Puppy socialisation classes are there for us and our pups to discover the ways of the world together in a safe and relaxed environment. This may explain why a lot of pet industry professionals begin their careers as puppy socialisers. There are many ways of becoming involved in the pet industry, but we can all see why this way is so popular.
Unfortunately for all dog owners out there, such a device is yet to be invented.
In the meantime we all have to settle with the idea that training our dogs while they are still a few months old can help determine the way they will behave in adulthood. Exposing our puppies to strangers and other dogs at a puppy socialisation class not only teaches them how to behave in unknown and unfamiliar situations, but also helps us teach our puppies general obedience. Having the opportunity to work with dogs is a dream held by many dog owners, if only it was made easier for us to find helpful information. So here is the K9 Magazine guide to becoming a full or part time puppy socialiser.
There are a number of ways in which you can become qualified enough to teach puppy socialisation classes. The route to this goal can be tailored to a specific interest you already have in canine behaviour by incorporating qualifications and experience you have gained or want to achieve.
Qualifications For Becoming a Puppy Socialiser
There is no specific qualification that will label you a 'puppy socialiser', however the more experience and education you receive in this area the more it would count in your favour. Derek Williams who runs The Cheshire Canine Centre highlights that “to become an experienced dog trainer, it is essential that you are able to understand a dog’s behaviour. Both of these paths run hand in hand.”
The British Institute Of Professional Dog Trainers (BIPDT) can be a step in the right direction as they run instructor courses, recognised by the Kennel Club, that offer a stepping stone into the world of teaching dog training. The BIPDT offer 4 structured Grades of courses that would enable someone to teach puppy socialisation classes. No matter what experience or qualifications you already have, everyone will start at Grade 1.
All they ask is for some previous experience of training a dog, whether it be your own or someone else's, and a keen interest in dog behaviour. Each Grade is a week long residential course that affiliates you with the BIPDT and helps to show other dog owners that you have the experience and qualifications required to teach classes. Grade 1 begins by showing you the fundamentals of training, each grade gained thereafter highlights the experience and knowledge you possess. By achieving Grade 4 of the BIPDT you become recognised as a fully qualified instructor. The Kennel Club are also in the process of creating instructor courses to improve the level of experience dog trainers have before setting up training schools.
Bulk Up Your CV
Becoming a volunteer in any aspect of dog training or even sitting in on a puppy socialisation class will all count in your favour when seeking employment and will also deepen you knowledge within the job. It would also prove useful working with dogs in an environment such as a kennels or a dog home. This way you can meet other dogs than your own and begin to understand the different ways in which they behave as well as the similarities and common problems that owners have with them, such as lead aggression and jumping up. Remember that any experience is good experience.