Alfred Mbeka, 24, holds a diploma from the South Africa Dog Training College and a business management student at the Kenya College of Accounting. He talks to Hashtag about the course he took.
1: Tell us about dog training
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Dog training is a venture of inputting physical and mental skills in a dog for the key reason of making the dog more useful to mankind. You could call it the art of modifying the behaviours of dogs to suit man.
2. Why did you take up this course in South Africa?
First of all, I have a rare passion for dogs such that I can spend the rest of my life with the canines. I chose to study the course in South Africa because it has more advanced colleges that offer this compared to Kenya. I also did not like the aspect of racial segregation happening at some dog training institutes. I have a diploma in the trade.
3. What are the risks involved?
The obvious risk is that of getting injured by a dog, either out of excitement or out of rage. Recall that dogs are unpredictable and will easily get impatient in the course of training when they are being taught new skills, especially those that make them feel threatened. You can also hurt the dog physically or mentally if you don’t take to account its mood during or after the training. A good training session must end when both the trainer and dog are happy.
4. Why should anyone study this course?
Apart from being fun and educative, training dogs is a job that will make you a boss instantly after finishing the course work. You will be able to train people’s dogs at a fee. You can also open up a training centre where you train other trainers. It is on a bad day that you will be employed by say the police or any other training agency.
6. What are the challenges you face as a trainer?
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Being a new profession, many will look down upon you when you introduce yourself as a dog trainer. Some of our clients also feel that we are asking for too much from them for training their canines without looking at how much we (trainers) invested in our trade. Many of our clients also set unrealistic targets on training their dogs. We also don’t have a strong network to make our job known and appreciated by all.
7. What are the requirements for admission into a dog training school?
The requirements to become a dog trainer are achievable but depend with where you want to study. There is largely no specific requirement apart from ordinary level education and a passion for dogs. It is believed that starting this art at a young stage, say below 20 years, makes one a better graduate.
8. Where do you see dog training in Kenya in the next decade?
This industry will be big. Many young people are realising that it is a trade that makes you self-employed. Many people are keep dogs and in ten years many more will have dogs, so there will be a need for more trainers. Another thing is I see the state setting up government sponsored dog training colleges across the counties to accommodate the need for trained dogs.