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Become a dog trainer on your own: know everything

The dog trainer is a professional whose mission is to educate dogs and help their owners to better take them in hand. Sometimes called a pet coach , the dog trainer uses methods that are adapted to the environment and the breed of the animal. He also advises pet owners on hygiene, food, behavior and safety.

The profession of independent dog trainer actually falls into three categories:

  • It is agricultural in nature if we are talking about breeding and training animals: in this case, it will be necessary to choose an agricultural status and the contribution fund will be the MSA. Self-enterprise and micro-enterprise impossible.
  • According to Decree No. 2017-861 of May 9, 2017, it is artisanal in nature if the activity is behavioral education (without breeding or training strictly speaking) or boarding for pets, with registration with the CMA (chamber of trades),
  • It is liberal in nature if it consists of simple advice to animal owners (“coaching”). Self-business and micro-business possible.

The difference between these three types of activities is sometimes difficult to interpret. To put it simply, services aimed only at raising and training the animal at an early age fall under agriculture. Services which aim to modify the behavior of adult animals are part of the craft industry. On the contrary, the services which concern the understanding and improvement of the human-animal relationship are more a matter for the liberal (intellectual process of observation, analysis and advice).

Examples of agricultural activities:

  • training of truffle dogs,
  • training of working or defense dogs,
  • dog training or agility club.

Examples of craft activities:

  • behavioral educator,

Examples of liberal activities:

  • intervention in private homes for observation and advice,
  • coaching for owners and pets,
  • group training on the subject of the relationship between man and dog.

The dog training market is experiencing a favorable development. Dog owners pay increasing attention to the comfort and behavior of their animals. The market remains very competitive, however .

Becoming a self-employed dog trainer requires passion for animals, patience, pedagogy and responsiveness to manage all situations. You will also need to be a good manager and a good communicator.

Here is all the information you need to know to start a dog trainer business or become a freelance behavioral dog trainer.

Becoming a self-employed dog trainer: the required qualities.

The profession of dog trainer requires adapting to the specific needs of each client:

  • choice of the education method most suited to the characteristics of the animal,
  • choice of place of learning or training: at the client’s premises, or on a neutral educational ground,
  • organization of outings and activities (simulation exercises, cani rando, group lessons, etc.),
  • specific work with the dog’s master to teach him to get to know his animal better and to manage the different situations that arise on a daily basis.

The job requires good physical condition, excellent knowledge of dogs and different breeds, as well as mastery of training techniques.

The dog trainer can be required to work in difficult conditions, on weekends, and in any climate.

Install dog trainer: diploma and regulations.

To become a dog trainer under agricultural status , you will need a dog trainer diploma obtained from a school recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture.

On the contrary, no diploma is in theory necessary to become an artisanal or liberal dog trainer However, it will be necessary to obtain a Certificate of Proficiency in Companion Animals of Domestic Species (CCAD) after a short training and a test. Contact the DDPP (departmental directorate for population protection) or the DDCSPP (departmental directorate for social cohesion and population protection).

Finally, it should be noted that there are specific regulations regarding the training of defense dogs.

The dog training market in France.

The success of the profession of dog trainer is linked to the rapid growth of the pet market . In general, the French always spend more on their dog: education tends to become a fully-fledged expense item, alongside food or veterinary services.

However, competition in the market is strong, due to relatively low barriers to entry:

  • training centers,
  • dog clubs,
  • professionals working at home,
  • specialized websites and online videos.

Some dog breeders manage to specialize in market niches: specific breeds, companion dogs for children, the elderly or disabled, guide dogs, defense or hunting dogs.

The word-of-mouth is the best way to become known.

Become a dog trainer on your own: the legal status.

If the activity of the dog breeder relates to the agricultural field, he should contact the Chamber of Agriculture and choose an agricultural status: 

On the other hand, if he settles on a liberal or artisanal basis, the dog trainer will have the choice between the following different legal statuses:

  • The micro-enterprise (eg diet entrepreneur ): very simplified status that can be adapted for starting a small business:
    • no accounting but obligation to establish a follow-up of the turnover on a “notebook of receipts”,
    • obligation to have a bank account dedicated to the activity,
    • note that this legal status is subject to turnover ceilings,
  • The sole proprietorship in its own name (EI or EIRL in the event of limited liability): this is an adapted but complex statute with regard to the payment of social contributions,
  • The Sarl (SARL single partner): it is a status that may be well suited for developing business. The manager himself determines his remuneration, which determines the basis of his social contributions,
  • The SASU : this legal regime is more expensive than the EURL,

Creating a dog trainer business: the steps

  • Train yourself,
  • Validate your project by a market study ,
  • Write a financial forecast: 
  • Find funding (if necessary) and buy the equipment and vehicle necessary for your activity,
  • Obtain the certificate of competence,
  • Choose your legal form and register,
  • Take professional insurance,
  • Start communication and find your customers. 

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