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9 Dog Training Careers To Consider

Dog training careers are available in different areas! See which one is most interesting to you.

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated February 8th, 2024

A dog training career is a dream come true for people who love dogs. As a pet photographer I work with a lot of dog trainers and have received some good insights about the opportunities in the industry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are expecting to a 16% growth in employment through 2032. As people continue to make their pets a real part of the family, good manners will be more important than ever.

What Does A Dog Trainer Do?

As a dog training specialist you would be responsible for teaching dogs basic or advanced commands. This will help them be a better family pet or excel in their work if they are a working dog.

You can also become an animal behaviorist to help correct any behavioral issues a dog or puppy may have.

Dog Training Education

While there is no formal education required to become a dog trainer or behaviorist, completing a training program can give you an edge. It is a competitive field and you will want to be able to distinguish yourself from others in the industry. A popular dog training certification program is the CCPDT certification program.

Many employers will require that you have at least a basic understanding of dog behavior and training techniques before they hire you. Completing a training program is a great way to give yourself a leg up in the job market.

There are many different types of dog training programs available, so it’s important to do your research to find one that fits your needs. Some programs may be more focused on obedience training, while others may place more emphasis on behavioral modification.

There are even programs that offer certification in both areas.

Once you’ve found a program that interests you, it’s time to get started on your new career!

Dog trainer teaching dog to sit.
image credit: Jill Caren Photo

Types of Dog Training Careers

Being a dog trainer does not mean you are just working with pets. There are many opportunities for a dog trainer or behaviorist to work in other environments.

Let’s take a look at some of the opportunities that are waiting for you.

1. Obedience Training

Obedience training for dogs is the most common job in this career. You can work for a company, doggy daycare, veterinarian, or be self-employed. These jobs help pet owners learn how to better manage their dogs. You will train dogs – and their people – different commands like sit, stay, and heel. These are basic trainings and are oftent done on puppies or adopted rescue dogs to help them be a well-behaved dog.

2. Problem Behavioral Modification

Behavioral modification for dogs is the process of changing or modifying unwanted behavior. This can be done through positive reinforcement, punishment, or a combination of both.

It is important to note that punishment should only be used as a last resort, as it can be dangerous and ineffective. Positive reinforcement is the most common and effective method of behavioral modification, as it rewards the dog for displaying the desired behavior.

3. Agility Training

Dog agility training is a sport that involves training dogs to navigate through a course of obstacles. The obstacles can be anything from a simple jump to a more complicated tunnel or weave pole. The dog is timed as it completes the course, and the fastest time wins.

Agility training is a fun and challenging way to keep your dog’s mind active and help them stay in shape. It can also be a great way to build teamwork and trust between you and your dog.

In order to participate in agility trials, your dog must be registered with the Agility Association of Canada (AAC) or the American Kennel Club (AKC). There are many different levels of competition, so there is something for everyone.

If you’re interested in learning more about agility training, there are plenty of resources available online or in your local area. Dog clubs and training facilities often offer classes or workshops that can teach you everything you need to know.

4. Tracking

A tracking dog is used to follow a scent and find a specific person or object. They are often used by law enforcement to track criminals or missing persons, and can also be used to find drugs or explosives.

To train a tracking dog, you first need to teach them how to follow a scent. This can be done by taking them to an area where there is a lot of traffic, such as a park or busy street. Drop something small like a piece of candy on the ground and then walk away, making sure to keep track of where you dropped it. Once the dog has found the candy, praise and reward them with treats.

Once the dog has learned how to follow a scent, you can start training them to find specific objects or people. This can be done by placing objects in different locations and having the dog find them. You can also hide people in different places and have the dog find them. As with the teaching of following a scent, it is important to praise and reward the dog when they succeed.

5. Herding

Herding dogs are used to help herd livestock. They are trained to nip at the heels of the animals to keep them moving in the desired direction. Herding dogs can also be used to move livestock out of danger, such as a fire or flood.

To train a herding dog, you first need to teach them how to follow a scent. This can be done by taking them to an area where there is a lot of traffic, such as a park or busy street. Drop something small like a piece of candy on the ground and then walk away, making sure to keep track of where you dropped it. Once the dog has found the candy, praise and reward them with treats.

Once the dog has learned how to follow a scent, you can start training them to herd livestock. This can be done by placing objects in different locations and having the dog move them. You can also have someone walk around while the dog herds them. As with the teaching of following a scent, it is important to praise and reward the dog when they succeed.

6. Hunting

Hunting dogs are used to help hunt game animals. There are many different types of hunting dogs, each of which is bred and trained for a specific purpose. Some of the most common types of hunting dogs include:

• Retrievers – Retrievers are bred and trained to retrieve downed game animals. They are often used to hunt waterfowl, such as ducks and geese.

• Pointers – Pointers are bred and trained to help hunters locate game animals. When the dog finds a game animal, it will freeze and point at it, allowing the hunter to take a shot.

• Setters – Setters are bred and trained to find game animals that have been hidden by the hunter. Once the animal is found, the dog will sit down next to it, letting the hunter know where it is.

Hunting dogs are typically trained by hunting with them in a variety of different environments. This allows the dog to learn how to respond to different situations while hunting. The dog is also taught how to obey commands from the hunter, such as “sit” or “stay”.

7. Guard Dog

A guard dog is a type of dog that is used to protect property or people. They are typically bred and trained to be aggressive and territorial, and will bark attack anyone who comes near the property they are guarding.

Guard dogs can be trained in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the person or company they are guarding. Some guard dogs may only be trained to bark and warn intruders away, while others may be trained to attack and injure anyone who enters the property.

8. Assistance or Service Dogs

Service dogs are dogs that are trained to provide assistance to people with disabilities. They can be trained to perform a variety of tasks, such as carrying things for the person, pulling a wheelchair, or providing guidance.

Service dogs are typically trained by working with them in a variety of different environments. This allows the dog to learn how to respond to different situations while working. The dog is also taught how to obey commands from the person they are assisting, such as “sit” or “stay”.

9. Therapy Dogs

A therapy dog is a type of dog that is used to provide comfort and support to people who are recovering from an illness or injury. They are typically bred and trained to be gentle and friendly, and will often visit hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to provide relief to patients and students.

Therapy dogs typically go through a basic obedience training program, where they are taught how to sit, stay, and come when called. In addition, they are often trained to deal with different types of people and situations, such as children or the elderly.

Dog Trainer Salaries

Dog trainers can make a variety of salaries, depending on their experience and the type of training they provide. Dog trainers who work with working or show dogs will typically make much more than a general dog trainer who works with pet owners.

Also, those who own their dog training businesses may also earn higher wages than those that work for others.

In general, however, dog trainers can expect to make anywhere from $25,000 to $75,000 per year. The average is usually in the mid-$30,000 range. If you can bring a family some happiness with a well trained pet – you may even receive a gratuity as a special thank you.

Projected Employment For Dog Trainers

The projected employment of dog trainers is expected to grow by about 16% in the next decade.

This is due to the increasing popularity of dogs as pets, as well as the increasing demand for specialized training services. As more and more people start to see the benefits of owning a dog, the need for qualified trainers will continue to grow.

Dog Trainer Educational Resources

If you are ready to get started as a dog trainer or behaviorist, below are some resources to get started. We have no personal experience with any of these, so be sure to do your homework before signing up for any classes!

If you decide to move forward to a dog trainer career, we wish you the best of luck! And give those pups a snuggle from us would you?


Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.