THE COMPLETE FILE: canine behaviorist educator
Today, more and more people are attracted by jobs related to animals. The Covid crisis has allowed many of us to take stock of our professional future and many have decided to finally listen to themselves and to convert to a job they love.
And like any change, legitimate and necessary questions appear, we are going to help you to see more clearly on the job of canine behaviorist educator.
THE PROFESSION OF CANINE BEHAVIORIST EDUCATOR: THE COMPLETE FILE
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training, canine behaviorist educator job: As a training center for the canine behaviorist educator job since 2012, we train more than 100 trainees / year and many of our trainees are people in professional reconversion. We accompany and guide them in order to realize their dream and to launch themselves serenely, and it is with this experience that we have decided to offer you this file.
Canine behaviorist educator: a job that makes you dream, and there is good reason for it: Being in contact with dogs all day long, there are worse things indeed for the daily life.
Working with animals, being outdoors, being self-employed and therefore enjoying a certain freedom, are all advantages when you decide to become a dog educator. But like all jobs, there are advantages and disadvantages and our goal here is to provide an objective description of this job.
Therefore, we must also consider all the facets, both positive and negative, of the profession of dog educator.
We have therefore prepared this complete file so that you have all the necessary information before taking the plunge!
THE PROFESSION OF CANINE BEHAVIORIST EDUCATOR : THE COMPLETE FILE
DEFINITION OF THE PROFESSION OF CANINE EDUCATOR
The profession of canine behaviorist educator consists of helping dog owners to educate, reeducate, better understand and communicate with their best four-legged friend.
Let’s start by defining this profession:
The profession of behaviorist dog educator:
The canine educator :
The dog educator will educate the pet/family dog and help with basic issues such as housebreaking, learning the educational basics, etc…
His missions will be to master the learning mechanisms of a dog and to know how to respond to its needs, and thus coach the owners in order to help them find harmony in the relationship with their dog.
According to a study we conducted at Nature de Chien, owners wait until they experience a difficulty with their dog to contact a dog trainer. In other words, the work of a behaviorist dog educator is mainly to work on resolving a situation that is embarrassing for the owner. It is therefore mainly a work of rehabilitation. But we also have to be preventive and teach the owners to be more proactive when choosing a puppy, or when accompanying the first days at home.
The main requests made by the owners to the canine educators :
Thus, most of the educational requests will consist of working on the following behaviors:
Walking on a leashRecallFollowing on a walkWaiting positions to work on returning to calm (sitting, lying down, waiting, going to the basket, etc…)Behavior related to learning to give up (control excitement behaviors such as giving the toy for example, returning to the master in any situation even during play sessions with other dogs, etc…The socialization of the dog and / or puppy (especially the learning of cleanliness, etc. …), or the habituation to certain environments (city, car, cohabitation with children or other species such as the cat, etc. …)
The canine behaviorist :
The canine behaviorist is a specialist in dog behavior who will analyze the situation, understand the troublesome behaviors of the dog being monitored and propose a work plan adapted to the problem.
These troublesome behaviors can be aggressiveness or fear for example. A canine behaviorist masters the knowledge of a puppy’s development and the developmental disorders that can accompany it, such as hyperactivity, sensory deprivation syndrome, or socialization problems. He also knows how to work on the dog’s emotions, such as frustration, or hyper attachment, etc…
These different disorders will not have the same origin, or even the same axis of work depending on the specific case.
Indeed, the role of a behaviorist dog educator is first and foremost to understand the situation, then to set up an action plan and finally, to accompany the owners to resolve their difficulty.
Also, we intervene as professionals in canine behavior. It is therefore important to wear both hats, that of the dog trainer and that of the behaviorist, because these two disciplines are complementary and require a real know-how.
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training: The Nature de Chien training allows you to acquire all this knowledge and to have solid and up-to-date skills to launch yourself as a professional. (www.naturedechien.fr)
The goal is not to judge others, but to give sound advice adapted to the individual in front. We are here to help the duos to understand each other better and to live together correctly.
This is why a real work on oneself is necessary. Your emotional management, your empathy, your pedagogy and your adaptability are elements to learn to develop to do this job.
Also, a canine behaviorist educator must be up to date in his knowledge. This profession, which is not yet regulated, is accessible to anyone who has validated their ACACED, which consists of following a 2-day training course and passing a 30-question multiple choice test to gain access to the profession of canine educator, but also to boarding, breeding, pet sitter, etc. You will easily understand that this is clearly not enough to learn a profession and to carry it out correctly. This is why, if you are considering this profession, you should choose a training that has up-to-date knowledge (we will deal with this point later in this file).
THE PROFESSION OF CANINE BEHAVIORIST EDUCATOR : THE COMPLETE FILE
Is it a good idea to specialize in one area as a dog behaviorist?
It is also possible to specialize according to your interests: dog sports, cooperative care, dog dancing, feeding, dog photography, group or educational walks, aggressiveness, separation anxiety, etc…
There are currently many specialties and each professional will be able to find his or her happiness.
You can also choose to work at home, on your own land and in individual lessons, group lessons or even group walks.
This leaves a wide choice of work according to your preferences.
But, be careful not to be a specialist in every field, it is simply not possible and can discredit your work. You must specialize in what you are passionate about to be truly effective and efficient.
The advantages and disadvantages of working in an educational field
In general, a training ground must measure at least 1500 square meters. Having a water point to hydrate the dogs will be highly appreciated, especially in the middle of summer with the current heat. Electricity will also be a huge bonus in order to be able to work in the evening without being in complete darkness.
Having shade is also necessary with a shelter that will also protect you from the rain so that you can work even in bad weather.
If your finances allow it, investing in a shed fitted out with fake grass and some agility apparatus can make the work quite possible even by very bad weather. It will be more pleasant for your customers who will not have any excuse not to come to make their lesson.
The field must of course be properly fenced to avoid potential runaways and accidents. This is a point not to be taken lightly because some dogs can jump from a very high distance (2 meters minimum).
ZOOM on Nature de Chien’s training: It is not always easy to find the terrain that corresponds to your area. At Nature de Chien we help our former trainees to find and approach the town halls to look for land to rent or buy. Some of our former trainees get together to set up this project together.
The advantages and disadvantages of working on a land :
Having your own yard will allow you to have better control of the environment. Let’s take an example: If you are working with a dog that is reactive to other dogs or even to humans, having a secure and fenced yard will allow you to manage in a very precise and safe way the individuals that will intervene to work the dog without the unwanted arrival of an inappropriate individual. Your work will therefore be well organized.
Being on a fenced and safe ground will also have an impact on the confidence of your customers. And yes, some clients are so afraid of losing their dog for lack of recall that it will help them feel reassured during the lessons because Titou will not be able to run away.
One of the advantages is also to be on the spot, and thus, allows to limit the displacements and the expenses which that engenders (gasoline, time of displacement, etc…). Being on site without having to leave between each appointment will allow you to have more customers on your workday, and this is financially much more interesting.
However, having a beautiful dog training area involves installation costs due to the purchase of solid and attractive fences and gates. The cost of renting or buying the land can also be factored into your budget or monthly fees. Also think about maintenance. It goes without saying that you don’t want your workplace to look like a jungle, so an investment in a gardener or a lawnmower will be necessary.
The aesthetic aspect may seem superficial to some, but a well-mown field with beautiful, clean and well-maintained equipment will have a much better impact on the customer’s mind in order to convince him to come to you, rather than a field with poorly maintained fences and with dirty and broken agility equipment.
THE PROFESSION OF CANINE BEHAVIORIST : THE COMPLETE FILE
The advantages and disadvantages of working in clients’ homes
Now let’s talk about working from home.
Most clients prefer that the dog trainer come directly to their home to see the environment in which their dog lives and the potential mistakes that the dog makes on a daily basis. This way, the dog trainer does not have to travel to the client’s home and the service is more comfortable because the client has to wait for the professional to arrive.
The advantage is that we will work directly in the environment of the master. And yes, if it is necessary to foresee changes in the home, it allows to see everything in order to better analyze. It will be possible to adapt the situation by being directly on site with the owner.
However, most of your customers will not be your neighbors and this will generate travel expenses, as well as time on the road to be planned and optimized in order not to lose too much time, and therefore money, on a working day. The idea would be to gather your appointments on a certain area on half days or full days if the schedules of your customers can coincide with each other in order not to make too many unnecessary return trips. Because making 1h30 of round trip for only one hour of lessons will not be profitable in the end. With the current inflation, be careful and organized on this point so that your costs do not rise too much.
One of the biggest difficulties is the fact that you have to manage the environment to make the dog successful in its learning. Being outside in a park or in the middle of a city, it is often difficult to manage unexpected encounters that can happen out of nowhere. This requires self-control on your part to manage your client and your dog so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. You can also find places that are adapted to the problems to be worked on, such as fields with an unobstructed view, for example, in order to stay safe and anticipate unwanted encounters.
What is the best choice, to have a field or to work at the clients’ home?
In our opinion, it is important to remain complementary and to be able to offer both options (home and own land) in order to satisfy the widest possible range of clients.
It is only a question of organization in order to optimize the working time so that the days are as productive as possible.
QUALITIES TO HAVE WHEN YOU ARE A DOG BEHAVIORIST EDUCATOR
Wanting to work with dogs because we love them is unfortunately not a good enough reason.
This job is a job of contact with humans and it goes without saying that you must like social contact.
This is a passionate job and requires certain qualities in order to work properly.
Don’t forget to want to help people without judging them!
A good canine professional will not be judgmental, whether it is towards his clients, or even between colleagues (and yes, even if the working methods are not similar, respect must be shown to all).
Each dog is a unique individual with its own emotions and history. We will not educate in the same way and with the same speed such and such dog.
When faced with distraught owners, we must also show empathy and calm in order to reassure, guide and help our clients progress.
As they need help, our confidence in ourselves and in our work must be felt as well.
How do we react to a health professional who seems unsure of his or her diagnosis? We would go elsewhere to avoid making a mistake.
For dog training? It’s exactly the same feeling.
Having confidence in us will help the client to have confidence in himself and in his dog.
Knowing how to adapt is a quality to have to be a dog trainer
Finally, it is important to be adaptable. As previously stated, each dog is a unique individual, with his own personality and we must adapt ourselves according to him and also according to the desires and preferences of each client.
We must know how to bounce back if a work protocol fails, to question ourselves and to find the solution that will be adapted.
ZOOM on Nature de Chien training: At Nature de Chien, our former trainees have access to a private group and stay in touch to have support and follow-up after training in order to carry out their job. This helps them feel supported and secure in their protocol.
The last bonus quality to have is to always want to know more. We are always learning more about animals and training and research is coming out very regularly. It is therefore necessary to stay up to date if you want to be a good professional.
THE NEGATIVE POINTS OF THE PROFESSION OF DOG EDUCATOR :
However, being a dog educator does not have only advantages and you should know that.
Even if these inconveniences will seem slight to some, it is important to mention them:
We work outside, even in the cold and rainy winter. And yes, unless you are lucky enough to have a covered/closed room, this is still an outdoor job and you have to be aware of that.
Customers will not always be kind to you. You will have to be patient as indicated above, and know how to adapt to their demands which will not always be adapted to their dog’s level. It is up to you to know how to reason with them and guide them towards the right path while being as educational as possible. It is a job where schedules and days off are not always easy to take. Lessons will be mainly in the evening, on weekends or during school vacations when clients are not at work. And yes, working with animals is a full time job!
You have to be able to manage several hats: dog educator, manage your company documents, do your accounting, write contracts, manage employees, etc… When we talk about adaptability, it is not only about dogs but also about managing a company. Whether it’s a self-employed business or a larger company, it’s important to know how to juggle different jobs. Basically, you will be multi-hatted!
You will be self-employed, knowing how to manage your business and your budget will be necessary and not always obvious.
ZOOM on Nature de Chien training: At Nature de Chien, we help our former trainees to start and learn how to manage their business. In fact, 93.3% of our former trainees consider that the Nature de Chien training helped them get started as a professional.
These details may not scare you, and all the better if they do, but you need to be aware of them. The jobs with animals are difficult but passionate jobs, and when you are passionate, you can overcome all these barriers with flying colors.
The satisfaction of our Nature de Chien trainees
VIDEO: “I’m afraid to start as a dog behaviorist”
If you are afraid of becoming a dog behaviorist, Chloé FESCH, from Nature de Chien, invites you to watch this video to help you see things more clearly:
What is the financial investment and what will be your income as a dog training professional?
The salary of a behaviorist dog educator:
Dog Nature Source
On average, a dog trainer can earn between 1000 and 2500 euros. It is important to know that this can vary depending on the month, as some months can be more depressed, such as during the winter and holiday periods. Weather conditions and people going on vacation can also slow down our activity. It’s up to you to manage your income so that you don’t find yourself in trouble if some months are less productive than others. However, it remains a totally viable profession if you are motivated and passionate!
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training: Our former trainees do this job for a living and today 83,1% of our trainees start as canine behaviorist educators after our training, and above all, live from this job. And only 3.4% are, to this day, not satisfied with their income as a canine behaviorist educator.
Career transition for dog educators
Expenses to consider when starting out as a dog trainer
Regardless of the status of your future company, you will need to plan for a little financial baggage in order to take care of the important details to be operational on the job market.
And yes, it won’t be enough to buy lanyards and treats, there are many other things to consider when starting out as a dog trainer.
To start your own business, you need to consider these points:
Professional insurance :
Take out professional liability insurance, as well as professional insurance for your vehicle.
Name and visual identity of your company:
You will also need to find your visual identity and this will involve creating your logo and finding the name of your future company. To protect the name of our company, we recommend to register your brand at the INPI. This is not mandatory, but is strongly recommended.
Creation of your website and logo :
Another of the important points to consider is to create a website properly. This includes the creation, the hosting, the domain name, having a good referencing, etc…
Do not hesitate to call a professional who will be able to help you, to create it from A to Z because it remains a precise field and your site will be the starting point of your company.
Creation of your marketing visuals:
Afterwards, it is up to you to develop publicity in order to make yourself known in your region through flyers and business cards dropped off at various merchants: veterinarians, groomers, pet shops, bakeries, etc…
Floating your vehicle can also be a huge help because you will now be visible, wherever you are.
Depending on your budget and your choice to use a field or not, you will also have to think about the equipment: lanyards, toys, treat bags, various treats for the dogs, harnesses, muzzles, chewing items, etc…
And possibly equipment for agility, puppy play. If you have land, solid fences, a small storage shed and a shelter in order to receive your clients properly during your educational sessions.
All these items represent a small budget, but most of these costs will be a one-time investment.
The consumable will be regular, but it is not the biggest financial aspect.
Your knowledge update trainings:
And one of the essential points that we will develop below, is to think of putting aside in order to invest in continuous training. Yes, having as much knowledge as possible and especially recent knowledge is very important in order to advise your future clientele as accurately as possible. The dog world is constantly evolving and it is therefore essential to stay up to date.
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training, canine behaviorist educator:
We offer many interesting partnerships on all these different points to our former Nature de Chien trainees in order to help them get started safely and without breaking the bank!
All our former trainees benefit from :
The ability to return to the training as an observer for free Access to course updates for free Access to additional training content for free (coaching your client, organizing educational walks, introduction to cooperative care, etc… are all offered in the form of videos on the private group of former trainees)
About the partners:
A GPS collar for dog offered A retailer access allowing to have up to 40% on the canine material (of which puppy recreation, saddlery, agility, etc…)A reduction of 20% and the possibility of having a sponsor code on a wide choice of natural treats A promotional code with a partner for transport cages, for CDB, for treat bags, for food,…
Concerning the creation of your professional project:
The setting up of a professional insurance contract including category 1 and 2 dogs negotiated exclusively for our former traineesThe realization of your logo and website for an extremely advantageous rate A course and an assistance on the creation and management of your company, as well as your social networks
Concerning the follow-up of your knowledge :
Setting up of complementary trainings, and improvement with specialized and recognized speakers on various topics such as dog sports, aggressiveness, socialization, cooperative care, etc…
Now that you are convinced, how can you become a canine educator?
TRAINING COURSES TO BECOME A CANINE EDUCATOR :
We really want to professionalize the profession of dog educator which is unfortunately too easily accessible today without real recognition.
There are as many training centers today as there are dog training techniques, that is to say… Many.
BP Canine Educator
There is the Brevet Professionnel Educateur Canin (over 2 years) which is currently recognized (even if you don’t need any official diploma to practice as a dog educator except the ACACED). However, not all centers are up to date and not all teach positive education. It is therefore important to choose the right training center for you.
Private training to become a behaviorist dog educator
Then there are many training centers that offer very serious private training.
However, beware of training centers that only offer online theory. Becoming a dog behavior professional is not done remotely by simply reading texts, no matter how well written they may be. It is necessary to have real practice with dogs and clients in order to have the right keys in hand.
Educational methods in the canine field:
The other point to consider is the educational method taught. As mentioned above, there are many ways to educate your dog today and this implies different ways to teach dog training to future professionals.
We are currently seeing a great deal of disagreement between traditional/coercive methods and positive methods. The choice you make will be yours alone, but we will explain in a few words the difference between these different working techniques.
Traditional methods are educational approaches to dog training based on the theory of dominance, the notion of the pack leader, etc… You will learn to work your dog through coercion and punishment. The idea is mostly to wait until the dog makes a mistake to “punish” this behavior and put it out.
When we talk about coercive methods (definition of the word “coercive”: which exerts a constraint), we mean the fact of shouting at your dog, pulling on the leash by jerks, putting on an electric collar or choke, etc…
And these are just a few examples.
We cannot deny that these methods work quickly. That is undeniable.
But, the consequences on the behavior of the dog and its mental are quite disastrous: traumatic effect, physical problems such as tremors, diarrhea by stress, etc. It also causes intellectual problems because the dog will no longer have confidence in himself, nor in his human. He will take less or no initiative and he may become unable to use his intellectual potential.
Moreover, the legislation is very clear concerning training practices. Indeed, article 7 of the secret 2004-418, clearly indicates: “No pet animal must be trained in a way that is detrimental to its health and well-being, in particular by forcing it to exceed its natural abilities or strength or by using artificial means that cause injury or unnecessary pain, suffering or anguish.” Source: Legifrance.gouv
Zoom on Nature de Chien’s training: At Nature de Chien, we have chosen to teach our knowledge through methods that are as benevolent towards the dog as they are towards humans. Positive education is based on the cooperation and understanding of the dog by working through the motivation and confidence of the canine/human duo. Working through methods that respect the dog will have many advantages such as having a dog that will trust its owner, that will dare to make decisions and that will have its stress/anxiety greatly reduced because we will work by respecting its emotions.
Video link, I am against coercive education :
Focus on the Nature de Chien training to become a canine behaviorist educator
Nature de Chien is a training center for dog educators, and trains you in small groups over a 3 to 5 week period.
The trainers are also in continuous training in France and abroad and offer you an updated content. Nature de Chien trainers are also trained in human management and use fun and friendly teaching techniques with their trainees during the canine behaviorist training.
Including client meetings, comprehensive theory, workshops and post-training follow-up, you will achieve your goal by completing this training.
Many advantages are offered to former trainees, such as advanced training courses, promotions on equipment, gifts, or help and assistance in the realization of your professional project.
Our goal is to train you with the greatest seriousness and with the broadest and most modern knowledge possible, but also, and above all, to keep in touch with our trainees.
We do not want to leave them in the wild without any help and this is a point of honor that we develop a lot in our training center.
To learn more about the training center: www.naturedechien.fr
Video presentation of our training :
CAERD, a mandatory step
Finally, you will have to pass the ACACED (Attestation de Connaissances pour les Animaux de Compagnie d’Espèces Domestiques) which is a mandatory step before starting as a dog professional. It is a 2-day training course accessible to all which will allow you to start. It takes place in an agricultural high school, followed by a 30 questions MCQ in order to obtain your validation. It must be renewed every 10 years. This allows you to have access to all the jobs related to dogs: breeder, educator, mediator, pension, etc…
THE OPPORTUNITIES OF THE PROFESSION OF CANINE EDUCATOR :
What to do when you graduate?
You have different possibilities according to your desires and opportunities.
You can start your own company to be independent and go on an adventure. You will be your own boss. It’s a rewarding experience but it can be intimidating at first depending on your self-confidence.
Where to start? It is recommended that you start near a large city or between three medium-sized cities.
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training: 81.1% of our former trainees are working, and 63.3% have launched their business under the micro-enterprise regime.
It is also possible to work for a company as a dog trainer if you wish, in order to have a framework at your beginning. Everything is possible with motivation and determination.
Collaborations between professionals can also be possible in order to work as a team in the same region. And yes, having colleagues close to you allows you to consult each other in case of doubt, or even to help each other on certain cases depending on your specialties!
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training: We encourage exchange between former trainees who meet via a private group and many exchange especially when they are in the same sector.
THE POSSIBILITIES OF EVOLUTION IN THE DOG WORLD :
If you’re looking to grow in a professional environment, you’ve come to the right place.
The canine industry is constantly evolving and there are so many specialties that it will be easy for you to find your way.
You can easily evolve and become a trainer if you wish one day to teach this wonderful profession to other future professionals, open a boarding house and educate your little boarders during their vacations, develop breeding and offer a great development to future puppies before their adoption. Everything can be possible.
ZOOM on the Nature de Chien training: We have a principle of collaboration with our former trainees who can work with us according to their specializations or desires.
It is also time to write articles to educate the general public, you can also create content on Youtube, etc.
As you can see, the internet will be a great ally to popularize dog training to as many people as possible!
There are many opportunities for development and work in this field.
If you are ready to take the plunge, you will not regret it because it is a really exciting job, you will learn constantly and even the inconveniences will be a mere trifle!
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our training courses and this fantastic profession!
File written by the Nature de Chien trainers:
Chloé FESCH, founder of Nature de Chien, canine behaviorist educator since 2009, trainer since 2012, author of several books on positive education of dogs and puppies, speaker and youtuber
Pauline VIDAL, former Nature de Chien trainee, canine behaviorist educator since 2019 specialized in cooperative care and animal photography, trainer and web editor at Nature de Chien since 2022