It wasn’t that long ago that the only careers involving dogs were either becoming a veterinarian, being a dog trainer or running a dog boarding facility. The dreams of many a child of doing something with a dog that involved making money soon evaporated either because of the academic requirements needed to become a vet, the lack of training courses or the cost of buying or developing a boarding facility.
Not so today!
Never before have so many opportunities to work with dogs been available:
•Doggy day care assistant: with people now more aware of the needs of dogs to play and be around other dogs, there has been a rapid growth in the number of facilities offering doggy day care. Opportunities to get hands on experience caring for dogs abound.
•Dog walker: many people are choosing to employ professional dog walkers to take their dog(s) for walks for a variety of reasons.
•Dog groomer: with dog owners becoming more specific as to what their dogs should look like, the demand for grooming has grown significantly in recent years. The growth has also been driven by the number of non-shedding or hypoallergenic breeds that require regular grooming due to the lack of shedding.
•Puppy house sitter: a lot of people now prefer to have someone come to their home to look after their dog rather than put them in a boarding facility.
•Puppy play mate: service dog organizations employ people to play with new born puppies to help with socialization.
•Show dog handler: learn how to present and walk a dog at dog shows.
•Veterinary technician: work as a support staff member in a veterinary clinic.
•Rescue organization helper: although a number of volunteers generally help in this not for profit sector, there are often paid positions available, depending on the size of the organization.
•Retail store assistant: there are now more pet stores and specialty canine goods stores as a result of people wanting to pamper or add to the quality of their pets’ lives.
•Pet artist/ photographer: there is growing demand for pet pictures/ photos.
•Dog trainer: although not a new profession, there is now a more comprehensive array of courses that can be taken to learn to become a dog trainer. Whether you’d like to become more of a generalist trainer or work towards becoming a specialist in one or more areas, for example aggressive dog behaviourist, there are courses, combining theory with hands on experience, available.
•Pound worker: work with a city pound, either caring for dogs or rescuing abused or lost dogs.
•Researcher or research assistant: many universities offer positions for research into canine behaviour, often linked with veterinary courses.
•Boarding facility assistant/ owner: the growth in the number of dogs being kept as pets and people taking vacation has led to more boarding facilities opening, with a greater variety of services being offered.
The list above will hopefully give you some ideas so, if you’re looking for a change of career or just finishing high school, you may want to consider one of the many ways you could work with man’s best friend.