Dog trainers in Scotland work in an industry full of competition but also with many opportunities. Dogs make popular pets in Scotland and are used as gun dogs in rural communities, as well as guide dogs to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Formal training, experience working with dogs and professional contacts constitute the three key areas required to become a successful dog trainer.
Volunteering to work with dogs provides a good way to gain valuable practical experience in dog training. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) offers volunteering opportunities working with various animals including dogs. The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association often has opportunities for volunteers in Scotland working with dogs.
Get some formal training. No legal requirement for formal qualifications exists for dog trainers in Scotland. However, a qualification will put you one step ahead of the competition. Courses range from certificates, diplomas and degrees in animal care. The Higher National Diploma in Animal Care at Aberdeen College teaches both animal care and animal behaviour.
Make some professional contacts. The United Kingdom Kennel Club runs the largest dog training scheme in the UK Getting to know your local Kennel Club–approved dog training club in Scotland is a good way to make contacts in the dog training industry. Visit the Kennel Club website (see Resources section) for a list of dog training clubs in Scotland.
Once you have gained qualifications and experienced working with dogs, take a look at the job market. Look for dog training jobs with police dogs, guide dogs, search-and-rescue dogs and gun dogs. If you would rather set up your own dog training business, develop a strong business plan.
Volunteers with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals must be over 18 years of age.