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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently going back to college to get a BA after taking a year off because realistically I know its an important fallback to have in this day and age. I'm going for Equine Science and I'm planning to focus on behavior. I went to school for 2 years for biology and am switching to equine science now so my guess is I'll be in for another 4 years, perhaps with some of those years being a part time student, since I'll have some credits that transfer over but no classes towards my major. I'm picking a school in an area I'd like to live in though so I can sort of park myself somewhere for a while and not keep moving around so often (I hate the back and forth of college life). I'm thinking I'll end up outside cleveland or in western mass.

I'm thinking of a career in horse training, riding instruction, theraputic riding or some spin-off working with a horse related publication or something, or trying to pursue being a dog trainer.

I'm coming over from dominance theory (I grew up watching "Dog Whisperer" on TV, unfortunately) and am building up a library on positive training and dog behavior to re-educate myself. My current titles are:
Canine Behavior: An Illustrated Guide by Barbara Handelman
Genetics and Social Behavior of the Dog by John Paul Scott
How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves by Sophia Yin

I'm also working with my ~4.5 month old Boston Terrier as a test subject dog to work on training tricks and methods. I'm hoping to do obedience trials and agility with her as she gets older, and maybe get her certified as a therapy dog. I may be taking on my parent's dog as a test project as well; she's pretty poorly behaved because they were completely lax in all the training I gave her before I left for school 2 years ago. Once I'm more settled I hope to add a second dog to my own family- I'd really like a shepherd or border collie.

I'm just wondering how many professional trainers are one here and how you got your starts? Are you able to do it full time or is it something you have to work with another job to make ends meet (maybe a little personal)? What's the work like? I know its a very people-oriented job since you're really working with people as your primary clients and the dogs secondarily- is that tiring in the same way retail work can be tiring?
 

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I'm 90% sure @kmes is a dog trainer, so maybe she can weigh in here.

I also have plans to become a dog trainer. I currently volunteer/help out at a dog obedience school (all positive reinforcement, clicker training) which is very beneficial. Next year, I also have plans to enroll in the Karen Pryor (speaking of her, "Don't shoot the dog" is a must have book!) Dog Trainer Professional program, which is online modules and then workshops.

I've also met people at the dog park who find out I'm studying to become a dog trainer, and they ask to meet up and go over things. I'm clearly not making any money right now, so I can't give much advice there.

As far as people, it can be frustrating. Week after week, you can tell who doesn't work on anything and then is frustrated at you and/or their dog, which is frustrating. I LOVE watching that lightbulb moment for dogs and trainers when it just clicks, and it's amazing to watch people and their dogs working together.
 

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@Moonstream The college I went to was one of the only college in the US that offered Equine Acupuncture as a degree. It made for a cool collection of people. We had NCAA championship Rodeo and Equestrian team and had monthly shows.

Sorry to hijack just thought it was cool. A couple of my good friends were on the Rodeo/Equestrian team and studied either pre-vet, large animal pre-vet (i think that is what is called), equine studies, or agriculture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you don't mind me asking, what school was it? I'm looking at UMass Amherst or Lake Erie as my top 2, mostly because I like the areas. I'm planning to live off campus and work 1-2 part time jobs because I found I don't really like college living (dorms, partying, etc) and it makes me anxious and depressed, so really most schools (especially the kinds of schools with an equine degree) are going to be pretty similar in a lot of ways. It's a lot down to the size of the 2 schools and the locations at this point.

I'm hoping to focus on training, which I think I'll be able to do as long as I don't get injured badly again during college (part of the reason I'm taking a year off is I had to withdraw last year due to a badly broken arm/surgery/recovery).
 

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Murray State University (Murray, Kentucky). I only did "dorm life" for a single semester my freshman year because of the same reasons, my junior year I ended up buying a house about 2 miles from campus.

I choose it because it was 12,000 students (the majority of which were local) and there was a "real" college campus (even the barns are located super close to the main campus).
 
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