Earlier this month, we took a look at why NOW is the perfect time to become a professional dog groomer. But if you’re here, reading this article, it’s because you’re especially motivated to succeed. Yes, you want to offer top quality grooming services to your clients – but clearly, you’re looking for other ways you can be the best of the best, too! With that in mind, we have two very simple words for you: dog training.
What is Dog Training?
The definition is pretty much in the name. According to The Balance Careers, it’s a field that “combines knowledge of animal behavior with practical teaching skills”. As part of your regular responsibilities, you’ll often focus on the following:
- Various voice commands
- Clicker training
- Using appropriate and effective hand signals
- Developing and executing rewards systems
- Implementing different dog learning theories
- Educating your clients on these theories, as well as how to successfully enforce them themselves
The beauty about professional dog training is that the sky is the limit! Once you become a trained subject-matter expert, you’ll be qualified not only to train dogs yourself – you’ll know how to instruct others on how to properly train their own dogs as well. Plus, you can offer one-on-one training sessions, group sessions, or both.
Moreover, the kind of dog training you provide can be entirely dependent on you! If you’d prefer to teach clients how to give basic commands (and see results), that’s totally fine. On the other hand, if you’d like to delve even deeper into the craft and be able to assist with more complicated dog training, that’s also an option, too.
For example, many of your clients will likely wish to learn how to teach their dogs the following basics commands:
- Leave it
However, you can also learn how to teach clients a myriad of other commands for their dogs, such as:
- Watch me
- Drop it
- Go pee/poo, handle your business, etc.
- Take it
- Play dead
- Quiet, no barking, etc.
- High five
5 Key Skills Needed to Be a Dog Trainer
1. Must Love Dogs
This one’s kind of explanatory… I mean, why pursue a career that revolves entirely around dogs if you’re not even a dog lover in the first place? Not only will your job bring you little joy; your clients and their pups will always be able to tell. It’s hard to imagine anyone capable of a long-term, thriving career if it’s in a field they aren’t passionate about.
So, this is probably the most important place to start. If you don’t love dogs, you probably shouldn’t become a dog trainer.
As the saying goes, “It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.” However, whether your client has a puppy or a senior pooch, new tricks often won’t be learned overnight. For this reason, dog training requires a lot of repetition – and even more patience.
If you’re prone to getting irritable when something doesn’t go your way quickly enough, this job won’t be a good fit for you. Dogs are experts at detecting people’s emotions, so if you’re feeling impatient, they’re going to pick up on it. The more frustrated you get, the less likely the training is to be successful. Thus, keeping a calm, cool head at all times is key!
3. A Friendly Demeanor
Personally, we’re of the mindset that the best dog training comes from positive reinforcement. So long as it isn’t accidentally used to reinforce unwanted behavior, this method of training is extremely beneficial (not to mention, better for the dog’s overall welfare). Plus, studies have proven that it produces desirable results, especially when compared to negative reinforcement.
To be a truly successful dog trainer, the way you handle your clients’ dogs will make all the difference. So, maintain a friendly, welcoming demeanor at all times, and stray away from any kind of training method that encourages negative reinforcement. The more love, understanding, and comfortability you give a dog, the more eager it’ll be to master your commands and please you!
4. Clear Communication Skills
When you work as a dog groomer, most of your job will only involve you and your client’s pet. In the field of dog training, however, you’ll be working with both the dog and their owner. Since the entire basis of this profession is to teach your client how to train their dog, you’re going to need to know how to teach them. This means, knowing how to communicate things clearly, in a way they can grasp and understand.
If you’re unsure whether you’re capable of verbalizing what it is you’re trying to teach, start by practicing on a friend or family member. (Preferably, one who has a dog, but little to no formal dog training experience.) There will be less pressure than there’d be with a paying client. Plus, this way you can get honest feedback about where you’re clear vs. where you need to be clearer.
As a result, by the time you book paying clients, you’ll have the verbiage down pact and will be able to run your training sessions with ease!
5. An Understanding of Dog Behavior
As we discussed earlier, dog training is all about understanding canine behavior. Only then can you adapt to it as needed, so you can adjust your methods in a way that will best jive with what each individual dog requires. If you can’t read a dog based off its body language, you’re going to have a hard time teaching it anything.
Luckily, you’re a certified groomer! So long as you’ve gotten your education through a reputable certification course – such as the one offered by QC Pet Studies – then you’ve already been trained and are well-versed in dog behavior!
Why Dog Training Services Will Increase Your Income
Last year, Canada alone reported that the dog population across the country rose to a jaw-dropping 7.7 million. This same trend has been seen in the United States,. Here, the number of people adopting dogs has steadily rose over practically every single year since 2000. Between 2019 and 2020, the U.S. reported a dog population of 90 million!
Basically, this means that a lot of people have been adopting dogs – and this number will likely only appear to go up with each passing year.
What does this mean for YOU? Well, as a certified dog groomer, every single new dog owner in your area is a potential future client. But on top of this, these are also all people who may be looking for guidance on how to train their new pet! If your business were to offer both of these services, imagine the amount of bookings you could rake in!
Additional Reasons Why Dog Training Will Better Your Bottom Line
In addition to being able to cater your business to a wider range of clientele (hello, more bookings!), there are other reasons why offering dog training services can help you boost your income. Here are just a handful of them:
- Because your business will now be a one-stop-shop for dog owners’ needs, your clients will be even more inclined to refer you to the people they know!
- If you’re adding a new service to your business, it’s because you’ve gotten properly trained in that new area first. As such, you can now afford to increase ALL of your business rates – including those for your grooming services. After all, you’ve put time, effort, and money into your continued education. It’s added to your skill-set and refined your expertise as a whole. You deserve to get compensated for it accordingly!
- Dog training and dog grooming can be extremely complementary services! Grooming your client’s dog and notice some unwanted behaviors? Casually mention to them that you offer training services, too. In a training session and see that your client’s dog could use a nail clipping, a trim, etc.? Why not mention at the end of the session that you could also book Fluffy in for a groom! You never know – what was initially one service sought from your business could easily become two!
- Competition WHO? The more you can stand out from your local competitors, the easier it’ll be for you to curb the market. By providing clients with more high-quality services to choose from, you’ll quickly become a memorable name in their minds. As a result, they’ll be likelier to choose you over the other dog experts in your area.
Now that you’ve decided to add dog training services to your grooming business, it’s time to get professionally trained! So, start looking around at the various options offered to you both online and in-person. Shadow an experienced trainer, start off by training your own dogs (or your family’s and friend’s), etc. Pair this with a legitimate education and you’ll be unstoppable!
Oh, and did a little birdy just casually mention that QC Pet Studies may or may not be launching a Dog Training Course in the future? 😉 Make sure to keep your eyes open and stay tuned for more information in late 2021/early 2022!