The chance to work with animals may be your dream job – but is becoming a dog trainer actually a viable career option?
At Highland Canine, we offer comprehensive tuition at our School for Dog Trainers. Each semester, we see a new intake of students take a giant step towards fulfilling their ambition of becoming a certified dog trainer. Is now the right time to embark on a career in the pet industry?
The Pet Industry is Thriving
There’s little doubt that the pet industry is growing at a rapid rate, particularly in the United States.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) conducts an biennial study which helps to provide data for pet ownership and expenditure in the United States, and also gathers market research on pet industry trends. Their most recent findings and research indicates the following notable statistics:
In 2018, the total U.S. pet expenditure was estimated to be $72.1 billion. This has almost doubled since 2005, when expenditure was $36.3 billion.
68% of American households own a pet, compared with 56% in 1988 (when the first APPA study was conducted).
Dogs are the most common pet found in American homes, with 60.2 million American households owning at least one dog.
There are 89.7 million dogs owned as pets in the United States – in third place behind freshwater fish (139.3 million) and cats (94.2 million).
Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated in a 2015 article that jobs in the pet industry are expected to grow by 11% by 2024.
The steady increase in pet ownership, combined with the increased employment opportunities available across the sector, shows that now could be the ideal time to embark on a career as a dog trainer.
The Benefits of a Rewarding Lifestyle
There are a number of reasons why becoming a dog trainer is an excellent career choice.
If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know the happiness they can bring to the lives of those around you. You’ll also understand the frustration of a dog that doesn’t listen or has behavioral issues.
As a certified dog trainer, you will work with dogs on a daily basis. By removing problematic behavioral traits, you’ll improve the lives of both the pets you work with and the families which own them. In itself, this makes becoming a dog trainer an extremely rewarding career.
By learning the correct way to train dogs, you will also learn a skill that you’ll be able to bring into your own household. For example, as you begin to fully understand the psychology and body language of a dog, you will be able to apply that knowledge to the way your own dog behaves.
Take Control of Your Career Prospects
If you plan to start your own dog training business, or simply want to learn a skill to complement an existing role you have in the pet industry, gaining certification will set you apart from your competition. Dog training is something which should only be undertaken by experts – and you’ll have a certificate to prove that you know what you’re doing.
Annually, the average salary for dog trainers is $33,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (this figure is calculated using an average for all animal trainers). Combined with the increase in demand for pet-related services, this lends weight to the idea that becoming a dog trainer is a good career move. The same dataset from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates some obedience trainers earned in excess of $57,170.
Many dog trainers also choose to be self-employed, which gives them the freedom to choose clients or specialize in certain niches.
What Does it Take to Become a Dog Trainer?
Most dog trainers will exhibit similar personality traits. For example, trainers need patience and compassion when working with troublesome pets; they also need to be trustworthy and reliable when arranging appointments with clients. Perhaps most importantly, a good trainer needs to be observant and be able to identify and solve behavioral problems.
Earning certification as a dog trainer is a great way to further your career prospects in the industry. Programs such as the one at our School For Dog Trainers teach students everything they need to know about becoming a dog trainer, as well as providing graduates with business management skills and the tools required to forge a successful career in the dog training industry.
The best dog training programs will also have teach a broad curriculum covering a range of topics. The Master Dog Trainer program at Highland Canine includes the following modules:
• Canine Training
• Behavior Modification
• Police K9 Instructor Program
• Search and Rescue Dog Trainer Program
• Service Dog Program
The best way to become a well-rounded trainer is to study, learn and enroll in a certification program that will provide you with a solid foundation to build your career as a dog trainer.
Aside from everything else in this article, the main ingredient you’ll need to succeed as a dog trainer is hard work. Working with animals is fun, but it also requires dedication and discipline.
Enrolling in a course at our School for Dog Trainers can be a major step towards a successful career in the dog training industry. Learn more about our programs or contact us to schedule a tour today!