19 Pros and Cons of Being a Dog Trainer

Most dogs are not inherently good and obedient.

They require time with a dog trainer to learn about everything from basic commands to becoming skilled in the art of tricks.

Some dogs need to be trained so that they can accompany their owners on a hunt while others are trained so that they can go on to compete in various skills competitions.

Becoming a dog trainer can be extremely rewarding as you work with various breeds.

By learning about both the pros and cons, you can decide if it’s going to be a career that you’ll enjoy.

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Pros of Being a Dog Trainer

Imagine being the one who gets to train the various dogs in your community to be well-behaved.

Owners want their dogs to be obedient, and you can be a part of their journey.

With so many pros, you could enjoy a successful career as a dog trainer.

You Get to Work with Dogs

One of the obvious pros of being a dog trainer is that you get to work with dogs.

Depending on the training you offer, you’ll get to work with puppies as well as adult dogs that may need a little extra attention.

You will spend hours alongside the same dogs so that you can build a rapport with them.

You Can Set Your Own Hours

For the most part, you will have the ability to set your own hours.

You can decide whether you want to work mornings, afternoons, as well as weekends.

You will have holidays off, too, which can be a nice bonus.

It’s a Low-Pressure Job

When it comes to jobs that add a lot of pressure onto you, being a dog trainer is almost as low stress as they come.

Sure, there will be the days where a dog is being stubborn and won’t listen, but for the majority of your workday, there won’t be a lot of pressure on you – and this can make it exciting to get up and go to work each and every day.

You Can Have Fun

You can have as much fun as you want when you’re training a dog.

Particularly when you offer agility training, you’ll be running obstacles with the dog.

You will get your cardio in right alongside the dog, which can help to keep you in shape, too.

If you find you’re getting bored, find fun ways to teach the dog the various skills they need to learn.

There’s a Lot of Satisfaction

While it may seem like a puppy has a lot to learn when you first start training, give it time.

As they finally learn the skills you are teaching them, there’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with it.

The first time that a client tells you that they’ve seen a huge improvement with their dog, give yourself some props since you are responsible for that.

There’s a Lot of Job Growth

Being a dog trainer, especially working for yourself, allows you to grow significantly.

You get to choose how many clients you want to take on, what types of training you want to offer, and more.

You can hold one-on-one sessions and group sessions as a way to reach as many clients as possible inside of your community.

You Can Work for Yourself

If you’re not a fan of punching a timecard and having someone else call the shots, you can work for yourself.

Many people look for a dog trainer, especially when they first buy a puppy.

As long as you can successfully market yourself, you can bring in all of the clients you need.

Plus, when you work for yourself, you get to set the rates that you charge.

Choose Your Work Environment

Dog trainers don’t work in just one type of work environment.

When you have the skills to train dogs, you can choose to work for yourself or for a company.

Choose to work in a pet store, in a park, inside of your home (or client homes), or even for an organization, such as one that will work to train therapy dogs for veterans.

Clients Can Be Your Biggest Supporters

Once you prove that you’re an effective dog trainer, clients will tell their friends who own dogs.

This can be one of the easiest ways for you to gain new clients.

The more dogs you successfully train, the easier it will be for you to find work – and that can help you to stay gainfully employed.

You Can Choose the Type of Training You Offer

There’s a lot of freedom involved with being a dog trainer.

You can choose to work with specific breeds as well as choose the type of training you want to offer.

You may decide you want to offer obedience training or something more specific – such as tracking or agility.

Once you have a specialty, it can help you to market your services.

Cons of Being a Dog Trainer

Being a dog trainer is not always easy.

There are going to be dogs that make your job a lot harder than you anticipated… and their owners might not make it very easy, either.

Learning about all of the cons can help you decide if this is the kind of job you’re willing to get into.

Training Can Take a While

You will need to train to be a dog trainer – and the different types of training will all require different certifications.

Obedience, behavioral, tracking, therapy, agility, and other types of training can be obtained.

You can take the training online as well as work as an apprentice with other dog trainers in your area.

Often, it will take 12+ months to be a trainer.

Dogs Can Be Aggressive

Not all dogs want to be trained.

Some are in training because they are aggressive – and you run the risk of getting hurt.

If a dog bites or scratches you, it could hurt.

It means you’ll need to prepare yourself for such things, even if it means wearing a padded suit when you work with certain breeds.

Money Can Be Hit or Miss

The only time you’re making money as a dog trainer is if you have active clients.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies that the average wage for animal trainers is $30,000 a year, though some dog trainers can earn significantly more with their services marketed attractively.

Pet Owners Can Be Difficult

Working with dogs can be fun but their owners may not be.

Many pet owners can be demanding because they have specific expectations for their dogs.

The way in which the owner handles the dog may even be part of the problem, which means that you will have to address their behavior alongside the dog’s behavior.

Not All Dogs Are Trainable

The sad truth is that not all dogs are trainable.

You may not be able to get through to a dog, which could result in an unhappy pet owner as well as bad reviews.

It can be frustrating when you’re unable to make progress with a dog, too.

You will need to take the good with the bad to be able to stay in the career when this happens.

Work Environments are Not Always Ideal

Some of the work environments will be tough, especially if you are working inside of clients’ homes as well as with tracking training.

You may find yourself in the woods, outside on hot days, and even hiking through muddy trails in an effort to help the dog you are working with.

It Takes a While to Build a Reputation

Depending on the dog community where you live, it can take a while to build your reputation.

Most people want to work with an experienced dog trainer.

You can prove your skills by working with different clients, having online videos, and more.

You may even have to train a few dogs for free as a way to prove your skills.

There’s the Possibility of Being Sued

Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility that someone will sue you.

This can be done when a dog doesn’t learn the various commands that you’ve been teaching.

A client may feel as though you cheated them and sue you over their lost money.

It’s why it’s important to build a solid reputation, create contracts, and make sure that you have insurance on your dog-training business.

Clients Don’t Last Forever

Training a dog will typically take four to six months for basic obedience and commands.

This means that once you have gotten a dog to a certain level, your job is done.

The client goes away – and you’ll be in search of new clients all over again.

It can be a trying process to always find new clients.

Should You Become a Dog Trainer?

Dog trainers are typically in it because they love dogs, and they love helping dog owners.

This isn’t the kind of career that you go into because of the money or the high rewards.

You can have a lot of fun being a dog trainer as long as you take the positive with the negative.

Talk to some dog trainers to find out if it’s the kind of job you’d ultimately like to train to do.

Pros and Cons of Being a Dog Trainer – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Dog Trainer Cons of Being a Dog Trainer
You Get to Work with Dogs Training Can Take a While
You Can Set Your Own Hours Dogs Can Be Aggressive
It’s a Low-Pressure Job Money Can Be Hit or Miss
You Can Have Fun Pet Owners Can Be Difficult
There’s a Lot of Satisfaction Not All Dogs Are Trainable
There’s a Lot of Job Growth Work Environments are Not Always Ideal
You Can Work for Yourself It Takes a While to Build a Reputation
Choose Your Work Environment There’s the Possibility of Being Sued
Clients Can Be Your Biggest Supporters Clients Don’t Last Forever
You Can Choose the Type of Training You Offer