Protection dog trainers must have knowledge of animal behavioral skills and be comfortable working with dogs and people. They are responsible for training dogs to help protect homes and businesses, and also to develop a good working relationship between the dogs and their handlers.
A protection dog trainer teaches teamwork and trust between dogs and their handlers for effective property and personal protection. Personal experience in training dogs and an understanding of dog behavior are essential requirements for dog trainers. Protection dog trainers generally complete relevant training, such as through workshops and seminars; they also have some relevant experience working with dogs.
|Required Education||Workshop and seminar training|
|Other Requirements||Experience with dogs|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||11% for animal trainers|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)*||$26,610 for animal trainers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Protection dog trainers employ animal behavioral skills to train dogs for home and business protection. They train dogs in socialization and advanced obedience commands, so the dog will snap, growl and bark at an intruder but not attack. Protection dog handlers properly train dogs to adhere to the handler's voice commands, so dogs don't pose a threat in public places.
One of the primary duties of a protection dog trainer is to evaluate the behavior and disposition of dogs to determine if they are suitable candidates for protection training. The trainer teaches dogs to respond to voice commands, such as 'sit', 'down', 'stay', 'heel' and 'come', using positive reinforcement techniques. Trainers train dogs not to attack or bite but to still appear threatening to an intruder or aggressive person. A protection dog trainer encourages the dog and the dog handler to be a confident team during stressful situations.
Some trainers may also handle administrative or business-related tasks. These duties may include planning marketing campaigns, bookkeeping, billing and interacting with potential clients.
Protection dog training positions typically do not have specific education requirements, though some community colleges do offer related courses in dog behavior and obedience. Animal behavior courses give dog trainers a solid foundation in understanding dog behavior and body language. Although not required, business management, accounting or communications classes or degree programs are also available. These programs can useful for those who plan to be self employed or manage a protection dog training business.
Experience working with dogs is often a requirement for this position. Prospective dog trainers may get experience handling dogs by attending classes or working at an established dog training school. Local workshops in advanced obedience training and protection also offer a way to gain experience with dog training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dog trainers usually complete up to two dozen workshops or seminars in dog training methods before becoming professional trainers.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an annual median salary of $26,610 for animal trainers in general. Jobs for animal trainers were predicted to increase slightly faster than the national average, at 11% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS.
Although postsecondary education is not required in order to be a protection dog trainer, these professional trainers can opt to take college courses in dog behavior and obedience. Business management studies or courses in communications and accounting may also be an asset. Experience working with dogs is also crucial to beginning a career as a protection dog trainer.