Become a Dog Trainer

Learn the Wizard Way

at The Dog Wizard Academy

How to Become a Dog Trainer: What You Need to Know

If you love dogs and enjoy nothing more than teaching your dog new skills, you may have wondered whether it’s possible to turn your hobby into a rewarding career. A career as a dog trainer is incredibly worthwhile and gives you the satisfaction of transforming an anxious or destructive pet into a well-behaved dog. Whether you want to work with fearful dogs, lead doggy dance group classes, or even train assistance dogs, it’s important to develop your training skills first to become the best possible dog trainer.

The tips and advice below explain exactly how to become a dog trainer, including information about becoming a certified professional trainer and where to go for hands-on training.

Dog trainers teach dogs new skills, such as recall or walking to heel. However, they also support and educate dog owners to help them understand how their dog thinks, what motivates them and how to use positive strategies to reinforce dog training at home.

Most dog trainers work with dog owners and their pets, but that’s not the only career path available. You could also consider a role in training assistance, police, or military dogs to perform their jobs.

A related career to dog training that you may wish to consider is that of a dog behaviorist. These professionals have expert knowledge of animal behavior and behavior modification and use it to help dogs and their owners tackle unwanted behavior, such as destroying furniture. A behaviorist will explore the possible reasons for the behavior that might not be obvious to the owners, such as stress, and suggest solutions.

A career as a dog trainer is a good choice for people of any educational background, as long as you have the interpersonal skills to connect with owners and a desire to help dogs and their humans using proven animal learning strategies. However, you may find yourself at an advantage if you’ve already studied a subject related to dog training, such as veterinary nursing because you’ll already have a secure knowledge of canine psychology and animal behavior.

There are many dog training schools offering courses to teach people how to become dog trainers. The quality of these dog training courses varies, so do your research to ensure the school you choose has a good reputation. The best dog training courses cover classical and operant conditioning methods extensively and give students a thorough grounding in animal behavior and how to motivate dogs to learn. Ideally, you should look for a professional organization that provides plenty of educational events and practical learning opportunities guided by an established trainer.

Aside from attending a dog training school, it’s a good idea to read widely on the subject of dog ethology, both in books and online. Experience with a wide range of breeds and temperaments will be beneficial as well. While having your dogs can help you understand the principles of dog training, volunteering for an animal shelter or working as a dog walker will give you the hands-on training you need to face the challenges of training dogs from all walks of life.

There is no standard qualification to become a dog trainer, and you can begin working in the profession without any licensure or certification. However, obtaining a certification is worth considering because it shows potential employers you have the necessary knowledge and experience to deliver results. You may find it easier to find customers for your own dog training business if you’re a certified dog trainer through an organization such as the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP).

How long it takes to become a dog trainer depends on your previous experience, the structure of the course you’re studying for, and whether you want to study at your own pace. You should expect to train for several months at least before you’re ready to take on your first professional role.

Depending on the level of IACP certification  you wish to obtain, you’ll need to complete various exams in addition to other education and training programs. There are various certifications that build off of one another, so having an idea of what level of training you’d like to complete is a good idea before starting courses.

Alternatively, The Dog Wizard offers a structured training program for individuals interested in working within our already established network of training facilities around North America.

Most people find the process of becoming a dog trainer highly rewarding, but you need to be prepared to work hard to achieve your goal. Getting started is usually the most challenging part. You’ll most likely need to accept donating a lot of unpaid hours as a shelter volunteer or assisting other dog trainers to gain hands-on experience and the knowledge you need to become a successful dog trainer.

The hard work doesn’t end when you clock out, as you’ll need to put in some study hours to gain a thorough knowledge of dog behavior modification and psychology. However, you may well enjoy all that work as it means spending more time in the company of dogs and building your understanding of dog ethology.

Now is a good time to make the leap to become a professional trainer in terms of industry growth. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, job opportunities for animal care and service workers are expected to increase by an impressive 22% by 2029 — equivalent to 75,500 new roles. Compare that to the 4% average growth rate across all industries and you can expect decent career prospects once you’re a certified professional dog trainer.

While there should be plenty of new job openings for dog trainers over the coming decade, the median wage for animal trainers in 2020 was a relatively modest $31,520. However, it’s certainly possible to earn significantly more than this as you become more experienced, with the top 10% of animal trainers earning over $62,040. While it’s worth starting your career at an established dog training company, experienced trainers may be able to earn more by starting their own self-employed dog training business.

Perhaps most importantly, a career as a professional trainer offers plenty of job satisfaction, and no two days will ever be the same. While training dogs can be challenging, you’ll get to help canines and their owners overcome difficulties and enjoy more harmonious home life.

Not everyone is suited to a dog training career. Still, it could be a good option for you if you’re a people person with strong communication skills, a calm and assertive personality, and an understanding and empathetic attitude toward animals.

Meet Our Instructors

jess young trainer

Maria Renninger

Virtual Instructor

kat karlish trainer

Lauren Ross

Virtual Instructor

krissy spero trainer

Krissy Spero

Virtual Instructor

krissy spero trainer

Kirsten Holt

Virtual Instructor

How to Become a Dog Trainer Program

The Dog Wizard training program consists of hybrid courses. You’re able to study and complete work online on your schedule before you arrive for in-person training. The online portion of your courses prepares you in advance so that when you arrive at our dog training academy, you can apply everything learned during the on-site sessions.

Accomplished dog trainers with professional certifications are much more apt to be successful. When you complete your dog training course with The Dog Wizard, you receive a Dog Wizard certification that shows you’re qualified to handle a variety of behavioral concerns, and have a balanced approach to training dogs. The Dog Wizard team stands ready to help you find a job at one of our many and growing locations.

Working for The Dog Wizard creates future opportunities because you can learn the in’s and out’s of running a dog training business as you’re working and earning money. We offer the ability to work your way into owning a franchise at your own pace – if that’s your desire.

Here’s What You Need to Do…

Foundation Wizard Training Course $6200: Your online learning consists of 25 hours of coursework, then 18 hours of virtual training courses with a trainer. Once these are completed, you will participate in 18 days of hands-on training at an approved location.

Advanced Wizard Training Course $10,200: This advanced course includes all the
coursework provided in the Foundation Wizard Training Course plus training with more advanced techniques and tools and a deeper dive into dog behavioral problems. There will be 40 hours of online coursework and 40 hours of virtual training with a trainer. The final step will be 18 days of hands-on training at an approved location.

Earn your Dog Wizard training certification: At the end of your course, you’re able to complete the certification required to become a dog trainer at one of our locations.

** You’re required to coordinate your own transportation, room, and board for your in-person training. There may be a location near you that is eligible for your in-person instruction.

Course Curriculum

  • Intro to The Dog Wizard
  • Health, Safety, & Nutrition
  • Foundation of Dog Training
  • Training Tools
  • Body Language, Communication, & Personality
  • Minor Behavior Modification
  • Exercise & Socialization
  • Puppy Training
  • Onleash Training
  • Alternative Training Techniques
  • Off Leash Training
  • E-Collar Training
  • Kennel and Boarding
  • Moderate-to-Severe Behavior Modification
  • Proven Sales Process and Additional Revenue
  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Customer Service

Your Career as a Wizard

Fast & Easy


Our enrollment process starts with a conversation.  Let’s talk about what your goals are for dog training.  We can help pave the path towards becoming a lead trainer or a dog training business ownership.  We want your experience with us to be personal and fulfilling.  Once we understand your objectives, our enrollment team will guide you through the monetary portion including financing (if needed), logging into our online training portal, leading to the all-intensive hands-on portion of your training.  There should never be a time where you feel lost, we will be there to help you achieve your dreams, and that starts with our enrollment team.

Online & In-person


We are the best dog training program in the business, and we strive to deliver our hand-on curriculum with the least amount of time away from your home base. We understand many new students are changing careers while chasing their dreams.

Our curriculum starts with an online learning portal consisting of videos, written text, quizzes, essays, and practical-application video submissions. Our online learning portal is the epitome of preparation.

When our students arrive at an approved Dog Wizard Academy location for the hands-on portion of their training, they hit the ground running. The hands-on training time is 18 days of fast-paced, live application learning. The hands-on training is where the magic happens, and theories and techniques come together. We love watching new trainers’ eyes light up as the concepts come together!


Job Placement

As a graduate of the Dog Wizard Academy, you immediately become a candidate for a dog training job within the Dog Wizard network. The dog training business is growing rapidly. Many of our franchisees are in constant need of additional, Dog Wizard certified trainers to join their team. It is also a major plus for our franchisees to hire a trainer who has already invested in themselves and their education. The job opportunities vary depending on which franchisees are ready for an additional trainer at the time, but if you are open to various geographical locations, it is rare that there isn’t an opportunity waiting upon graduation.

Unmatched Support

Future Ownership

We want every Dog Wizard trainer to see a clear path forward to their dream career.  We’ve had multiple individuals start as kennel techs and trainers, working their way up to be successful franchise owners.  Honestly, nothing makes up happier than to watch someone visualize a goal, put the work in, and achieve their goal.  Our system will help teach you in every aspect of running a successful Dog Wizard training business.

Join us!

Please Note: The Dog Wizard Academy was specifically engineered to train and equip future Dog Wizard dog trainers. At this time, the Academy is enrolling students to either open or work within one of our dog training franchises. We require that all attendees sign a Confidentiality Agreement protecting our instruction and related methods prior to matriculation.

Schedule a Career Planning Session

The Dog Wizard is an established dog training company that offers you all the tools needed to begin your career as a dog trainer. Certified dog trainers are in high demand at the moment, and you can typically find a job quickly after you complete our course. If you’re an aspiring dog trainer who wants to own your own dog training business one day, completing our training program allows you to get your start without prior experience running a business and without the significant capital investment needed to open your own location. 

Learn more about The Dog Wizard’s dog training school and how to become a certified dog trainer today. Fill out the form below to find out how to enroll in our professional training programs.

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