If you love dogs and are looking for a career that affords flexibility and a high degree of personal satisfaction, a career in dog training might be right for you. While dog training can be extremely rewarding and comes with lots of tail wags and doggy kisses, it’s not for everyone. Learn more about what a career in dog training entails and the pros and cons to figure out if a dog trainer might be your next job move.


Trainers holding their dogs during session

What Is Dog Training?

Most people are familiar with the basic principle of what a dog trainer does: They train dogs for certain behaviors. Most commonly, these are basic obedience-type behaviors, such as sit, stay and loose-leash walking. However, exactly how these behaviors are taught and reinforced varies depending on the trainer and training method. 

Dog trainers work with dogs — and very often with their owners as well — throughout many sessions. You may work with puppies that are just learning basic obedience, rescue dogs that have been recently adopted and need to learn household manners or dogs with problem behaviors such as excessive barking or resource guarding. Trainers often work one-on-one with dogs and their owners as well as in group sessions.

All trainers usually provide obedience training — from basic to advanced — and can address the most common problem behaviors. However, others go on to provide more advanced dog training, such as in agility or sports.

Benefits of a Dog Training Career

The obvious benefit of working as a dog trainer is that you get to work with dogs day in and day out – and get paid for it. Nonetheless, there’s much more that draws people to this career. Consider some of the benefits a career in dog training can offer you:

  • Flexibility. One of the best benefits of a dog training career is that you can set your working hours. You can work with clients when it’s convenient for you, and you’re in charge of how many clients you work with and how many hours you work each week. A career as a dog trainer is an especially good match for those who value a more flexible work schedule (such as parents) who want to work outside or those who love to travel.
  • Ability to build your own business. When you work as a dog trainer, you’re in control. Whether you want to stay in a one-person shop and only work with a few clients or have dreams of a larger establishment managing multiple trainers, it’s up to you how far you want to build your own dog training business. You can also extend your service offerings beyond just dog training by offering doggy daycare and boarding options.
  • Making a difference in people’s lives. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a career in dog training is that you get to make a real difference in the quality of your client’s lives. Having a well-behaved dog can make a big difference when it comes to how happy people are in pet ownership.  And as a dog trainer, you can play an integral role in setting up your clients for success with their puppies or taking care of problem behaviors they’ve been struggling with for some time.

Group of dogs during Dog Training Career Session

Drawbacks of a Dog Training Career

Any time you’re looking into a new career, it’s important to be aware of the potential pitfalls or negative sides of a job. These drawbacks don’t have to deter you from the career altogether, but you need to be proactive in setting yourself up for success. Here are a few of the negatives to consider about a career in dog training:

  • Working with owners. As a dog trainer, you’ll have to work with the dogs’ owners just as much as the dogs, and this can be challenging. If you have to deal with owners who don’t follow through with homework or aren’t willing to put in the actual work and expect a magic fix, it can lead to a more stressful job environment.
  • Physical risks. Any time you’re working with animals, even dogs as pets, there’s a risk of physical injury. Dog trainers have an increased risk of dog bites as an occupational hazard, and even if you’re not working with aggressive dogs, you’ll still probably experience some scratches or other minor injuries. Dog training can be a surprisingly physical job, so it’s something to be aware of.
  • Emotionally stressful. If you work as a dog trainer long enough, you’re bound to encounter a dog or two that you can’t help. Whether it’s because the issues are too deep or the owners aren’t cooperative, it can be difficult for someone who loves animals to experience this “failure,” and it can add a great deal of emotional stress.

The Dog Wizard Academy

Now you know the ins and outs and pros and cons of dog training as a career. So, what’s the next step if you still think dog trainer is the right role for you? The Dog Wizard Academy is designed to help give you the education, training, and experience you need to become a dog trainer.

Classes are designed in a hybrid format, which lets you complete the initial coursework online before you meet up in person to put your new knowledge into practice. The Academy starts with 40 hours of online education to get you started with the basics of dog training before moving on through the Foundation Wizard Training Course and the Advanced Wizard Training Course. Classes include everything from dog body language and puppy training to off-leash training and digital marketing for your business. When you’re done, you’ll have the opportunity to be a certified dog trainer with The Dog Wizard.

If you think a career in dog training could be right for you, get more information on what The Dog Wizard Academy has to offer – or go ahead and enroll now