Girl with Puppies

Can I really make a living playing with animals all day?

Yes, and it can be a very lucrative profession! Whether you choose to have a part-time job or a full-time career, when you put in the time and energy, the rewards are not only financial but spiritual, mental and physical as well. Imagine getting paid to play with cuddly puppies while you conduct a Smart Start puppy class. Your furry clientele will typically jump for joy as you walk through their door, and their owners will happily compensate you, for the skills you learn from ABA are priceless to them! The more discerning and educated public seek our humane, fun training methods, because their pets are precious members of their families.

What kind of job market is there for training companion animals?

The market is growing rapidly. According to a US government survey of animal care and service workers, employment in the industry is forecasted to grow faster than the average of all occupations through the year 2031. This is anticipated due to the trend of increasing households owning companion animals, baby boomers filling their ‘empty nests’ with four-legged friends, and a growing number of couples opting out of child-rearing, to lavish their pets with their time and affection instead.

Is animal training for everyone?

Only those possessing the necessary patience, physical endurance and communication skills will be highly successful within this industry.

What if I don’t have a lot of experience; can I still become a trainer?

Our students need a big heart and compassion for our companions. The loyalty of Lassie, the courage of Rin Tin Tin, the humor of Beethoven and the problem solving skills of 101 Dalmatians will enable any prospective trainer to succeed. If working for yourself is your goal, then discipline and self-motivation are also a necessity.

Man with Horse

What is the typical class size at the ABA?

At ABA, our focus is on quality rather than quantity, so our immersion courses are one on one or one on two. This permits us to offer personalized training, while also allowing us to provide individual counseling and hands-on experiences.

What training methods are taught at the academy?

We use only modern, twenty-first century methods that are backed and supported by scientific research. Mirroring methods used by trainers with marine mammals, the Animal Behavior Academy uses only painless, fear-free techniques. Clicker Training (Operant Conditioning), Positive Reinforcement with a focus on Motivation, Counter Conditioning, Psychology, Clear Communication, and Body Language/Identification are just some of the methodologies ABA adheres to.

WE DO NOT use choke collars, shock collars, physical abuse and domination or tranquilizers! Since 1986 our clients have found success, and thoroughly enjoyed using our humane methods while nurturing their loving relationship with their pets.

Will I be trained in other things besides dog training?

Our academy is not limited to teaching only dog training techniques; you’ll also learn handling and training skills with other species such as horses, birds, cats, small animals and even an occasional exotic critter. Pet CPR/ First Aid by the American Red Cross, finding solutions for difficult animals with behavior problems, exciting canine sports, breeding, stages of canine development, history of training, conformation, showmanship, business skills, obedience and agility are just some of the other courses you can expect to enjoy while attending ABA.

Why are your program lengths longer than most other schools?

We believe that your education needs to be thorough and complete in order to succeed! With the nearly 800 hours of training ABA provides to you, you can be assured that your preparation for a career in animal training is surpassed only by the confidence that you will have in your abilities. We cover business administration extensively, while also covering other behavior aspects such as nutrition, genetics, breed characteristics and more. Having hands-on experience and a set number of hours working in the field is required for professional memberships, licensing and certificates in the leading industry organizations. Most of the other schools will only prepare you with the minimum requirements, while the Animal Behavior Academy exceeds those expectations!

Dog Training on Hike

Will I have time to work while enrolled at ABA?

Because this is a full immersion course, it’s not advisable to attempt to fit in much else other than a day full of fun and relaxation once a week on the hiking trails, ski slopes, on the couch with a good book, playing in the Colorado River, or whatever floats your boat! The rest of the time you'll be working, learning, and training.

What if I can't afford to attend your program? Are there any options?

Work Study Program - Whether you need financial assistance or just want a little spending money along the way, our full immersion work-study program allows you to pay a minimal fee up front for your education while also earning a nominal income throughout your study time. Working within the animal industry for 30 hours per week will give you an opportunity to apply what you're learning in the 20 hour per week hands-on training time. Lodging, phone, internet, and limited other expenses are included and as a bonus you walk out with $100 in your pocket each week. Expect to commit between 6 months to a year to the work study program.

Can I bring my dog?

Although we don't encourage people to bring along their canine companions, we understand how important they are to you. Personal dogs are welcome on an invitation only basis, and are required to be evaluated by either a professional in the canine industry or via video by the faculty of the academy.

Naughty Dog gets into Food

Will I have the knowledge to start my own business?

Yes. We offer business planning, development and consulting. Assisting you in every step of the process from choosing your business name to writing your brochures, ABA provides you with every opportunity for success.

Areas also emphasized in our office administration training are: building and maintaining a client base, book keeping, advertising, phone skills and procuring business funding. Other vital pieces for a healthy business include interpersonal communication and proficiency in customer relations, both of which ABA helps to develop. When you can make yourself clearly understood, the sky is the limit with the potential of this field.

Will I know how to answer client’s questions about their problem dog?

Yes, being an animal trainer requires more than just training dogs that are already well behaved. Our graduates from ABA are skilled at teaching effective techniques to remedy problems such as: chewing, barking, digging, house training, jumping up, running away, counter surfing, stealing, aggression, as well as others. If unusual situations arise, our graduates have ongoing support and counseling services available for two full years. We want to be certain that you have every opportunity to succeed!

What if I don’t want to go into business for myself?

There are many facilities searching for qualified trainers including Pets Mart, Petco, Sea World and many locally owned businesses. Although our school primarily caters to those with entrepreneurial spirit, you will leave ABA with a great business sense in addition to training prowess.