How to Become a Professional Dog Trainer and Mentor

Do you own a dog walking business and you’re thinking about becoming a dog trainer, but don’t know where to start? Have you always dreamed of working with dogs and becoming an expert? In this episode of Handling Business, we sit down with Kim Sauer of Sit n’ Stay Professional Pet Services who is a true expert and leader in the pet care industry.

Kim Sauer’s fascination with dog training took off when she started assisting a local trainer using a clicker in exchange for helping her with her own aggressive dog. She was aware of the types of injuries and legal troubles an aggressive dog could cause if she didn’t get a handle on his behavior. She also started taking the steps to ensure that others could be safe whenever they were around her dog. She knew that you have to let people know if you have a dog-aggressive dog because then people can take precautions when walking near you. However, she wanted to help work on her dog’s aggression to decrease the stress of going on walks so she got assistance from a trainer. When she saw the changes it made to her dog, she immediately wanted to help other dogs too. Helping separation anxiety filled dogs as well as an anxious puppy/puppies, helps everyone involved out. Her interest grew as she learned how much she loved working with animals and enjoyed seeing the transformation in both the dogs and the owners. Kim opened her pet sitting and dog walking business, Sit n’ Stay Pet Services in hopes that the fields would complement each other. Kim hired her first employee in 2005 and has steadily increased in size over the years to now have 30 pet sitters and dog walks, an office manager and 5 trainers on her team.

Kim first earned her certificate from Animal Behavior College in January 2002 becoming an ABC Certified Dog Trainer and then later became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) in March of 2006. She is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and AKC STAR Puppy Evaluator. In 2006 Kim became an ABC Mentor Trainer and also a CATCH Dog Training Program Mentor Trainer and is now helping others to realize their dream of becoming a dog trainer! Kim became a PetTech Pet First Aid Instructor back in 2006 and in 2012 became a Mentor Trainer with PetTech, helping others to become PetTech Instructors as well.

Kim’s specialty is working with families owning pets who plan to bring a baby into the household. She was the trainer for the SPCA serving Erie County’s Baby Ready Pets Program for 7 years, the the trainer for the SPCA serving Erie County’s Teaching Love and Compassion Program (TLC) to inner city at-risk youth program for 5 years, and the trainer for the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Paws for Love Therapy Dog Program Evaluator. Kim is also a current Licensed Educator for the Dogs & Storks Program and the Dog and Toddlers Program.

Kim credits most of her education to her own dogs- Blaze, Nigel, Greta, Coop and the many cats and sugar gliders she has shared her home with. Kim believes that every animal (and human), come into your life to teach you something.

In this episode you’ll learn how to…

  • Become a certified trainer and develop a solid program or partner with other programs who already have great resources, handouts and outlines
  • Enroll in a dog training program with CATCH Dog Trainers Academy, Karen Pryor Academy or Animal Behavior College, and work towards becoming a Certified Professional Dog Trainer which is a separate certification from a dog training program
  • Become a mentor trainer through CATCH or PetTech as a way to give back to your community and bring in a good flow of potential dog trainers for your growing dog training business
  • Find great employees and motivate them to be dedicated to your team long term

Books that Kim loves…

A favorite takeaway…

  • “You can’t train people to be friendly, you need to hire friendly people. You can teach people how to take great care of animals, but you can’t always train people to have a certain personality type.”

To learn more about Kim Sauer, find her at

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