Apprenticeship Program

Become A Professional Dog Trainer

The Wags & Wiggles Training Program has received national acclaim and has been featured on Animal Planet. Numerous people over the years have studied under Laurie Zurborg.  Some have come to work here, some continued their journey at shelters.  The dream of becoming a top dog trainer can now come true and you can learn from the best. 

The three levels can accommodate people fresh to the business or those with prior experience.  This venture should not be taken lightly.  It is a big commitment on your part as well as Wags & Wiggles.  If you have never used clicker training, we recommend taking a class at Wags & Wiggles first to familiarize yourself with our method of training.

In order to take the CPDT test you must have at least 300 hours experience in dog training within the last five years. Two hundred twenty-five (225) hours or 75% of experience must be actual teaching hours as a ‘Head Trainer’ or Instructor. Seventy-five (75) hours or 25% of experience can be in other related areas.

Before jumping into any new career, you should do some research. We offer a real life hands on apprenticeship program that will teach you the people skills, dog skills, and training skills needed to be a well-rounded trainer. Here are some other programs to look into before jumping in.

  • Peaceable Paws Apprenticeship
  • San Fran SPCA Training Academy
  • Raising Canine Courses
  • Book: So You Want To Be A Dog Trainer
  • Book: A Dog Trainers Guide To Private Training

Entrance Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must never have been convicted of a felony
  • Must physically be able to handle any dog of any size, even untrained dogs that jump and pull
  • Must be people and dog friendly, be a team player, and be able to multi task.
  • Must own your own dog
  • Must have some experience training dogs (your own or others) or working with dogs in some capacity
  • Must complete a personal interview with Wags & Wiggles.  Email Laurie.

 

Wags & Wiggles Apprenticeship Outline

LEVEL 1 - TRAIN THE DOG (100 HOURS)

GOAL
The apprentice will have a foundation of knowledge in basic dog training and handling skills. This includes basic canine knowledge in husbandry, body language, communication, and breed information. You will be exposed to behavioral science that includes operant and classical conditioning terminology and concepts. We will build the proper mechanics of clicker training: timing, observation, and treat delivery. We will assist the apprentice in evaluation of his/her aptitude for and commitment to being a professional dog trainer. Upon completion of this level, the apprentice should be ready to decide if dog training is the right career for them. They will also have acquired the basic skills to train basic behaviors in dogs. Further levels will be necessary to prepare the apprentice how to teach human clients how to train their own dogs and become a fully skilled dog trainer. 

PREREQUISITE
Application and pre-approval from Laurie Zurborg, CPDT. Email Us for an application and appointment. 

COST
$900

COMMITMENT
Minimum is 4 months, one day per week, 6 hours per day plus 4-hours of practical review time with Laurie Zurborg, CPDT. This review time can be done individually or in a group setting with other apprentices. Total time period (not number of hours) can be reduced if more hours are completed per week. 

CURRICULUM

  • 1 - 5 week (one hour per class) Level 1 obedience class with your own dog at Wags & Wiggles.
  • 40 hours minimum observing dogs in the daycare, learning basic dog handling, assisting in daycare evaluations, discussion and review of dog behavior, pack behavior and management. This includes learning animal care, husbandry, and administrative assistant duties relating to dog daycare & dog training.
  • 60 hours minimum observing and assisting in the Wags & Wiggles dayschool program, Wags & Wiggles board/train program, and Wags & Wiggles Private Playgroups. This includes assisting in training evaluations and temperament testing.
  • Attendance of at least 2 trainers meetings at W&W
  • 1 hour - written exam
  • 1 hour - practical exam
  • Additional reading of books or videos will be required

LEVEL 2 - TRAIN THE HUMAN (100 HOURS)

GOAL
This level starts to focus on the human aspect of dog training - learning how to teach people. Dogs are only half of the equation. Apprentice will learn to observe dogs and people and learn to defuse potentially hazardous situations. Apprentice will learn to communicate effectively to all clients (no matter the personality or problem), learn to use positive reinforcement with humans, develop a behavior plan , as well as build the ability to explain how to improve client/dog behavior. Upon completion, the apprentice will have some basic skills on how to instruct people to train basic behaviors in dogs. The apprentice, depending on level of prior experience and knowledge, may be ready after this level to have a paid or unpaid trainers assistant position with Wags & Wiggles or elsewhere. Further levels will be required to be a Head Trainer and instruct classes on your own. 

PREREQUISITE
Level 1 or at least 6 months prior dog training experience. Pre-approval from Laurie Zurborg, CPDT is required.  Email Us for an application and appointment. 

COST
$900

COMMITMENT
Minimum: 4 months, one day per week, 6 hours per day plus 4-hours of practical review time with Laurie Zurborg, CPDT. This review time can be done individually or in a group setting with other apprentices. Total time period (not number of hours) can be reduced if more hours are completed per week. 

 

CURRICULUM

  • 1 - 5 week (one hour per class) Level 2 or advanced obedience class with your own dog at Wags & Wiggles.
  • 25 hours minimum observing dogs in the daycare, learning basic dog handling, assisting in daycare evaluations, discussion and review of dog behavior, pack behavior and management. This includes assisting with clients, dealing with problem behavior in the daycare, and assisting in the instruction of daycare staff.
  • 75 hours minimum observing and assisting in Wags & Wiggles Group Classes, Wags & Wiggles Puppy Classes, Wags & Wiggles dayschool program, Wags & Wiggles board/train program, and Wags & Wiggles Special Classes. This includes assisting in training evaluations and temperament testing. The apprentice will learn to communication skills to help clients in classes, answering basic training questions, and getting people signed up for the appropriate class. The apprentice will also learn TagTeach in order to assist the client end of the leash. Most "client" interactions in this level will be in mock situations.
  • Attendance of at least 2 trainers meetings at W&W
  • 1 hour - written exam
  • 1 hour - practical exam
  • Additional reading of books or videos will be required

Level 3 - THE ROAD TO CERTIFICATION (100 HOURS)

GOAL
To help the apprentice become a fully independent trainer and prepare for a career as a professional dog trainer. Upon successful completion of this course, the apprentice should be prepared for a position as a paid trainer under supervision, or as a head trainer, depending on prior background, people skills, and commitment to learning all aspects of dog training. Apprentice will be able to understand design of class curriculum and how to handle themselves in a class or private situation. Further training would be needed to deal with dog-dog or dog-human aggression, abnormal dog behavior, or difficult cases. It will be up to the apprentice to sign up to take the CPDT test at the end of this level. 

PREREQUISITE
Level 2 or equivalency requirement. This can be met through a combination of: practical exam to demonstrate skill handling/training dogs using primarily positive reinforcement methods; domentation of a minimum of 1 year prior training experience; or a written test. Pre-approval from Laurie Zurborg, CPDT is required. Total time period (not number of hours) can be reduced if more hours are completed per week. 

COST
$900

COMMITMENT
Minimum: 4 months, one day per week, 6 hours per day plus 8-hours of practical review time with Laurie Zurborg, CPDT. This review time can be done individually or in a group setting with other apprentices. Email Us for an application and appointment. 
 

CURRICULUM

  • 1 - 5 week (one hour per class) alternative class (Agility/Rally O/etc) with your own dog at Wags & Wiggles.
  • 10 hours minimum observing dogs in the daycare, learning basic dog handling, assisting in daycare evaluations, discussion and review of dog behavior, pack behavior and management. This includes assisting with clients, dealing with problem behavior in the daycare, and assisting in the instruction of daycare staff.
  • 90 hours minimum assisting and instructing in Wags & Wiggles Group Classes, Wags & Wiggles Puppy Classes, Specialty classes if appropriate, Private In-school or In-home lessons, Behavior Consults, Wags & Wiggles dayschool program, Wags & Wiggles board/train program, and Wags & Wiggles Private Playgroups.
  • Attendance of at least 2 trainers meetings at W&W
  • 1 hour - written exam
  • 2 hour - practical exam
  • Additional reading of books or videos will be required