Guide dog training is a challenging career that requires a high level of dedication and commitment. Working with dogs and helping blind people can be extremely rewarding, but job opportunities are limited. The role of a guide dog trainer is diverse. General dog training, selecting suitable puppies for assistance work, socialising the dogs and working with blind people to help them benefit from the dogs are just some of the essential jobs that you'll be doing.
Get your High School Diploma. Without graduating from high school it is highly unlikely that a guide dog training centre will consider your application. If you didn't finish high school, you should complete a General Education Development test.
Get relevant experience. Before applying to guide dog training centres, you should be able to demonstrate that you have dog training experience. General dog obedience training forms a large part of the guide dog trainer's role, so experience in this area is a huge advantage.
Become qualified. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers and The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers issue dog training qualifications and accreditation.A qualification in dog training will show that you have experience and that you have achieved a recognised standard as a trainer.
Prepare your resume. Before you apply for an apprenticeship, you'll need to make sure that your resume reflects the experience and knowledge that you have developed. Include any relevant volunteer work that you have done. Ask any dog trainers you've worked with to write a testimonial for you and put this at the top of your resume.
Apply for apprenticeships. Application processes vary from state to state, but the requirements are very similar across the country. Guide dog training is a popular career choice and competition will be intense. You should consider relocating if there are no vacancies in your area. Being prepared to relocate will demonstrate your commitment to any future employers.
Keep up to date with vacancies. Once you have completed your apprenticeship, you can move into full-time guide dog training. Most full-time guide dog trainers are hired from apprenticeships, so keep in touch with the guide dog training centres in your local area and ask them to hold your resume on file.
Volunteer at puppy classes to get experience of good canine socialisation practices.
Guide dog trainer hours are long and you may be required to work a lot of overtime.