According to the The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) , a professional organization, most individual who work as dog trainers are self educated. They go on to say that certification is available from many training courses that are "happy to charge you a fee" for a certificate. The organization advises those who want to attend a training school to "do your homework." They provide a short list of what to look for in a program (So You Want to Be a Dog Trainer).
While animal trainers work directly with animals, they have a significant amount of contact with people too. Dealing with both requires compassion and patience. Teaching animals requires good problem solving skills. Trainers must have good physical stamina that allows them to bend, lift and kneel.
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A Day in an Animal Trainer's Life:
- Evaluate animals to find out what type of training is needed and possible based on their temperaments, abilities and aptitudes
- Interact, both verbally and physically, with animals to get them used to human voice and contact
- Condition animals to respond to commands
- Give positive reinforcement
- Provide animals mental stimulation, physical exercise and hands-on care
- Oversee diet preparation
Animal trainers often work in competitions and shows. Those who do often conduct educational programs for visitors and guests.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Animal Care and Service Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos168.htm(visited April 9, 2013).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Animal Trainer, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/details/39-2011.00 (visited April 9, 2013).