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Want to Work With Dogs? Here’s How To Get Started

Want to Work With Dogs? Here’s How To Get Started

By Mary-Jane Gallagher


In South Africa, the number of dogs is currently at an estimated 9.2 million and growing rapidly, according to statistics by Insight Survey. Since the dog population is so large, it has created multiple dog-related career opportunities that are not only lucrative but can also give you a chance to spend more time with the most lovable animals in the world. However, being a dog lover is not the only qualification required for dog-related jobs, and you’ll need a strategic approach to attain a job you’ll love and excel in.

Determine the type of work you want to do 

There are many types of dog-related jobs in South Africa, and not all of them will be suitable for you. You can be a dog trainer, veterinarian, groomer or handler, among many other professions. Do some research on the internet to find out what each type of job entails and everything that’s required for you to gain employment. You can also consult various professional industry associations like the Kennel Union of South Africa to find out what qualifications you need. While you’re at it, it’s important to talk to as many professionals in the industry as you can to find out the true nature of the jobs from first-hand sources.

Seek volunteering opportunities 

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, the next key step is to seek volunteering opportunities in that field to know for sure if it’s the right step for you. You may love hanging out with dogs or playing with them, but until you get hands-on, practical experience working with them, you won’t really know if you are truly built for the job. For example, if you are interested in working at a dog shelter, a week of volunteering at one will give you a glimpse of the hard work involved in taking care of dogs. Depending on your volunteering experience, you’ll know whether you like the job or not. While you may not get paid for your voluntary work, your experience will come in handy when putting together your resume, as it demonstrates initiative and shows potential employers that you have already taken the steps to become comfortable with caring for dogs.

Learn about dog breeds 

If you are going to be working with dogs, getting to know different breeds and their unique characteristics can be a huge advantage. Different breeds have different requirements, and as you learn more about them, you’ll know what to expect as well as how to handle difficulties when they arise. For example, if you want to become a dog trainer, breed knowledge will come in handy since different breeds require different training techniques. Similarly, if you want to become a groomer, you’ll know the amount of hair to cut depending on the breed.

If you love dogs, a career working with them is the definition of a dream job. However, as is the case with any other job, dog-related jobs have their pros and cons, and you need to do thorough research on all available opportunities to determine how you can begin your new career.