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Job Description for a Dog Trainer

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A dog trainer's purpose is to teach a dog how to be more obedient at home, with teaching a dog common commands, such as to sit, stay or lay down. Dog training involves teaching a dog to react to commands, and giving a dog a treat or kind words for responding correctly to a command. A canine trainer could also oversee a dog's physical exercise, medical care and mental stimulation, according to the State University website.


Most dog training jobs require a training hopeful to have a high school diploma, or a general educational development (GED) equivalent. Dog trainers learn the ropes through on-job training and working aside experienced dog trainers, according to State University website. Dog training certification is not mandatory, but many organizations, such as a professional licensing board, offer certification. Trainers must complete 300 hours of training experience, submit references and continue with education coursework, according to the MSPCA-Angell website.

Necessary Skills

Potential dog trainers should possess several skills: strong dog handling skills, ability to read dog body language, good communication, ability to adapt quickly and make decisions and a love for working with dogs and their owners, according to the MSPCA-Angell website. Also, patience is a desired trait in a dog trainer. Sometimes it can take months of repetition for a dog to learn the commands.

Work Site

Dog trainers can work independently or in collaboration with other dog trainers. Or, a dog trainer can work within an animal-related business, such as an animal shelter or dog kennel. Some dogs are trained for use in law enforcement. Dogs can also be taught how to perform at dog show competitions, or how to help people with disabilities perform every day tasks. The salary ranges between $21,000 and $42,000, according to the PayScale website.

Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States expressed the importance for a dog trainer to encourage appropriate behavior through positive reinforcement as food, play, praise or attention to a dog. A trainer should withhold rewards until the dog responds to the commands. A trainer should never tug on a dog's leash, force a dog on its back, yell or choke a dog, or partake in other actions that inflict pain or frighten a canine, according to the Humane Society's website.

Typical Training Session

Typically, dogs spend about 30 minutes to an hour one-on-one with a trainer. A trainer should get to know the dog and pay close attention to the dog's temperament. Next, the trainer instruct the dog to respond to commands, while also instructing the dog's owner on how to give the same commands. The training continues until the dog sufficiently follows the commands, according to The Daily Puppy website.


Sara Johnson works as an account associate with 43PR, a consumer tech PR firm. She handles press releases, industry and market research, social media and reviews. Sara began her career in 2007 as a journalist with Suburban News Publications of Columbus, Ohio, writing for three of the company's 22 weekly newspapers. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Michigan University.