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How to Become a Dog Warden

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Dog wardens primarily enforce the control and licensing of dogs. They may also patrol their communities and look for loose dogs. To become a dog warden, you must meet basic requirements, earn certification and take training courses.

Working as a Dog Warden

As a dog warden, you'll enforce dog-licensing laws, such as by issuing citations and criminal complaints to dog owners who violate the laws in the community where you live. You will also capture dangerous dogs that may prove to be a safety hazard. Some dog wardens make sure that commercial breeding kennels follow all required rules and regulations and that all breeding dogs and puppies are humanely cared for and kept. You may provide rabies vaccinations and also help reduce or outright eliminate the stray-dog population in your community.

Meeting Basic Requirements

You must be 21 years old and have at least a high school diploma or GED to become a dog warden. Most agencies require dog wardens to have previous experience handling or otherwise working with dogs and other animals. You may also need to have a driver's license and a good driving record. Having strong written and oral communication skills will help you succeed, as will knowing how to handle stressful situations, solve problems in difficult situations and work well with people.

Receiving Necessary Training

Some dog wardens begin their careers by working in animal shelters, at a veterinarian clinic or at a kennel. Studying animal science or criminal justice also can help a dog warden succeed, according to Misha Goodman, director of the Iowa City-Coralville Animal Care and Adoption Center and former president of the National Animal Control Association. Dog wardens can also receive training from organizations like the ASPCA and National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA).

Earning Certification

Many states require dog wardens to have certification. You can earn certification from NACA and other similar organizations, such as the ASPCA. NACA offers a three-week certification course, which dog wardens and those interested in becoming dog wardens can take. NACA also offers a three-day euthanasia certification and chemical immobilization certification workshop for animal care and control professionals. The ASPCA offers a number of courses, including ones that involve ethical issues when working on animal-cruelty cases and medical aspects of shelter-animal transport programs. You may also need to be certified in CPR, first aid, large-animal capture, disaster sheltering, animal-behavioral evaluation and cruelty investigation.


William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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