How Much a Dog Trainer Makes

Are you passionate about working with animals and have a knack for teaching? Have you ever wondered how much a dog trainer makes? Dog training is a career path that not only allows you to work with some of our most beloved furry friends, but also offers the potential for a rewarding income.

In this article, we will explore the exciting world of dog training, the role of a dog trainer, factors affecting their income, average salary expectations, high-earning opportunities, trends in dog trainer salaries, as well as the necessary training and education requirements. Whether you’re considering a career change or simply curious about this field, read on to learn more about how much a dog trainer makes.

Dog trainers play a crucial role in helping pet owners establish positive behaviors in their dogs. From basic obedience to advanced skills and even behavior modification, these professionals provide guidance to both canines and their human companions. The demand for qualified dog trainers continues to grow as more people seek expert assistance in addressing behavioral issues and improving their furry friends’ overall quality of life.

While the love for dogs may draw individuals to this line of work, it’s important to understand the various factors that can impact a dog trainer’s income. From experience level and specialty areas to geographic location and industry trends, there are multiple variables that can determine earning potential in this field. In the following sections, we’ll delve into these factors and offer insights on how aspiring dog trainers can maximize their income in this rewarding profession.

The Role of a Dog Trainer

Dog trainers play an essential role in helping pet owners teach their dogs proper behavior and obedience. While the specific duties of a dog trainer may vary, they typically involve evaluating the dog’s behavior, creating customized training plans, teaching commands and techniques to dogs and their owners, and addressing any behavioral issues that may arise. Trainers must also provide support and guidance to ensure that both the dog and its owner are able to maintain training progress between sessions.

Additionally, dog trainers often work with dogs of all ages and various breeds. Some trainers specialize in puppy training, service dog training, or working with shelter dogs to enhance their socialization skills. Understanding animal behavior and psychology is a fundamental aspect of this profession, as it allows trainers to develop effective strategies for modifying undesirable behaviors and reinforcing positive actions.

In addition to working directly with dogs and their owners, many dog trainers are self-employed or work on a freelance basis. Not only do they train dogs, but they also tackle various administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing client communications, marketing services, and maintaining detailed records of each dog’s progress. Overall, the role of a dog trainer requires patience, empathy, strong communication skills, and a genuine passion for working with animals.

Dog Trainer DutiesKey Skills
Evaluating the dog’s behaviorPatience
Creating customized training plansEmpathy
Teaching commands and techniques to dogsStrong communication skills

Factors Affecting Dog Trainer Income


One of the key factors that can impact a dog trainer’s income is their level of experience. Those who have been in the industry for many years and have established a strong reputation can often command higher fees for their services. Experience not only allows trainers to demonstrate their expertise, but also helps them build a loyal client base.


The location in which a dog trainer operates can have a significant impact on their earning potential. Urban areas or regions with a high cost of living may offer more opportunities for dog trainers to charge higher rates. Additionally, some geographic areas may simply have a higher demand for professional dog training services, allowing trainers to charge more for their expertise.


Dog trainers who specialize in specific areas such as service dog training, behavioral modification, or competition obedience training may be able to command higher fees due to the specialized nature of their skills. Specializing in a niche area allows trainers to differentiate themselves from the competition and cater to clients seeking expertise in those particular areas.

These are just some of the factors that can affect the income of a dog trainer. Understanding these influences can help aspiring dog trainers make informed decisions about how they approach their career and maximize their earning potential within the industry.

Average Dog Trainer Salary

The income of a dog trainer can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as experience, location, and type of employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for animal trainers in 2020 was about $31,520 per year. However, this number may not be fully accurate since it lumps together dog trainers with other types of animal trainers.

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A survey conducted by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers found that the average annual salary for certified dog trainers was around $25,000 to $40,000. This data suggests that obtaining a certification can significantly impact an individual’s earning potential in this field.

In addition to formal education and certification, there are also other ways for dog trainers to increase their income. For example, many dog trainers start their own businesses or work on a freelance basis, allowing them to set their rates and potentially earn more money than those working for employers. Furthermore, gaining specialized skills such as training service dogs or competing in canine sports competitions can open up higher-earning opportunities for dog trainers.

SourceAverage Annual Salary
Bureau of Labor Statistics$31,520
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers survey$25,000 – $40,000

High-Earning Opportunities for Dog Trainers

Dog training is a rewarding career that allows professionals to work closely with animals while also helping pet owners establish better relationships with their furry companions. While the average dog trainer salary may be moderate, there are several opportunities for those in the industry to increase their income.

Some high-earning opportunities for dog trainers include:

  • Specializing in specific areas of training, such as therapy or service dog training
  • Offering group classes or workshops in addition to individual sessions
  • Partnering with veterinary clinics or pet care facilities to offer training services

Furthermore, experienced dog trainers can also explore other avenues to boost their income. One option is to become self-employed and establish a private practice serving high-end clients who are willing to pay a premium for personalized and exclusive training services. Additionally, becoming a certified behaviorist through further education and obtaining additional certifications can open doors to higher-paying opportunities within the industry.

As the demand for well-trained dogs continues to grow, so do the opportunities for dog trainers to increase their earning potential. By diversifying their skills and offerings, as well as staying up-to-date with industry trends, dog trainers can find numerous avenues for maximizing their income within this fulfilling profession.

Trends in Dog Trainer Salaries

Industry Growth

The demand for professional dog trainers has been steadily increasing in recent years. This is primarily due to the growing awareness of the importance of training and socializing dogs, as well as the rise in dog ownership. As a result, there has been an expansion in the industry, leading to more opportunities for skilled trainers. With this growth, there has also been an increase in the average salary for dog trainers.


One significant trend in dog trainer salaries is the impact of specialization. Dog trainers who have expertise in specific areas such as behavior modification, service dog training, or agility training tend to earn higher incomes than those with general skills. This is because specialized trainers often cater to clients who are willing to invest more in advanced or specialized training programs for their dogs.

Location-Based Disparity

Another trend that affects dog trainer salaries is the geographical location where they operate. Dog trainers working in urban areas or regions with a higher cost of living generally command higher fees for their services compared to those in rural areas. Additionally, certain regions may have a greater demand for dog trainers, leading to increased earning potential.

The trends in dog trainer salaries reflect the evolving nature of this profession and highlight various factors that can influence income levels within the industry. By staying informed about these trends, aspiring and current dog trainers can make strategic decisions to maximize their earning potential within this rewarding career path.

Training and Education Requirements for Dog Trainers

Becoming a dog trainer requires a combination of education, training, and real-world experience. The following are the typical requirements to pursue a career as a dog trainer:

  • Education: Most professional dog trainers hold at least a high school diploma or GED. However, completing a certification program or obtaining an associate or bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, zoology, psychology, or a related field can provide a solid educational foundation for aspiring dog trainers.
  • Certification: While not mandatory in all states or countries, obtaining certification from reputable organizations such as the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) or the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI) can enhance job prospects and lend credibility to a dog trainer’s skills and knowledge.
  • Apprenticeship or Internship: Gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeships or internships with experienced dog trainers is invaluable. Many employers prefer candidates who have completed supervised training programs to ensure they are capable of effectively working with dogs and their owners.
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By meeting these requirements, aspiring dog trainers can build the necessary skills and expertise to enter this competitive but rewarding field.

While formal education and certification are important, continuing education is also vital for staying abreast of industry trends and best practices in dog training. Attending workshops, seminars, and conferences can provide opportunities to learn new training techniques and expand one’s skill set in working with different breeds and behavioral issues. Additionally, networking within the professional community can lead to mentorship opportunities and potential job placements in the field of dog training.

Tips for Maximizing Income as a Dog Trainer

As a dog trainer, there are several ways to maximize your income and make the most out of your career. One way to increase your earnings is by specializing in a particular area of dog training, such as obedience training, agility training, or behavioral modification. By becoming an expert in a specific niche, you can attract more clients who are willing to pay a premium for specialized services.

Another tip for maximizing income as a dog trainer is to offer additional services or products to your clients. For example, you could sell training equipment, such as leashes, collars, and treats, or offer pet sitting or boarding services for your clients’ dogs. By diversifying your offerings, you can create multiple streams of income and increase your overall revenue.

Additionally, building a strong online presence through social media and a professional website can help attract more clients and boost your income. By showcasing successful training stories, client testimonials, and valuable content related to dog training on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, you can establish yourself as an authority in the industry and attract more potential clients.

By implementing these tips and strategies for maximizing income as a dog trainer, you can increase your earning potential and create a successful career in the lucrative field of dog training.


In conclusion, the field of dog training offers a range of income opportunities for those who are passionate about working with dogs. While entry-level positions may offer a modest salary, experienced and certified dog trainers have the potential to earn a comfortable living. Factors such as location, specialization, and industry demand can significantly impact a dog trainer’s earning potential.

It is important to consider that pursuing a career in dog training requires dedication, ongoing education, and a genuine love for animals. While the income potential can be rewarding for those who excel in this field, it is also essential to approach this career with a commitment to providing quality care and training for dogs.

Ultimately, whether dog training is considered a lucrative career choice depends on an individual’s passion for working with animals and their ability to maximize their income potential through experience, certification, and specialization. For those who are truly dedicated to the profession, dog training can not only be financially rewarding but also personally fulfilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Make a Living as a Dog Trainer?

Yes, it is possible to make a living as a dog trainer. Many dog trainers offer a range of services, from basic obedience classes to behavior modification, and some even specialize in areas like agility or therapy dog training. With the right marketing and client base, it is possible to sustain a career as a dog trainer.

Can You Make 6 Figures as a Dog Trainer?

Making six figures as a dog trainer is more challenging, but it is not impossible. To achieve this level of income, a dog trainer would likely need to build a strong reputation in their community, offer specialized services, and potentially expand their business to include multiple trainers or locations. It would also require significant dedication and hard work.

Can You Make a Career Out of Dog Training?

Absolutely, it is entirely feasible to make a career out of dog training. Many successful dog trainers have found ways to turn their passion for working with animals into a sustainable career.

This could involve working independently or at an established training facility, offering group classes or private sessions, and continually developing one’s skills and knowledge within the field of dog training. Success as a professional dog trainer often requires not only expertise in animal behavior but also strong business acumen and outstanding customer service skills.

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