Dog trainer description

Dog Trainer Career Profile and Salary Information

Learn about the education and preparation to become a service dog trainer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about college coursework and apprenticeships to find out if this is the career for you.

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Service dog trainers work with dogs that aid the disabled. This position may require some coursework at a community college or vocational school, or an apprenticeship. The median annual salary for these positions is about $26, 000 and the job growth projection is faster than average.

Essential Information

Service dog trainers teach dogs to assist the disabled in everyday functions they otherwise may not be able to perform. College coursework at community or vocational schools, in addition to apprenticeships, can help individuals prepare for work in this field. People who enjoy working with animals and are passionate about improving the quality of life for the disabled may consider a career as a service dog trainer.

Required Training Postsecondary courses or apprenticeship
Other Requirements Working with dogs through internships or field experiences; voluntary certification available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% for all animal trainers
Median Salary (2015)* $26, 610 for all animal trainers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Service Dog Trainer Job Description

Service dog trainers teach guide dogs, hearing dogs and therapy dogs to assist people with disabilities. Apprentice trainers typically work at service dog training schools under the supervision of experienced instructors and, with experience, may go on to instruct other trainers. This is a physically demanding position, which requires trainers to walk and control dogs of various sizes and breeds. Trainers are matched with puppies and work with their partner dogs through the entire training process.

Service Dog Trainer Duties

Along with teaching dogs to assist the disabled in certain functions, trainers familiarize dogs with human interaction and teach basic obedience skills, such as walking in pace with handlers and sitting on command. The training process is comprised of many small tasks, each with instruction techniques. For example, some trainers may use the bridge technique, which involves rewarding dogs every time they perform certain actions. Trainers also provide dogs with physical and mental exercise during the training process. After training is complete, they match dogs with their owners and teach the two to work together.

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