There is a big debate going on in the UK at the moment about whether or not you need to be a qualified gundog trainer.

On one side of the argument, you have people who say that it is essential for gundog trainers to have a qualification, in order to ensure that dogs are being trained safely and effectively.

On the other side of the argument, you have people who say that experience is more important than qualifications, and that anyone can become a good trainer with enough practice.

So, which side should you believe? In today’s podcast, we’ll take a look at both sides of the argument and help you make up your own mind!

Podcast Edition:

The Great Dog Training Debate: Qualifications vs. Experience

You may have seen the debate online or even within your local gundog training community – do you need to be a qualified dog trainer to successfully train your own pet gundog? There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and in this blog post, we’ll explore them both in more detail.

The definition of a qualified gundog trainer

It can be difficult to know what qualities make up a qualified gundog trainer, as there is no legally-mandated framework in the UK to define such qualifications. Generally speaking, however, there are some discussions around the standards that qualify any given individual as an experienced and knowledgeable dog trainer.

Many trainers have animal-related degree qualifications, while others draw on years of experience working with dogs in their businesses, in shelter settings or even in their own homes.

We can all agree trainers should also have an in-depth understanding of canine behaviour and be able to use positive reinforcement methods when training their clients’ pets.

Ultimately, it is best to meet with potential trainers in person and ask them questions to assess whether they are qualified to fulfil your needs and expectations.

The pros and cons of available certifications and qualifications

It’s no secret that there are both positives and negatives of needing to be qualified in any profession, including dog training. On one hand, having the relevant qualifications gives credibility and peace of mind to potential clients that you are knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy.

Qualifications or Certifications should also maintain a standard within the industry as well as demonstrate an individual’s commitment to their chosen subject – something that can be extremely beneficial for gaining career progression or employment opportunities.

However, with certificates being available online for as little as £9.99 from some websites, it could be argued the value of such accreditations is sometimes difficult to assess.

The pros and cons of experience-led training

In comparison to qualifications or certifications, there are obviously benefits to relying on experience when it comes to dog training. It’s often said that practice makes perfect and although this isn’t always the case, it is much easier to learn from mistakes if you can understand them and how not to repeat them.

Experience-led training also allows for the trainer to develop a better understanding of canine behaviour, which can lead to more tailored approaches that take into account an individual dog’s needs.

One potential downside, however, is that trainers who have only ever trained their own dogs may not be well-equipped to handle issues that arise with other clients.

Who decides if you need to be qualified or not in dog training

Deciding whether or not you need to be qualified in dog training is a tough decision with there being no set legal qualification framework. If you’re thinking of going into the business of dog training professionally, there are several factors to consider.

  • Are there any trainers already in your area?
  • How much experience do you have with dogs?
  • What techniques will you use, and what resources can you draw on?
  • How capable are you of training someone else and their dog?

All of these can influence the decision if you need to acquire additional training or experience before advertising yourself as a professional dog trainer.

Some may even argue that there is an ethical responsibility involved too, taking into account the safety of both dogs and owners. Ultimately there is currently no right or wrong answer – it’s a personal decision but there are plenty of resources available online to help inform your choice.

How to become a Professional Dog Trainer

Dog training is a rewarding and fulfilling career, What you need is passion and the right tools to achieve excellence in your chosen field. Firstly, there are many seminars and workshops available with specialist instructors who will introduce you to the fundamentals of behaviour and dog psychology.

Armed with knowledge gleaned from listening to established trainers with years of experience, you can move on to enrol in a certification, diploma or degree course, which will help solidify your newly acquired skills and also support future structures for practising as a professional trainer with proven qualifications.

Once you have studied and qualified as a professional, it would be beneficial to invest in additional resources such as books and videos for further refinement of your training techniques.

You may also wish to join associations or societies relevant to the area you are working in, to ensure continued access to all the latest information, support networks and industry events.

Why you don’t need to be qualified

The idea that a person needs to be formally qualified in order to do a job well is more often than not seen as a traditionalist view. In the modern world, with its fast-paced technological advances, there are those who think that in some areas, qualifications don’t matter.

Focus is instead placed on a person’s skill set and agility when it comes to learning new things. That’s not to say that everyone can do anything without formal prerequisites; the concept of qualification remains important for certain types of work such as medical or legal professions. However, overall, the way we approach jobs today often remedies the need for qualifications and instead looks for potential, experience and talent.

In the case of dog training, it is possible to learn the basics and hone your skills without having a diploma. However, if you are looking to go into this type of work professionally, acquiring some form of qualification will undoubtedly help build credibility and give you an edge in the industry. Ultimately, whether or not you need to be qualified is down to you and what you want out of your career.

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