Are You Interested in Becoming a Professional Dog Trainer?

First, you need to be a proficient trainer yourself before you endeavor to teach others, so step one is take classes, MANY classes, with your own dogs!
Attend as many classes and types of classes as you can. It takes years to become a polished trainer.



Learn all you can about the canine species.

Train. Read. Read more. Watch videos. Attend seminars. Find a mentor.


Volunteer your time. 
Get your hands on as many breeds and breed types as you can. Volunteer at your local shelter walking shelter dogs. Get a good working knowledge of basic canine behavior. Study dog body language and communication. What is good temperament -and poor temperament? Learn about how YOUR body language affects dogs. You will come in contact with hyper dogs, worried dogs, defensive dogs and laid back dogs. You will handle each differently. Your safety and the safety of the people you work with depends on your knowledge and experience. You must be able to instruct pet owners on the finer points of understanding how to communicate and read their own dogs' body language. Attend the "What is My Dog Saying" lecture offered at DITR.


Understand Learning Theory.
Learn all you can about the human species. How people learn. Just because you can train a dog, does not mean you can teach humans. Instructors teach people, not dogs. Classroom management is an essential skill. Keeping a number of dogs and people safe and on track and directing a group is different from one-on-one instructing.


A good instructor understands basic psychology, learning theory, ethology and animal husbandry. You must understand operant and classical conditioning and how to use them. Study problem behaviors and their solutions. It isn't enough to just know the mechanics. Know how, when and why you would choose specific techniques - and why you would not. Every dog is different, every family is unique.


Gaining the knowledge you need will require personal time, travel and expense.

It takes years and experience to attain the knowledge required to be an instructor. Seminars are offered all over the United States - start saving for your education fund!


Visit the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers for their list of requirements to sit for the exam.


Read everything you can get your hands on. "So you want to become a dog trainer" by Nicole Wilde and by the same author "It's not the dogs, it's the people." You can find these and many other books on training and behavior on



Dog Seminar Directory

Instructor courses:

Ken Ramirez - The Ranch - Karen Pryor National Training Center

Northwest School of Canine Studies
Karen Pryor Academy
Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers
Terry Ryan's Instructor Training Courses
CATCH - Canine Trainers Academy

Victoria Stillwell Dog Training Academy


Great places to get a LOT of great education in a few days time:
APDT conferences 
Clicker Expo 

Pet Professional Guild Annual Summit


Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers
Pet Professional Accreditation


Books & Videos: 
What is My Dog Saying? power point CD



Good luck!


Diamonds in the Ruff does not have any openings at this time. Occasionally a long-time student with whom we have established a relationship may be invited to intern as an unpaid volunteer - work in trade for education. But we do not accept unsolicited applications or provide work-study programs at this time.



CyberDog Home Schooling for Hounds - Helix Fairweather

The Academy for Dog Trainers - Jean Donaldson

The Karen Pryor Academy

Say Yes Dog Training - Susan Garrett

Denise Fenzie Academy

Wag It Games - Sumac Johnson

e-Training for Dogs




Emily Larlham's Kikopup channel

Donna Hill's training videos