Dog Trainer Career Description

As a man’s best friend, dogs can be trained not just as a domesticated house pet, but also to perform special tasks. If you love dogs, a career in dog training can be a most rewarding career and there are specialized functions for which dogs can be trained. Some dog breeds are known to do some of these tasks better than others and there specialized trainers for these purposes.

  • Police dogs referred to as “K9s” are commonly German Shepherd, Rottweilers or Belgian Malinois breed trained to assist police and other law enforcement agencies for detecting restricted drugs, cadavers,  concealed weapons and bombs.
  • A special detection training is focused on enabling the dogs to detect live people and cadavers in a search rescue mission.  These are called rescue dogs.
  • Hunting dogs are trained to assist the hunting sport.  Most of them are hounds, terriers, retrievers and beagles.
  • Assistance dogs are trained to assist persons with disability such as seeing-eye dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, mobility or service dogs for the ambulatory impaired persons.  These dogs are trained by professional  dog trainers.
  • A type of pastoral dogs, livestock guardian dogs is trained to defend grazing livestock against predators.  Another pastoral dog type is the herding dogs trained to control movement of sheep.


There’s no specific post secondary course for dog training but a degree in veterinary and behavioral sciences helps.  A few courses in psychology require hands-on behavioral modification techniques on pets which can be useful.  There are also no formal apprentice training but working with veteran dog trainers is always an advantage.


Most dog trainers are self-employed or get consulted by parks and wildlife zoos as well as government agencies such as police academies to help train dog breed for certain functions. It may not be a full time job unless you are employed to train a steady stream of dogs.  Average hourly rate is typically $9 – $10