sighed and stood to clear my breakfast dish. “Look, I’m happy to help family and friends. And it’s true. I love dogs. And I love people. I just don’t think I’d love working with dogs and people professionally. Working with my mentoring clients keeps me busy enough, as far as people go. My dogs are my release from all that’s problematic about the world; they’re my safe haven, my happy zone. There’s no way I want to trade on that.”

He looked over at me, snapped the paper, and said, “And– you’d appreciate it if I never read you another dog trainer article again…”

“On Cesar Millan or Jon Katz, that would be correct.”

Andrew pushed his glasses up on his nose and said, “All-righty then. Moving right along…”

I laughed. “Yep, moving right along.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

9 thoughts on “Professional Dog Trainer?”

  1. Awesome Karen… I can so see it… AuthorMomDogNutPeopleTrainer – I think you would really help a lot of people and doggies if you entered that profession.

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  2. But isn’t it a great feeling when you discover a possible “career”!!! Even if you never make anything of it, just knowing you have one more talent feels great!

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  3. Thanks forthe vote of confidence, guys. And, yes, thank God for people like Suzanne and Ian and all the other trainers out there doing good work, and helping people and dogs.

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  4. Even if you don’t want to be a trainer, I appreciate the knowledge you give us through your website. I’m just now really feeling the true love of dogs and it’s nice to have some advice from someone who feels as connected to animals as you do!

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  5. As a physical therapist of 10 years I can agree with you completely.

    “people who are not fully understanding or knowing what to do [ . . . ] and would like a simple, easy solution that won’t take much time.”

    This is often exactly how people approach how they treat their physical problems.

    My husband has suggested the same to me, about becoming a trainer, in passing and I have flatly declined without even thinking twice about it for the same reason you said.

    “My dogs are my release from all that’s problematic about the world; they’re my safe haven, my happy zone. There’s no way I want to trade on that.”

    That being said, thank God for people like Suzanne Clothier and Ian Dunbar who did not stop to consider the people and thought primarily about the dogs. You may change your mind yet.

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  6. How funny that you wrote about this today…I am a a huge animal lover and was reading some things recently about dog training and other similar professions that intrigued me. Sounds like you do have a gift for it.

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