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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
If you want to become a professional dog trainer, i.e. someone who actually makes money - or even a living - by teaching people how to train their dog, then So You Want to be a Dog Trainer by Nicole Wilde is a book you should read before plunging right into it. The chapters take you logically from one step to the other. First of all, you need to have the proper education to be able to call yourself a dog trainer. Then you will have to gain some experience as theory alone will not get you far. The book then moves on to what you need to do to set up a proper dog trainer business, how to get your first customers, and how to treat customers and their dogs. From dealing with difficult clients to how to talk on the phone, and how to turn your dog training into a full-time career: the book covers it all.
I would recommend So You Want to be a Dog Trainer by Nicole Wilde to people who already know how to train dogs (that's something you will NOT learn in this book - and generally, books can't be a substitute for years of experience), and who want to share their knowledge and expertise with less fortunate people, i.e. desperate dog owners who have no clue what they are doing with their dog. I work with dogs myself, and know how to deal with dogs, but I couldn't imagine being a dog trainer as such. The people part would be problematic; fortunately, this book makes it clear that the job of a dog trainer is as much or even more about people training as dog training. Most likely, the owner is the problem, not the dog. It takes a good trainer to get past the disbelief of owners who think they are not to be blamed for anything. Anyway, I am glad the author doesn't ignore the people factor involved in the everyday life of a dog trainer.
The book offers solid advice to dog trainers who are ready to start their own business. You will learn what you need to set up the business, from marketing to what you need in your tool kit for dog training classes to the more annoying issue of paperwork. You will learn where to find customers, and how to make sure you don't kill off important streams of customers who come as referrals from vets. You will also learn whether one-on-one classes or group classes are more your thing, and whether you visit clients at home, let them come to you (if you have the space) or meet them in a suitable outdoor spot. I would say it's a very, very valuable source of information that will make starting a dog trainer business much easier. I found the honesty of the author very refreshing, too. Some things need to be said - there are just too many idiotic dog trainers out there, and I'm sure people who heed Nicole Wilde's advice will be less likely to fall into that category.