What was being a dog training apprentice like?
Apprenticing pushed me very hard, but it was also very fun. I accompanied Ms. DesRoche to her appointments, took notes, interfaced with human clients, practiced training techniques with canine clients, transported animals across the city, worked on training intensives, took over some of Ms. DesRoche’s clients full time, and even assisted her as an animal wrangler in the Broadway musical Once On This Island! This was all on top of my normal day job as a dog walker, so it was very intense.
If one is not working full time, the situation can be quite different, with an apprenticeship pretty much taking up the time a full-time job would. Apprentices are sometimes asked to assist their mentor all day, cover the bulk of their clients, train dogs for competitions, run puppy classes and assist in training classes, etc…the potential list is quite long.
If one is working full-time, like I personally did, I hope that it is reassuring for prospective trainers that many trainers who take on apprentices are flexible and willing to work with your schedules. Some may not, but it is worth looking around for somebody that is understanding to your own particular situation, as well as somebody that you get along with on a personal and philosophical level. You will be spending a lot of time with the master trainer, learning from them. While of course you are there to learn, it is always helpful if you can learn from somebody you get along with, and may eventually even consider a friend!
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