Monday, September 8, 2014


The work of a dog trainer is often very different than what most would consider a "regular job". There are ups and downs, of course, and sometimes it is hard to get myself into the "work" mode for the day. 
However, being a dog trainer is so is stressful (especially in the first meeting) because a dog trainer works hard to create a good impression, and because people are trusting us to not only help them, but also keep their dogs safe and happy; there is a lot of stress involved. 
To understand what a dog trainer goes through daily is difficult...we work in a profession that offers no REAL degree, so we can't rely on credentials like a lawer or doctor does, as those credentials don't really exist. We have all worked towards this profession in different means, and there are tons of other trainers out there who we are competing with, and often working with, so it is very clear that in our first session or class we are often being tested for our expertise and effectiveness. 
Many times I have people express that they believe it must be so wonderful to be able to work with dogs everyday. Believe me, it is, but it is also hard work. 
It's not very often that a trainer will break down the cost that goes into all of the time and effort we put into our work, but I would like to give everyone out there an idea. 
Working with an established company (as I do) means that I have a wonderful team of trainers to work with, and talk to for feedback and expertise that is not easy to come by on your own. This also means that I have someone to field calls, schedule sessions, and plan classes and curriculums all while I am out doing the training. My company in particular also has an office with staff who are ready to help when I don't have the time. Needless to say, all of this is expensive, not to mention that the trainers try to keep up on the most recent research and progressive ideas to give our clients the best experience we possibly can. 
We go to meetings, seminars, take classes of our own, and compete with our dogs in different dog sports in order to stay relevant and up to date with the most modern techniques in dog training. 
This is a very expensive venture, but gives us the best opportunity to provide the best service to our clients. 
We spend a great deal of our time driving to our clients houses, and then making sure that they have a successful session. 
As independent trainers, we also have the responsibility of dealing with the business aspect of training, and handle paperwork, taxes, scheduling, and marketing all on our own. 
Completing 2 or 3 sessions in one day is exhausting (and often we are doing more...I will regularly complete 4-8 sessions in one day, not including classes), because we are putting all of our effort and expertise into making sure that we give the best results possible, but is not as lucrative as most people think. For every session we work hard to do our best, and there is no down time in a session or a class; we are actively participating every moment that we work. When we are not actually in session, we are completing paperwork, working on our websites, returning phone calls or emails, and working to promote new classes and business and make new connections. 
Dog training is a wonderful profession if you love it, but it is not an easy one. As a dog trainer, you are ALWAYS working, and the work is stressful, although gratifying. 
Occasionally, we encounter a client who thinks our fee is "too expensive" or wants results immediately "like they see on tv" (which could open up a whole new conversation about the editing of reality tv, and how it is so geared toward "shock value" and marketing....but after all, do you really think that tv dog trainers go to multiple sessions within one day? Or that they charge the same amount as a trainer you would hire to come to your house? Or that they are not making their living on the tv show rather than the actual clients??). 
As dog trainers, we all work hard to give the best experience we can...however, there are not only many different types of dog trainers, but also many different levels and qualities of dog trainers. 
The point of this post is to help the everyday person understand that when you do your research and find that amazing trainer, please don't be shocked by the price they quote you...understand that we are all working hard to make a living, and us dog trainers are not living in mansions making money hand over fist, we are often struggling hard just to survive every day...and many of us are putting any excess money that we have right back into our education of dog training so that we can provide the best experience possible, because this is our's what we love to do...beyond our friends' and families' reccomendations that we find something else to provide us with the "all-mighty" dollar. 
Don't think for one minute that we are making a huge profit charging the $100-$250 (or more) a session...the amount of time put into those sessions doesn't even begin to cover all of the costs that we put out to make sure that our clients are getting the best experience possible.

**I will make a point to say here, that there are probably tons if trainers out there who charge less than this, and if they do, there is a possibility that 1) they are not doing this for a living and therefore have means to sustain them beyond their passion for dog training, and good for them! As they are doing something that they love! And possibly 2) that they are not spending the time, money, or effort, to further their eduction and/or experience to make them a worthwhile trainer.
I am not trying to put anyone down, but there is a huge difference in being a dog trainer as a "profession" and doing it as a hobby.  Just because your neighbor down the street says that they train dogs, it doesn't mean that they can create the same results as a professional does...even if they charge half of what we do.
Do your research and, please, understand that for most of us, this is not only our job; it's our passion, it's our life, it's what we do in order to try to make the world better, one dog at a time. 
Dog training is a career that is chosen for the love of dogs.
I appreciate every client that I have and have experienced immense appreciation in response. 
Thank you to all of my wonderful clients, and I hope only that with this information you understand all that I do to make every experience all that much better!!

Thank you!
Katie McGuire
My Best Friend Obedience

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